24 Days of Playing, and here you are! What did you do for your CENTER yesterday? Were you able to get your mind CENTERED on the abstract idea of that thing that we can't find a name for, that pulls you in and makes it easier to be in community with others, like a conversation around a fire pit?
After writing the blog post yesterday, I had an extremely interesting experience where I felt stuck on this topic. I have to be honest that I couldn't even think about playing - or maybe I was SO immersed in my explorer play type that it didn't feel like playing at the time, it was just being and living through my curiosity - and all I wanted to do was figure this brain teaser out. Unfortunately no amount of google searching along "what do you call it when you're around a fire and can have easy conversation but if you're just sitting in a circle something feels missing and conversation becomes more difficult to sustain" resulted in answers. I had to let it go, and feeling so exhausted from wrestling with this in my mind I decided to have an early night and enjoy some mindless Tiktok scrolling.
About 20 minutes in, a video comes up on my For You Page. For those not familiar with Tiktok's setup - the For You Page (or FYP) is your algorithmically curated home page full of videos that the equation and whatever magic they wove in to it thinks you are most likely to enjoy based off of your viewing history and interactions on the app. So you never quite know what you're going to get, but it's all short format videos paired with music or voiceovers or sound effects. I am constantly astounded at the amount of creativity that I find scrolling through here, and it's a huge inspirational source for me at the moment. Anyway....
Scrolling down my FYP, I come across this video below and let me tell you it so sincerely BLEW. MY. MIND. Is this not basically the same thing that I was trying to touch yesterday, but couldn't find the words or mechanics to describe? Check out my story below to see what happened.
So thanks to the neuroscience reference point, it seems that what I am trying to get at is the state that you reach when your Task Positive Network (the neural networks associated with focus on a task) is lit up- essentially your self-aware self critical brain is quieted and you are in a state of being as your true self without the worry or stress. Comparatively, when your Default Mode Network is activated (this happens by default when there is no task to focus on) that is when you mind begins to wander and ego driven thoughts are able to sneak their way back in, decreasing ease of connection with yourself and others.
How crazy is that?! It is actually by disconnecting that we are able to connect with more ease and on different levels. This is totally the logic behind fidget toys, and makes me think about all of the times when I would doodle in class because it would help me to listen more deeply. It seems so counter-intutive, and hey- please let me know if this is not at all true for you! I will admit that this is all based off of relatively new neuroscientific studies, but man oh man does it mean we're on the tail of crossing over to some real understanding as these topics advance! Which brings me to today's play theme. BRIDGE.
Disconnect - Connect
I chose the theme of BRIDGE today in honor of my explorer findings in this area of interest yesterday. What I experienced was this-
Disconnected from my think-harder brain which desperately wanted answers
Allowed myself to get in a playful mind space by way of another activity
By some magic, this video shows up and connects me with an answer
I don't know about you, but that totally feels like a BRIDGE to me. SO! Maybe, your BRIDGE becomes about strengthening that connection between you and a play element, person, or space that you have discovered in this 30 day journey so far. I think where the gold lies is in that feedback loop between you and that other thing, where you find yourself. It's in disengaging from thinking brain that you meet your core self, your most playful truthful self, who easily BRIDGES into playful connection with an object, a space, or with a group of people. That bridge also happens to bring information back to your core play self, by the way. It's all about building BRIDGES!