Day 30! Wow wow wow we have been at this for 30 days straight my friend. How proud are you of the fact that you are here reading this right now? Have you discovered many LEVELS of playing within your play signature types over the past 24 hours? Over the past 30 days? Have you been finding that you are more and more able to tap in to feelings of fun, relaxation, and stress relief on multiple LEVELS : mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually? I am hoping that you have found a number of LEVELS to have fun with, so that we can begin to reclaim what fun truly can be even in the most mundane of moments.
I got a chance to try this out this morning when I woke up at 8am and in my turning over to hit snooze on my alarm I caught a glimpse of blanket white dustings on my neighbors roof. My LEVEL of sleepiness to excitement drastically flipped, and I totally got a surge of feelings not unlike a little kid waking up to discover a snow day from school. Even laying in my bed watching the snow, I was already working on a LEVEL of play imagining the type of fun I would run out to have on a day like this as a kid. And you know what? Our brains don't know the difference between real play, and imagined. So for all intents and purposes, my brain was playing in that moment even though at a low LEVEL within a memory. I am practicing along with all of you not to discredit even these quietest of playful moments. I took it one step further in inviting my cat to stick her head out the window with me, observing the snowflakes in the early morning and feeling the cold air.
I rode this low LEVEL of play onward out to my porch, where I allowed it to jump up another notch. Seeing how hard the snow was coming down, contrasted against the color bursts of the still changing trees I knew I had to take to the streets. What felt the most fun to me in that moment, and the most ideal LEVEL of playing before work meetings started was to grab a really hot coffee, some waterproof boots, and my headphones for a sound walk. I haven't been in my practice of morning meditation walks this week, and surprised myself with this early morning playful want that was increasing right along with the snow accumulations outside.
I found myself smiling the whole walk, though I realized that I did not even grab a coat with a hood and definitely didn't think about what pant layers before running outside. I was too busy riding the LEVEL of my play on this unexpected wave - now in search of the quietness of the morning on our local bike path, which I was betting would be empty with the weather. I'll drop my story below to show you what I found.
As you'll see from the second half of the video, I also got the amazing opportunity to work with a dear friend who is a glass artist, in comissioning her to help me make a necklace that is dedicated to the work I have put in to this body of art for the past 30 days. This is something that I love to do- find or craft a conscious object to capture the feeling of a moment in time. This is a playing of mine that is subtle, and reminds me in a physical tangible way of the LEVEL of my real life video game where I encountered this play challenge. Over the past 30 days, I have learned how to use my play towards discipline in sitting down every day to choose the prompt, make 12 panels of art, write 9 play type personalizations, and develop a blog post around the word of the day. That is a LEVEL of playing that I have never experienced before, and now that we are nearing the end I find myself wanting to embrace it and truly capture this special period of time in a keepsake sort of way. So why not do it in play, inviting my artist-creator to collaborate with another person, and cheered on by my explorer, storyteller, collector types for this magical talisman that will be one touch away when wanting to recall this space.
Jocelyn is a super playful artist who helped me build in a LEVEL of playing today by requesting a playlist inspiration, and asking me questions around color for the custom piece she was making. It created a really subtle dance and an exciting playful moment I could access in my between-moments of waiting for a file to upload or a message response to be sent. I was nesting my play on a lower level into my day, that rode off of the momentum built up from the morning snow walk. And where did all these subtle moments in combination leave me? Feeling - POWERFUL, relaxed, and in touch with my most playful self who has wells of joyful moments to tap into. This is in total contrast to my anxious, self-critical, worrying brain that can otherwise be running the show sometimes. So you guessed it, today we are looking at play and POWER.
Rainbows and Responsibilities
"Each of us has the POWER and responsibility to become a rainbow in the clouds."
What does POWER mean for you? Where do you feel it? How do you access it? For me, POWER in play is built through momentum. Its through tapping in to my inner authority that I find and exercise my POWER to play, my POWER to experience joy amidst uncertainty, to reclaim play as something that is necessary for my own self-sustaining in mental, physical, and spiritual capacities. This is where I find and exercise my POWER to become a rainbow in the clouds - the space of unknowing, of stress and chaos and uncertainty of life 8 months in to a global pandemic.
POWER is not easy. It's not easy to get, and it's not easy to hold. I have spent the last 3 months really working on my POWER and where I gather this from. For me it is foundational, and comes from deeply caring for myself through hearing and active acknowledgement of my needs : what is right for me, and what is not right for me. It comes from playfully learning new ways to increase the POWER of other voices who were born with less, the POWER of transformation and growth and collaboration. Recognizing my anxiety and depression and symptoms of dis-ease and my body telling me that it needs states of ease to regulate. Playing is the way i tap in to the POWER of the liminal place, try on what feels better suited to me, and exit fully armed with the knowing of playfully informed action towards ease and betterment of the world around me.
Playing out power dynamics, particularly traumatic ones, can be an incredibly POWERFUL means of transmuting pain. Satire and re-representation of POWER (think: political SNL skits) are a cultural bonding point that connects the experience of the many. A rainbow amidst the clouds, even if temporary.
Play can also be POWERFUL in connecting you with your inner POWER. Knowing yourself well enough to set boundaries and limits is power for the self. Responsibility is itself a form of POWER, although it can feel in opposition to playing. The trick here is in knowing how to use play as a mechanism for exercising responsible self-informed boundaries without that necessarily meaning limits. We wouldn't have the famous quote "with great power comes great responsibility" if the two weren't inherently connected. As I was thinking about this prompt today a song lyric bubbled up which also feels true for POWER: "the key to worlds beyond you are only found within you" and doesn't that just seem like every movie ever made about accessing, holding, and ultimately harnessing true POWER?
For the next 24 hours, think about how POWER interacts with play for you and the types contained in your unique signature. What playful moments help you feel the most POWER and momentum? What gets you going and makes you feel like you are just ready to take on anything in the world? Where do you find your inner POWER, and what are your self informed boundaries and responsibilities to exercise with it so that you can best maintain your POWER for playful good?
Tomorrow is our LAST day of the #playyourwaychallenge and I will be working extra hard on a nice little ending surprise. In the meantime, have fun - tap in to your inner play POWER, try out a new super power, or find one of those joyful moments that powers you up. No matter if you play is low-level or high-level today, you're here and you're doing it and that alone is POWER my friend. Go get it!