Playfulness as an Essential Part of the Creative Process.

As a theatre practitioner, I have been surprised at how often playfulness is left out of the creative process, and not just in the theatre. I’ve seen this trend at all levels, in every profession. Ask yourself – how playful is your work environment? Home environment? Are you suffering from a “playfulness” deficit?

This trend has inspired me to examine theories on “PLAY” — here are some key truths that have enhanced my art, my business, and my life:

  1. PLAY CAN impact OUR learning, imagination, creativity, productivity, and growth on all levels. Just like children, adults learn best by DOING. As the great Charlie Chaplain said, “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it!”
  2. PLAY CAN COMPLETELY ENGAGE AND TRANSPORT US. Play has a VISCERAL DEFINITION: it is hard to define in words, but we know when we’re doing it. Play engages the whole self, transports us, and gives us those moments when we feel most alive. It has been said that…”Play is the greatest gift of childhood. But if we’ll let it, it can be the gift that continues to energize and inspire and teach us for the rest of our lives.” (from The Promise of Play DVD Series)
  3. PLAY CONNECTS US TO OURSELVES. Play is EMOTIONAL It brings pleasure, taps into the deepest, most personal feelings, and it strengthens emotional bonds. It offers ways of expressing strong emotions in a safe context. Dr. C.J. Rogers, a psychologist who studies Original Play Behavior in Wolves said, “Play deprivation can have irreversible consequences, if it persists long enough, to actually create neurological or physiological damage. Once that damage has been’s there.”
  4. PLAY CONNECTS US TO EACH OTHER. Play is not only fun…it promotes bonding. Play is an efficient and effective catalyst for groups of people to learn how to explore, experiment, cooperate, plan, resolve conflicts and solve problems together quickly. Plato said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
  5. PLAY HAS THE POWER TO HEAL. Play allows us to turn our fears into excitement. Dr. Patch Adams, founder of the Gesundheit Institute said, “Fun, play, and action are as important as love in our life. They’re the two cornerstones of life.”

I’m impressed and grateful for the NFL’s Play60 Campaign to encourage kids to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. I’d like to extend that challenge to Adults! Whether at work or at home, sprinkle in 60 minutes of PLAY throughout your day, and see how it changes your performance, and quite possibly, your life!

Now…go PLAY!


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