Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. ~ Tom Robbins
The Backstory: Late night, trying to get my creative jiggly on. We’ve been frittering around in story prompts for a while, and not finding a point of entry into the juice when Miss Tuscaloosa suggests that we write a manifesto.
Immediately, I feel a rush of equal parts fear and excitement. Can one write a manifesto for play? Can I?
At first glance, manifestos seems so unsilly, so serious. But then I start to get curious about the bright whooshing spark I felt at the idea, I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice to young creatives to simply flow their curiosity instead of trying to create something.
Hours later, I had down flowed that curiosity. Flowed it so hard, and, SO FUNLY. That unexpected flow carried me far from where I stood when I felt a little intimidated of Writing a Manifesto. I’m not sure what to say with or about the finished product. I don’t totally understand parts of it. But I think I understand the curiosity that drove its creation and I trust it.
Can you smell the invitation embedded up in here?
You sure can. But will you? Will you journey into the truer honey of a thing? Will you share the manifesto that’s snuggled in your heart with the world? And with me too? Or, not even the manifesto, how about the thing that is sparking, that would even want that kind of playing with.
I can’t wait!!!!
Manifesto for Conscious Play
We are undoing what is done unproper
making room at the table for what is fluid, what is grace, is new. We are forging new portals for Delight, shaving milliseconds off the time it takes to acknowledge that inconvenience or interruption is not actually possible, and in that remembering, we are sailing forth onto the proper timbers of adventure, again and again. We’ve been studying the sacred art of bally hoo for a white rainbow of lifetimes and now we are …
Sending burning arrows
The dark night seas are lit with our Viking funerals for the false and fear-based comfort plantations that whittle aliveness to a precarious ember, leaving the soul to pound on the body window, desperate to live. We’re planting real possibilities in their stead, where one whole-hearted silly can cure, completely, the divide between soul and the orange groves at dawn. We’re laughing, like it’s our job, truth or daring, kisses and parlays, opting for truth only to loose the heavy and stupid secrets into the uncaring ear-baskets of a stranger who will wisely let them shatter to the grocery floor, and we are …
Amping up our taste for freedom
because going crazy on it feels oasis excessive after desert nothingness and not only can we handle too much choice, too much wahoo wonderment, too much saturation of pleasure, we require those exact conditions, like a plant refuses to fuck around without the Sun. We are not fucking around without the sun either, we are …
Leaving windows open
in everything, every boat, every poem, every road trip, and especially, in every saving-grace interruption (that fantastic silly fuck-up that illumes the infinite truth about how shiver-fish delicious it is to be this alive.) And we are …
Issuing product recalls for the sleeping shoppers
If you bought the bippy that says you have to stop playing in order to be a proper adult, send it back. And stop buying bippies. We are …
You are really a field of bougainvillea gone brainwild in the year of rain. You are cotton candy running round n round the stick. You are the return on eons of I-think-I-can investments. And you are see through with yes. And we are see through with yes, we are …
For, to truly play, is to storm yourself exactly new.
A sad heart
will have full & proper vantage
restored in a single silver-heeled dip
into true and woo hooing
play, which just
happens to be
the best – ist
Way to be
1. Burn down the idea that play equals childish. The two notions are bound together in a common cultural attitude that applauds children frolicking yet chastises adults engaged in play as lazy or miscreant. Let joy’s fire burn you free.
2. If children and animals use play as a way of practicing and becoming ready for the next stage of their personal evolution, because playing helps them stay loose, honed, open, pliant, responsive, curious, and in flow, while locating them energetically snuggled up next to the heart of Infinite Possibility, then in what universe does it make a lick of sense for anyone to give up the best tool in their arsenal for keeping them up to speed with their own expansion?
3. Play does not require spontaneity; it breeds it.
4. The more authentically and fully you engage with the endeavor before you, the more whoosh, presence, willingness and invisible resources you’ll have available on the canvas of your own now (this is called playing hard, or fully.) This allows your state of being to continually upshift into more and more usable, energized and clear states. Happy people are more successful in every area of life. Learning how to play with how you do life lets you begin to leverage the power of your own joy. That’s when the real fun begins.
