Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Your Help IS Needed

I am doing a series of training this week in the hall of a beautiful new church. The woman from the church got up yesterday and welcomed the group there for the series of workshops. She went through the typical things about washrooms, smoking and cell phones. Then she told people that, as it was a sunny day, they may want to walk through the land attached to the Church. She mentioned that their neighbour had an Alsatian dog who had it's own philosophy: If it moves, it plays.

Thinking about that on the way home, I said to Joe, 'That's a pretty good philosophy to have.'

We acknowledged that now matter how hard we try, we keep slipping back into moving to work, moving to do functional things, moving to simply get through the endless, endless, endless tasks that come with being adults, being employed ... and doing all this while feeling tired almost all of the time. It must be true of everyone else too because I keep getting the answer 'Tired but good' as an answer when I ask people how they are.

As we discussed this we thought about how good it was to have kids in our lives, but then we realized that playing with kids isn't actually playing. There's always an aspect of care, and caution and supervison in that play, we are 'doing' something and that something is 'playing with the kids.' While we love it, I'm not sure that it actually fully would be defined as play.

We used to be good at play.

Probably back a few years ago.

When we were younger.

When laughing came easier and was a much more frequent visitor.

After we go home last night, Joe was unpacking the car - he'd bought a few things for his balcony garden, which now has very healthy tomato plants and raspberry plants too. I agreed to nip over to the store.That power chair makes it possible for me to fully participate in getting things done. So I headed out and picked up what we needed, chatted to clerks I new, said hello the the security guard who we like cause she's friendly and funny.

On the way home I saw a woman with a disability sitting at a coffee shop patio on the street, tucked back in the shade, sipping coffee and reading a book. Is this play? I wondered.

Then I realized that I don't know anymore what 'play' is and how 60 year old's, one in a wheelchair, play!! I need help. Joe and I are looking at taking a few days off ... having a stay home vacation ... what would you all do with that time that's PLAY. I want to be able to say, I move, I play ... but I now know I've been so focused on other things that I'm not even sure what comprises 'play'.


Tell me what 'play' is to you ...


Anonymous said...

Play - hmmm...I think play is doing things you want to do, just for fun, not things you have to do. Play is freedom to enjoy without worrying about time, space and the opinions of others. Play is something that involves your body, soul and spirit. Play makes you feel lighter. It brings an unexpected smile. Think of the girls - swinging fringes just because they can or riding your chair. Sometime play can be more constructive - like boargames, reading, photography, cooking - trying anything new.

You and Joe? You both seem playful - so I'm sure your time of "play" is just around the corner. Perhaps you just have to stop doing and let it roll over you. It is a lot more work for adults to play - first we have to disconnect (phone, computer, etc.) then reconnect with things that bring us joy.

All the best as you anticipate play time!

Belinda said...

My friend Irene would say that it involves a whoopie cushion! Ha ha! We have lots of play time when together and I am usually scared. :)

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Number one rule for a play day - no setting the alarm! Then spend a long leisurely morning drinking tea and reading the paper. After that you have to pick the things that are playful to you and Joe.

Years ago I was at the beach with my children and I was playing in the water with them. We were crawling in to shore in shallow water but every once in a while a wave would come and swamp us. I was laughing with them and realized it was a different kind of laugh that I had not had since I was a kid myself - it comes from utter delight way deep down inside of you - the delight of being tumbled by a wave after a long day of playing at the beach. It was only a moment but I have never forgotten it and it has sustained me. So I hope you and Joe find whatever it is that makes you laugh like that.


liz said...

Play involves no "to-do" list. Doing what you want to for the sake of wanting to.

Moose said...

A quote I found around the Interwebs :-):

We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playig.

Anonymous said...

For me play is doing anything that I love to do - writing, knitting, cross stitch, art - without having to worry about the time or responsibilities. It's doing something you love with your whole focus and unfettered by the daily cares of life.


Anonymous said...

Jim said:

Wehn you do it for just plain fun and don't worry about the product. I take pictures and then play with them in photoshop or painter. someitmes it turns out as an image i wna tot o share (never for maoney0 and sometimes it is just so bad I laugh. Either way it was fun to try and no one (maybe a few pixels) were injured.

Mary said...

I think "play" is like "nice", a linguistic catch-all which isn't always a good thing.

As a kid I would "play" the piano every day... because I had to. I also "played" the recorder which was generally an issue of performance, or rehearsal for a performance. There was no love or joy involved.

Staying with performance, an amateur dramatics group puts on "plays" and the members are sometimes called "players".

