Have you noticed that today’s life has sped up? In today’s world, many people rush around, whether doing errands, chores or even resting. Granted, there is much to be done in a short amount of time. However, there is one element of our lives that we have allowed to slip through the cracks, playtime. This activity is gaining a lot of attention as more and more people realize they need a healthy balance in their lives between work and play.

Back in my childhood, life was less complex than it is today. The neighborhood I grew up in was a mile and a half north of town with no conveniences near us; dirt roads surrounded us, and the main road didn’t have a sidewalk. Still, we trekked up to town without worrying about a thing.

For the early grades, I attended a one-room school in a rural area about 40 miles north of Detroit. The school was an absolute paradise for a child who loved to be outdoors, run, roll down hills, and move beyond boundaries. Each morning I woke feeling excited about the day and ready to explore new things. My curiosity was on overdrive, and my imagination matched without any fears. I remember the feeling of oneness when out in the woods or corn fields, even when I was solo. 

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Cat Wisdom Cards by Tanya Graham

These were great times that I still cherish. What I need to do is bring those good feelings to the present. So, what can I do? Here are a few things I enjoy that are stressless for me and fun.

For as long as I can remember, the feeling of being out in nature has nourished my soul and given me the most incredible experience. Good feelings, such as the playful moments I felt as a child playing in the forests and corn fields, come into the moment. Today, monthly, members of our family meet at beautiful places in SoCal to enjoy walking and beauty. I allow myself to let go and embrace the serenity. Below on the left is from the San Diego Botanical Garden, Encinitas, CA.

At home, in our backyard, we have our garden oasis with various succulents, cacti, and trees. Their energy fills the space with love and appreciation. The vibes they give back produce joy in everyone who visits. When I am watering and repotting, I go into a quiet space, and suddenly, creative ideas emerge. 

It is a blessing to be part of the Garden Angels group at my church. Here I get to dig holes and plant succulents in the property’s gardens. Suddenly the feeling of freedom and oneness in me is back, just like when I planted flowers in my mom’s garden. My soul radiates with love. The picture on the right below shows new succulents in our church parking lot.

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And finally, nothing brings out the inner child in me more than through my interactions with my cats. They love to play with the string toy, and sometimes more than one cat joins in (and they take turns). During the time I am playing with them, joy fills my soul. And the cats get exercise while bonding with me. Animals can reduce stress and create a peaceful feeling. Below on the left is Shasta sitting in the tree, and on the right is Kalani in action. 

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Playtime with Kalani

Being playful does not mean neglecting my adult duties, such as paying the mortgage or putting gas in the car, or my household chores. Some things can be made into a game. Scrubbing the floor sparks my imagination, and as I’m working, I visualize myself at an archaeological site uncovering a beautiful mosaic design. Going one step further, I add music and put some boogie into my body movements, and suddenly work has become play.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing Tomb Raider games on my PC. Here, I allow my mind to go into fantasy land for the time I play the game. The game world brings curiosity out in me as I search for artifacts and other goodies in the game. Then after I close the adventure world out, my mind switches back to my Zen thoughts and reality.

What I want to do now is revive an activity from the past. Years ago, I attended a spiritual-based women’s circle. At the start of each meeting, we would dance around the facilitator’s apartment to music for a brief time. The purpose of this exercise was for us to let loose and allow our inner child to emerge for that time while thinking of nothing. I found myself quickly getting into the groove and I was in a different space when it was over.

Playtime has many benefits, such as reduced stress levels, increased oxygen in the bloodstream, and most of all, to have fun. Get out your jump ropes and take turns jumping in the center. Put on some music with friends and dance like you are in a club. Color in a grown-up coloring book and then go to the park and swing on the swings. All of this will connect you to your inner child and thus celebrate life as you did then.

I understand that the more I connect to my inner child, the more healing comes forth. With this, I am finding myself loosening up in situations that used to infuriate me. What I do now is bring the feeling of being free and curious forward to the present so I can enjoy it. 

Therefore, it is important to carve some time out of your day to include playtime. The breaks that I take have improved the quality of my work and my state of mind. By connecting to my inner child, I am experiencing life on a healthier and balanced level while healing the past.

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