Play is said to be active meditation for being present
By Janai “Grandma Boom” Mestrovich
They assigned me the role of being a dog often as we played dress ups and they created story lines. I got used to barking, sitting up for treats, and wagging my tail. Howling at the moon was the best!
My grandchildren loved me being a dog, whether they were pirates on a ship or king and queen in a castle. As I became a skilled barker, there was a joyful connection that brought inner peace with these excursions into the land of play.
Research shows that play is often forgotten by adults. Yet play helps strengthen the ability to cope with stress. It brings a special kind of joy that many adults have stopped experiencing since childhood. Remember the freedom of being so into your play scenarios that you were there and no other reality existed? Play is said to be active meditation for being in the present moment. Ram Dass would approve!
Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge. Play provides sky-is-the-limit for the imagination. Problem solving becomes easier. The more playful a personality, the more motivated, creative, flexible, and spontaneous a personality can be. It improves mental health while opening us up to new possibilities.
When my grandchildren were learning to crawl, I crawled with them. They took me into their world under the table, behind the chair (great way to discover cobwebs), and into the giggling arena of crawl-racing down the hallway. I’ll admit my knees were sore at times, but I was willing to make the trade. Connecting with each other through play was priceless.
An advantage I’ve discovered with playing is that it frees me to become; not just be who I think I am supposed to be, but to adventure into more self-discovery of what my spirit is calling for. I claim playful fun and laughter as two of my sidekicks to fuel my inner world that decorate it with joyful inner peace.
In my nonprofit organization, Superkid Power, Inc., I have played with children while teaching them 3D social emotional learning and stress management for 46 years. It keeps me more alive and excites children to learn self-regulation skills they will not ever forget because they are playing with purpose. Adults who find playful ways to navigate learning or just a normal day discover greater ease in living life to the fullest.
While attending a recent meeting for the amazing Ashland Chamber of Commerce greeters, I dressed up in garb that was fun and frivolous to make some points about play. Tossing out toys into the group brought the feeling of playing together right then and there.
One of the many things I collect is dancing anytime, anywhere, when my spirit moves me to let the music guide me in a playful way. Bottom line: If it doesn’t hurt me, doesn’t hurt anyone else, and I want to do something fun, green light, go! To feel joyful inner peace, we have to let go of being stuck, feeling too old, and having limited thinking.
Children are not stuck or sedentary. They are growing, experimenting, using their imaginations. Adults grow skilled in making lists and other tasks. Sure, we have to be more responsible than we were as kiddos. I know that feeling quite well. But commercial breaks from the “adult responsible” role can help us to become lighter. Our spirits need that balance.
Afraid to let go and be silly and play? May you find the courage to let your imagination carry you to new lands.
Playing is a gift to ourselves. It stretches us to meet our spirits. It stretches us out of being sedentary, bland, and feeling lackluster. Play stretches us out of labeling it as silly and unfit for adults. It truly frees us to expand, to grow, to feel more alive, and to know joyful inner peace as a mainstay medicine we can prescribe for ourselves.
Janai “Grandma Boom” Mestrovich (email@example.com) resides in Ashland as the Executive Director of Superkid Power, Inc., nonprofit, tax exempt 501(c)3 (www.superkidpower.org). She is author of nine books, former Instructor at University of Oregon and SOU, and award winning in television and education with her pioneering SEL three-dimensional approach training all ages beginning at 3 years.
Send 600–to–700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Richard Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org).