"Most people just rely on past experience and then just try an old way of responding often to new situation that isn't really ideal." -Joseph Bharat Cornell
Feeling stuck? Looking for new solutions or fresh ideas? Well, when was the last time you had fun? When you really felt a sense of playfulness and joy? Often when we're feeling stuck or facing challenges, we feel there isn't time to relax and have fun. Other times we don't even realize play has taken a back seat in our busy lives. Parenting is certainly a big responsibility but it doesn't help to take things too seriously. Play is an essential component to conscious parenting with many benefits including:
keeping our consciousness light and expansive
reducing our stress hormones
regulating the nervous system
opening us to creativity and new ideas
deepening our connection with others
shifting our perspective
bringing us into the present moment
The good news is that kids offer us plenty of reminders and opportunities to have fun and play! The real challenge can be shifting our mindset to see the true value of fun for our children and for ourselves. Play isn't something extra to do after the work and learning has been done - play can help us to accomplish our goals. There are many studies now about the value and importance of play for learning and growth in children. Yet it is essential to our growth and well being as adults as well. Joseph Cornell the world-renown nature educator and author shares, "There's different kinds of play. Adults think that just children play but successful adults, they play too. They just play in a different way."
In Education for Life, J. Donald Walter (Swami Kriyananda) also mentions, quite a few times, the importance of fun and fantasy in making the educational process more human and experiential. We all benefit from being playful because it opens us to new ways of seeing, new ways of being and feeling.
Play brings us into the present moment and helps us to reconnect with our innate intuition and joy. It can also deepen our connections with each other and the world around us. When we reconnect in this way we're able to better manage the stresses and challenges that life throws at us.
So, how can you invite more fun and playfulness into your life? Maybe its just taking a break to watch something funny or call a friend who makes you laugh. Perhaps it's making time for a favorite activity or joining the kids for a few minutes of play. Find some way to help you lighten up and see if it doesn't bring you more energy or a fresh perspective.
You can also join our upcoming series on Conscious Screen Time where we will discuss ways to spend more time on non-screen activities to help create balance and cultivate connection. Having fun together as a family supports everyone's well being!