5. Play is inherently elevating. You don’t need to feel playful or joyful to begin because the act of playing will raise you up, like a lock system in a canal, because playing drops you into Flow. Here’s how: the endeavors we choose to play in compel our attention, naturally, towards things that make us feel good when we focus upon them, (ooo, color! wow, math secrets! yay, I crushed that jump! Ahhh, my body dancing in perfect harmony with this beautiful music, so satisfy! etc). You can help the rising action by letting giving over to your fascination and getting rid of interruptions, or, really, anything that distracts you from the fascination.
6. Play singularizes your focus, calling you to be more and more present with the now (like meditation) so you feel less split and this also helps your boat to rise. The game, the artistic engagement, the deep drop into composition, accepting the playful invitation, regardless the form, all have within them the bridge you need to return to your natural state of buoyancy. Trust the rising nature of play.
7. Dr. Who’s phone booth is very different on the inside. People immersed, happy, and armpit-deep in a play-space, are in a different state of being, with an entirely different perspective and point of attraction than what you might observe from the outside. Don’t waste time judging other people’s ways of playing. Reinvest that judgey energy into a high yield inquiry into where your joy lives and what YOUR next adventure smells like (you do you, bruh).
8. Unwend softly. Remembering how to play can feel like standing in line waiting to be chosen in gym class. At first, you may be paralyzed between the twin fears of worrying what to do if someone passes you the ball, and worrying what to do if no one ever does. Don’t worry dumpling, cuz, like every other person, you were born a perfect player. Let your journey back to recovering your playful heart be a private and perfectly messy endeavor, just like, well, life. Primordial ooze, earthquakes and rainbows and all.
9. Structure facilitates abandonment. While a structured game may seem, from your current position of grumpy malaise, to be lame and unattractive, the structure of the play-space will support you in your journey from Grump to Good by compelling your attention away from those thoughts that were making you grumpy and luring your attention onto things that genuinely rock the casbah, especially your casbah.
10. Most people haven’t even begun to play their own life because they’re still tangled up in what other people are doing, or not doing, or might be secretly doing. Bleh. Don’t waste waste your precious creative life energy in other people’s business. You have no idea what situations or growth curves they’re coming out of, or where they’re tenderly journeying towards. Every milli-ounce of brainjuice you use trying to figure out their business is brainjuice that you’re not using to play open your own beautiful business. All that wasted brainjuice could be used to quietly listen for what new music or adventure is hailing you, or to tune into the baby sprout urges of creative inspiration, it’s brainjuice you could be using to find and tend your own damn fine and perfectly perfect for you Yes.
11. Play restores proper vantage. Paradoxically, it is in the moment of great muddle when play has the most opportunity to be a springboard into a refreshed and profound liberation, even though, in those moments, being playful will feel distant and difficult. The more open you are to life playing through you, the more likely it is that you’ll soon discover how play is the fastest way out of a stuck state of being and up to a usable vantage.
12. #12 is currently lost in the Tardis. Though we expect Time to fold in on itself again quite soon, at which point, we’ll take a screenshot of whatever #12 is/was/ever could be, and let ya know.
13. Deep play throws us into the eternal present tense. There is no past or future when you are deeply absorbed in play. There isn’t a lot of complicatedness or weirdness here. Just you, the real you. Just Beingness. Hang out here, we dare ya.
13. Play fills you up, buttercup. Filling up your joy coffers with a nice, deep dip into a solid play-space will leave you with a tremendous and comprehensive readiness that travels well and can’t be easily shaken.
14. Let play infiltrate your whole life. Play a poem instead of writing it. Play dishes (bubbles!) Play sex (bubbles!) Simply shifting your verb shifts your brain into a can’t-get-it-wrong mindset.