The Unrelenting Life

Posted on August 13, 2021

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This week I returned to dance lessons after a 3-year hiatus. The experience was tremendously life-giving and caused me to reflect on how easy it is to neglect the wide-open fields of play in the midst of life’s unrelenting demands.

Against the backdrop of ordinary everyday life, play takes us into zones of freedom, regeneration, restfulness, learning, abandonment and sweet release.

Amongst its many forms, there is shallow or light play where mind and body receive a short break: watching a favourite movie, getting lost in a novel or taking a walk in the park all fall into this category. Deep play, by contrast, also provides a break for mind and body, but it does so in a way that stretches personal boundaries of skill into new and exhilarating spaces. As we compete against ourselves and/or others we develop expertise, which might take the form of playing chess, learning an instrument or climbing mountains.

As children, we asked our parents’ permission to go outside and play. As adults, it’s up to us to grant ourselves permission to play. It’s an activity we can choose to engage in and have to set time aside for, if it is to happen.

Take a moment to reflect on the last 3-6 months. If the demands of life have become unrelenting or you are tired of the tedious, change things up.

What is one form of play that you could begin with regularity this week?


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