OM Report #3: Play

by Jonny T.  Dec 16, 2011

So I was sitting in a room with my two friends and colleagues, Rachel and Maya. We were plotting and planning for the upcoming PLAY course we were offering at OneTaste this weekend.

I gotta be honest. This whole PLAY concept has been confronting for me. So let me out myself here. I don’t like to PLAY. As a matter of fact I pretty much hate it. Somehow along the way I lost what this word means. Life has somehow become a chore; based more in fear than I care to admit. As I sat with my two colleagues, their turn on and playfulness so bright, I got ‘hit’, as we say around here. Rachel had given me an example to illustrate one of the 10 rules of play…

RULE # 4. The lowest common denominator determines the level of play.

She said, “So, John, you are currently determining the level of play at which we design this course.” The part that stumped me is that she was in total approval of where I was. What I got from it is, it’s not that the lowest common denominator is the worst, it’s the ability to work with what ever you have that makes the game interesting. A light went ON.

So here I was, nothing but a lump. A ‘NO’. In a bad mood. Feeling unable to control the situation, and to be honest, neurotic and fearful about seeing myself in the front of the room next weekend teaching a PLAY course when I HATE to play. I was close to saying, “F this. I’m outta here.”

In that room at that moment, the level to which we were going to PLAY in developing this course, was being determined by the level I was at. So I had a choice…was I going to be the lowest common denominator in this brain storm, as Rachel so effectively pointed out, or was I going to find my turn-on and get into the flow of the creative discussion. So, I decided to “fake it ‘till you make it”, throw my ‘stuff’ aside, and PLAY !

I succeeded in getting out of my own way enough to let some of my natural creativity come through. I was grateful to Rachel and Maya for how playful they could actually be in my moments of what seemed like eternal GRUMPTITUDE.

I don’t know what this weekend is going to bring, but I’m going to use it as my teacher. Why don’t I like to PLAY? What holds me back?

I’ve had these waking dreams lately. Memories of playing pickle as a kid in the backyard with a bunch of my childhood friends. I have these vivid memories of everything slowing down. It was so G-D fun, it consumed every living cell of my body and mind. There was nothing going on in the world except being completely lost in that game. I’ll never forget it. So deeply immersed in PLAY that everything else just went away. What happens to us as adults? Where do we lose our natural state of play? Where do our fears of messing up, or not being perfect, or embarrassing ourselves, stop us from going back to that childlike state ? On some level I’d like to get it back. Can life be so fun again that I’m just utterly lost in it? Can I find the PLAY ?

Before this whole PLAY class I really didn’t even know how missing the state of PLAY was in my life. I don’t know how fast I will get there, but I do know I want it. Maybe this weekend will carry me closer to finding that place that really wants everything to slow down just enough to get lost and PLAY.