When we first emerge into the world, play is our compass, the way we poke and explore new territory, both inner and outer.
Play is the soul’s truest form of self-expression and perhaps the foundational quality of a loving relationship or creative endeavour.
Play undertaken sincerely but not seriously, is a gateway to presence and grateful surprise and a portal to the sublime. This is why surfing, climbing, dancing can feel like an existential relief and nourishment for our soul.
Play is resisted because it undercuts unspoken assumptions that our lives have value because of what we may achieve and the utility we bring. As maturing humans our great task is to shed these subterranean layers of self-importance.
Even witnessing unselfconscious play in young children can bring about grief in adults who realise what they have lost touch with.
This is why, to the average western average adult, sincere play, for the sake of itself, can be simultaneously terrifying and freeing, like waking from a deep slumber in order to rejoin the exquisite unfolding dance of life.
This is part of a series of one-word writing prompts inspired by David Whyte’s book ‘Consolations’. Please feel free to contribute your own interpretation and working definition for this word 👇