Sacred Playtime – How to Stop Missing the Boat on Life #TruthByBrenda
Can you believe I have to write an article on the importance of playtime? When we were kids, of course we knew how to play. It came naturally to us. If you’re not doing sacred playtime, you’re missing the boat on life.
Then you grew out of it, and especially if you weren’t particularly happy as a child, that happened all too soon.
If you’re a high achiever, an entrepreneur, or you’re working at whatever job, or even if you’re retired but you love volunteering and helping out your friends and family…
You NEED playtime in your life.
Now, I’m not talking about work that is fun. That is still work. My business is still my business, even though I freaking love being on stage in front of large audiences and I even love the behind the scenes writing, rehearsals and music creation. In fact, a few years ago, I had this little awakening moment where I realized that I was NOT having any playtime at all! Every time I went out, it was something to do with my business: networking, a gig, meeting with a potential client, an expo where I had a booth… nothing was on my agenda just purely for fun.
I love my business and it’s super fun for me, but it’s NOT what I mean by sacred playtime.
What is sacred playtime?
1. You’re doing it purely for FUN.
2. It means something to you. It’s not someone else’s fun. It’s YOUR fun shared with someone(s) you enjoy spending time with.
3. You don’t have to try to get any results.
4. You’re in Sacred Time. Doesn’t matter how long things take or what happens next and you tend not to notice the time until you’re about ready to go home.
5. The only purpose is to have FUN.
6. Nobody but you is telling you what to do.
7. You feel free to be more spontaneous.
8. It’s a feast for the soul (and sometimes for the body).
9. You catch yourself in moments of laughing so hard you’re almost crying, or seeing something so beautiful in a dear friend, or watching their passion come out in an activity. I call these Joy moments.
10. Sometimes it really is a spiritual experience. I had a couple of really intense Joy moments at a recent solstice party. I felt a high in my body, mind and spirit. And I don’t drink or do drugs. Total natural high! I had tears from the power of the Joy, gratitude and nourishing organic food I was enjoying. Experiences like that are meant to be shared and often come from you sharing time and space with other people.
11. The outcome doesn’t matter, as long as it’s fun.
12. It involves smiles, laughter and some sort of activity.
13. It has no deadline, unless you’ve set a playdate.
14. You don’t have to accomplish anything other than having fun.
15. At least some of it needs to involve more than just you – people whose company you enjoy. Yes, introverts and shy people, I’m talking to you (and me!) too. Human beings need to be around other human beings. Not all the time. And not always some big crowd of people. Just at least one person (and that could be a four legged person sometimes, just saying) other than yourself.
How to get beyond the resistance:
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’m guessing you’ll relate… I actually resist doing things that light me up. Even singing sometimes! But it’s like a kid in the bath tub. They fight you, scream, whine, freak out, and then once they’re in the tub, all you can hear are sounds of delight and fun.
But I don’t have time, I’m so busy. Build time into your calendar to play. Anything from getting up for 5 minutes to dance to your favourite 80’s song (that would be me lol) to taking off for a random day trip, so yes, put lots of free time in your calendar for playtime. If you’re super busy, your playdates with yourself or other people might be shorter and less frequent, but do it!
I don’t have the money. Find something free to do! Like sipping tea at your place with a friend or two. Or going for a walk with someone to catch up and chat. Call someone. Start a creative project with whatever tools you have. There are plenty of ways to have playtime without spending a fortune – or even a dime!
I have chronic pain/illness. I do too. Yes, it can feel limiting, absolutely. When the pain isn’t too bad, invite someone over to your place for as long as you feel you can manage it. Ask a friend to drive you somewhere if you can get out. Take a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber if you can, to an event you would otherwise not be able to attend. Don’t give up. I know for myself, I have days when there is no way I would go out or be with people. Don’t forget to have little sacred playtime moments to ease the pain, like petting your pet or watching a funny YouTube video or just sitting there laughing for no reason. It will make a difference.
I don’t feel motivated. Did you see my comment about the kid in the bath tub? Read it again. Once you get into your playtime activities, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing them all the time! Let the promise of laughter, enjoyment, fun and energy be your motivation.
I’m shy. I hate meeting new people. Get a friend or two involved, especially an outgoing person. Call, text, message them and invite them to something, or create your own something to do together. Set up a playdate! It will create accountability so that your playtime actually happens.
