A few months ago, I adopted my brother’s dog, Moon. I never expected to be mommy to a doggie especially at this point in my life, as I always thought I was a cat person, but Moon has been a surprise and joy to my life. He is teaching me many lessons about being present, trusting love, and play.
The latter one is what I’d like to explore today. When I was researching his breed (we think he is part Catahoula, among other things), all the sources agreed that this breed needs AT LEAST an hour of VIGOROUS exercise everyday. Wowza. Living in a tiny New York/Brooklyn apartment, this is a tough one to accomplish. Luckily, there is a dog run in a park about 15-20 minutes walk away.
And what I’ve found going to the dog park almost everyday is that part of this vigorous exercise for Moon has to be social playtime. He LOVES to play. And even though he looks like a scary big dog, he plays well with almost EVERYONE! Tiny dogs, big dogs, medium dogs….dogs who like to chase, dogs who like to wrestle, dogs who like to play tug-of-war with sticks. He even does the rounds and give licks to the humans. When he’s had his fill, his tongue is hanging out, tail wagging, and with a look that could be seen as a grin on his cute face.
This got me thinking about us humans. What if we were to schedule play into our lives like I schedule it in for Moon? What if we were to get AN HOUR (or more) of play EVERY DAMN DAY??
And what is PLAY? What would that look? Do we hard working adults in a workaholic culture even know what play is anymore?? I keep saying I need more play in my life, but haven’t really implemented it yet, cause I’m not actually sure what “play” means to me now. When I was younger it was arts and crafts, playing make believe, dressing up, running around outside with the neighbors. Then eventually in high school and college, there was always something to read or homework to be done, but theatre became my playtime. Entering the “real world” and starting a business, there’s ALWAYS some work to be done at every moment. But as Moon has taught me, play is essential. And that’s a piece that has been missing, so it’s time to schedule that in too. Julia Cameron of the book The Artist’s Way suggests taking your inner child out on “artist dates” once a week. This might be a great place to start! Looking back to what we did as kids is also a great place for inspiration. Is it digging in the dirt? Is it reading fiction? Going to a movie? Playing with toys? Creating something with your hands? Going dancing or singing songs? Nature walks or museum visits? I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to use this last month of summer to really embrace my playful nature!
I’d love to hear from you: what is play for you? What do you do for fun and how might you add more of it in your schedule?