I learned how to play from my daughter…

Play is the spark that keeps our fire burning!

Marla Dee

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My daughter Jessica is now 24 years old. All her life, she has taught me how to play. I tend to forget that play is a part of life. I forget that play happens every day. I forget that play nurtures me. I forget how to just have fun. I was taught when you get all the work done, then you can play. The dilemma here is that the work is never done. So, I’ve adopted my daughter’s approach of bringing in play at every opportunity.  At this moment, I am in my comfy clothes, curled up on the couch, surrounded by pillows, coffee cup beside me, laptop in my lap, writing. Life does not get sweeter than this. I am having fun. I have come a long way. I have learned from a master.

Simple play ideas that my daughter has taught me:

  • Play with a kitten or puppy. If you are really brave, bring one home with you.
  • Go to the park and let loose in the playground. Get on a swing.
  • Color or draw. Why not splurge on a new pack of crayons or colored pencils.
  • Climb a tree. Collect rocks. Dig in the dirt.
  • Pack a yummy picnic and eat in your yard or on your porch.
  • Put on music and dance in your living room. Really let loose.
  • Have a slumber party followed by breakfast in bed.
  • Read a story then let yourself get lost in it. Isn’t it amazing how hours go by?
  • Play hooky for one hour during your work week. Be daring.
  • Cook with your fingers. Eat with your fingers. Yep, get messy.
  • Let a song or a story come out of you. Go ahead, do it right now.
  • Watch a movie you’ve seen before and act it out.
  • Or you can play at being different animals or characters.
  • Wrestle around on your living room floor – hug, tickle, laugh, let go and just love.

Lastly, invite a playmate into your life. I did, unexpectedly. Back in the fall of 1994, I was meditating outside on a beautiful, warm day. All of a sudden, I heard a little voice inside me say Hi, Mom! I looked down at my still flat stomach and asked, am I pregnant? Yes, she replied, so simply & sweetly. Why now, I asked, for I had been waiting for her to come for years and had given up. I will never forget her response, because you are ready for joy in your life. To this day, the memory of that moment grabs me in the gut. She came to remind that life is about joy, about play, about creating. She awakened my long lost child. She brought me back to life.

So, I insist that you play today! Be spontaneous. Start simple, start small or go for it and take a whole day. Just do it. This is not about planning, it’s about being. Play is the spark that keeps our fire burning.

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Your Guide to a Simpler Life, Marla Dee

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