If you are painfully shy or introverted, start with online activities or texting sessions or a phone call with a friend. Then ask that same friend to go with you to something you would both enjoy. I know it’s not easy, so if you need to reduce your anxiety first, do whatever it takes. Get support if you need it. Trust me, as a shy and formerly 100% introverted person (now I’m more of an ambivert), I get how difficult it can be AND I know how liberating it is to get beyond the resistance and grow a small meaningful circle of like-minded friends. You are worth it. So start small and play your way up to more and more playtime with friends.
I’m highly sensitive. Yeah, I get you. That’s why you get to create your own experiences. Find places to go that make you feel safe, create your sacred space around you before you even leave. Bring tools to help you along the way (I have crystals, stones, essential oils I bring with me). And of course, hang out with other highly sensitive people (and some who aren’t, but who get you, so you can stretch).
Most people don’t get me. I’m with you on that. There are people who do get you. You just have to find them. Social media is awesome for that. So is meetup.com. Seek out people with your interests. I’m not your average bear and I’ve been able to surround myself with some pretty awesome people.
I’m grieving. I’ve got your back. You need to do what works for you. After losing my son to gun violence just shy of 2 years ago, I’ve gone through all kinds of emotion and will probably be grieving in some way for him for the rest of my life. At first, I couldn’t do anything at all, for about 2 months. I was immobilized. Then I grew into being able to do some speaking and singing gigs. Eventually, I was craving playtime but only felt safe to do that with certain friends and if I had a ride. I continue to do what I have to do to help me feel safe, secure and supported in my sacred playtime. I also have professional support. Just like I hired a mentor to get me out of my shell, I also have ongoing grief counselling. I also went through a group program for people who have lost someone to murder. Get support when and how you need it. Take the time alone you need. Do whatever works. Nobody can tell you what to do for your grief journey or how long it will be except you. But I still encourage you to get in some sacred playtime when you feel able. It helps break up the sadness.
Words to the wise:
Stay in touch with your friends. Get back in touch with ones you still want a relationship with, and start staying in touch better.
I used to be terrible at developing relationships. Like, terrible. I was too shy to meet new people, too shy or awkward to stay in touch, too introverted to want to go out all the time, and people just didn’t invite me to things, so I stayed home a lot unless I was out on a speaking or singing gig. I had to learn and practice. You might have to practice at first if you’re not used to socializing and being in touch with people. I did and it’s worth it.
Walk into the fire. I let my fear come along for the ride, but it doesn’t get to take the wheel. I started committing myself to attending meetup events, even on my own as scary as that was for me. I found it extremely rewarding, even when it was hard or awkward, and because I took many little (and sometimes big) leaps, I now have the most beautiful little circle of friends I love dearly.
And… I have a lot of sacred playtime in my life!! I feel it, when I haven’t been having enough playtime. And that’s when I call it in. Literally yes, I ask the Universe to bring me some playtime opportunities, but also I check in with my friends. I look for events on Facebook or Meetup. I plan something.
How did I get to this place of having lots of sacred playtime?
I got some support. A few years ago, I found a mentor who could help me get out of my shell and start meeting new people, and really let myself play. I can’t believe how far I’ve come since only 4 years ago. If you really have a hard time with people, I highly recommend finding a mentor to help you.
We are living in an era where in-person community has become really important. If you don’t feel you have a community, search around until you find one that feels right for you. Look at grocery store and community bulletin boards where you like to shop. Look on Meetup.com. Check your local events guide. Search Facebook events. Don’t give up. And in the meantime, create sacred playdates with yourself and chat online with friends.
Enjoy your Joy moments!
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About Brenda MacIntyre
Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre, author and artist of the Medicine Song Oracle Cards™ & Music, is a Juno Award-winning singer, motivational speaker, indigenous drummer and wisdom-keeper. Brenda has shared her leadership and soul nationally on stage and in the media, such as MuchMusic, APTN, CTV, CP24, Global and CityTV’s Breakfast Television, as well as CBC Radio. Having experienced major loss and fear of being seen and heard, she is passionate about helping women to bring out their playfulness, edge and inner rebel, so they can live a life brimming with self-authority and soul-satisfying expression.