“Let’s play! Only when we play do we truly celebrate.” ~Br. David Steindl-Rast
Play calls for our wholehearted presence and an openness to surprise. From board games to singing, lively banter around the dinner table to delighting in your pet, play in all its forms is an invitation to pause the day’s tasks and welcome something fluid, uncertain, and often full of delight. While play can occasionally be a solo endeavor, the heart of play is interaction and connection with others. It can provide the container for deep conversation or shared silence, evoke laughter or untold stories, and allow us to see one another anew. Whatever form it takes, play offers a way for us to tend our relationships with wholehearted presence, dedicated time, and a joyful kind of care, often creating an opening for something new to emerge.
With the intention of tending your relationships, we invite you try one of the following:
- Play is as much about mindset as activity; set an intention to be playful in your interactions today: smile at people, introduce some humor, laugh easily!
- Get creative with an everyday-type activity: Add some music and dancing to your meal prep, invite someone new over to eat, add some garnish or flourish to what or how you serve. Try decorating your door, windows, or driveway in a whimsical way to bring a little joy to others.
- If you’re able, gather friends to play a favorite sport, head to a playground (adults are allowed!), say yes to a child’s request to play or ask a child to play, join in your pet’s playfulness.
- If you’re not able to gather physically with others, hatch a plan to watch a movie simultaneously with a friend and call each other throughout, read a short story aloud to each other on the phone or Zoom, play an online game together.
As you find your own ways to play, take note of what might shift, open, or deepen in your relationships. Where does play allow for some light and spaciousness in life? What can you learn from letting go a little bit? Consider how you might make more time to play in the coming weeks as an intentional way of cherishing connection. How can playing, as Brother David suggests above, be a meaningful form of grateful celebration?
The Present, a playful, uplifting short film by Jacob Frey
Please share your reflections below if you feel moved. We’d love to hear what emerges for you from today’s practice.