Play Is Powerful
Play is a state of being that we can access throughout our lives to
Create & Transform
Play can be seen as the practice in divergent thinking. In play, we create. Play utilizes multiple and diverse parts of the brain and integrates their activity. We break out of rigidity and are open to seemingly irrelevant elements. Play brings our whole minds and bodies to experimentation, to bringing things together that don’t seem to fit, to following meandering hunches, to taking concepts to their logical conclusions and beyond, and to reveling in novelty. In play, we can walk into the unknown.
Learning & Mastery
All animals that learn also play. The more developmental learning is taking place, the more play is occurring. Play and learning are intertwined and in some ways they are the same thing. In the animal world, full biological maturity greatly curtails play. To a greater degree than any other known animal, human brains exhibit neoteny, meaning our brain never fully mature. Maturity in other animals brings a certain kind of strength because behaviors are mostly clear and rapidly acted out, but there is also a weakness in rigidity. By not fully maturing, humans remain adaptable, flexible, and able to keep learning – and playing.
Work Play Enriches Work. What we do does not have to be all work or all play, but instead can have just the right amount of play that is needed. When we have added play to what we do, work can fulfill our need for variety and challenge and it can enliven us. Play brings engagement, vitality, creativity, and mastery into what we do and we can enjoy the process.
True Compass In Life
Play Shows us the Way. With access to a state of play, what is vital and engaging to us is not an intellectual idea but a known way of being. Without play, we lose track of meaning, direction, and purpose and our lives become barren. If there is a way to find engagement and joy in something, play will show us the way and then we can bring our entire being to it.
Social Team Work
Play is the Foundation of Social Interactions. We learn to be social through play and it shapes our relationships and enlivens our social connections. The basic play state begins with mother/child bonding and advances through family, friends, romantic partnerships, teams, and institutions. With play, we learn empathy, intimacy, understanding others point of view, give and take, shared goals, competition and many other aspects of social interactions. Play is the social lubricant that allows us to work and be with others in complex and highly functional ways and without it our interactions and institutions become rigid and maladaptive.
Integration & Growth
Integrate and Process. Play not only brings diverse areas of our brain together, it integrates thoughts, feelings, unconscious material, and body sensations. Additionally, play brings pleasure and creativity to difficult and challenging material, allowing us to handle process and find non-obvious solutions.