Childhood also gives us "playtime" which for many meant a gap between lessons to go be bullied, and of course the mandatory "playing" of sports which is remembered with horror by those of us who wheezed along a wet "playing field" feeling dizzy and unable to see the finish line/ball/net/whatever properly because we weren't allowed to wear our glasses.

And then there's the bag of worms that is professional sportspeople, whose job of paid work is to "play" their sports under a very great deal of pressure. Doesn't sound fun to me.

Perhaps you might prefer thinking about what facets your "play" should have. Activity? Relaxation? Amusement? Performance? Competition?

Jessie said...

Play, to me, seems to be to respond to the moment as a moment of freedom! So when I play, I often go OUT into the world and explore, on foot, by car . . . and with no agenda except what the sky and perhaps a bit of a newspaper or the internet might provide (for information). Hey! Let's go to the Carp farmers market! Hop in the car, drive, eat delicious food and buy random flowers, find a road along the river, end up in Almonte, at a puppet festival! Get out, wander, play with puppets. Find a stream and a cool place to lie down under a tree and fall asleep (hmmm does play have to be totally active ALL the time?) That's a wonderful play date I had!

Jessie said...

OOOOPS, sorry. I am not Jessie, I am Nancy, Jessie's mom. She's been on my computer . . . . playing!

Anonymous said...

Me playing is....

cooking. Looking at what’s in the kitchen and getting started on chopping the veggies. Eyes wandering over the spice rack and thinking what spices to add. Roasting a pepper and chopping it up and stirring that through the rice dish I have made. Seeing the beauty of the shapes and colours, appreciating the aromas and eventually, flavours. Enjoying that now that I have been doing this for a LOOONG time, it’s something I’m good at.

having a laugh with my friends. You say this, I say that, we have a laugh, it’s banter but also exploring and navigating serious ideas.

Sex/making love. Feeling very blessed that this has recently come back into my life.

I also REALLY LOVE playing board games and cards with my friends, doesn’t happen much, but when holidays come around and the games come out, I love to play.

I see my sister in law playing when she gets dressed up and puts her makeup on, I see my mum playing when she does her garden, and I see my brother playing- really playing- when he gets on the computer games.

I’m gonna leave this anonymous, but say that I love that the meaning of my name is GOD’S PLAY (rough translation).

wendy said...

Play is many things for's spending time with my partner doing only things we enjoy doing together...could be anything we find fun. A favorite is poking around somewhere with interesting shops and restaurants, etc. It can be literally playing...a game of some kind that we enjoy, cards, board game, word games (check out a game called "Things" It's hilarious though you need more than two people to play). Jigsaw puzzles. Doing what give you joy. Doing what makes you laugh until you snort. Sometimes my partner and I have crazy conversations where we just go with something that strikes us funny. I don't know how to explain that any better....just riffing off each other's humour.

Sue & Sammy said...

Because I homeschool my child with special needs, play is getting away on a road trip. A general getting to location but no strict schedule. Because I homeschool I'm always teaching but when I'm away from the house and day to day stuff I find myself more creative, more fun and less teachy. We laugh harder and louder, we talk more about the new things we see and experience and we just enjoy time together...just being together!

Hannah Ensor said...

What Coleen said: " comes from utter delight way deep down inside of you"

I play - I'm 30 and use a manual chair which means every time I leave the house, I play. I take a slight detour so I get full advantage of the downhill slope - enjoying each second of speedy descent. I slalom between bollards, I catch a post as I pass and swing myself around it. I watch my tyres create wet tracks on the shop floor.

I store up memories of things I see, feel and hear to tell my friends.

Sometimes reading/drawing/puzzles is playing too - when it involves being totally pleased with what I am doing - Not intensely involved and focussed on trying to complete a task, but completely immersed in loving the moment in a relaxed way that forgets the concerns of tomorrow and lives absolutely in the moment.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if you see comments posted a while after your post, but, I’ve been thinking about this all week.
Getting gifts for people we love. Here’s another place to play, thinking about what will s/he like and how to wrap and what to put in the card. It can be a chore but it’s a place to play and I have the impression that it’s a place where you and Joe play?

Anonymous said...

Tumble through ocean waves

Witchy said...

I try to play every day, at least a little bit. For me, who is a 35 year old female mostly in a wheelchair I call Good Ol' Jack Burton, "play" is a time for me to get out my crayons & colouring book, do word search puzzles, crochet something utterly pointless, doodle on a receipt... anything that strikes my fancy and is creative! That's when I catch myself feeling truly good, from top to bottom. When I lose myself in Making Stuff!