Play /pleɪ/ To engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose; amuse oneself by engaging in imaginative pretense; behavior or speech that is not intended seriously; not real.
I remember how when I was a child I wanted to grow up fast. I also remember how I took on way more responsibility than I needed to… and how I took my responsibilities very seriously. I believed it was my job to keep everyone happy.
I remember industriously sewing outfits for my dolls… never really playing with them. Play was something that happened after all the work was done… and interestingly, the work was never done.
Some call it perfectionism, some call it pleaser personality, but it doesn’t really matter what it is called. Now, I know, consciously it was an unconscious response to the world around me.
Children are naturally intuitive and sensitive and they are also deeply dependent on those around them to care for them. We all desire to be seen and to be loved, and from an early age we mold ourselves to fit our surroundings in order to belong.
I knew exactly how to be a “good” girl.
And so began a lifetime of finding ways to contain and organize my emotions, my sensitivity, my self. I grew up keeping my external environment under control in order to keep my internal environment under control… outside in creation. If I could keep my family running smoothly, and not make waves myself… Everyone was happy. Right?
Until of course I realized that I wasn’t. And so began the Soulflower journey back to myself… back to my joy.
Of course I’m simplifying, and it is much easier to articulate this now, looking back. But over the course of this past moon cycle, Aster (ILLUMINATION) has been encouraging me to revisit the “spirit” of play versus the “act” of play and my relationship with both.
When we approach life with the spirit of play, we are OPEN, there is a natural curiosity, we move and flow with what is happening. This is certainly not pointless or frivolous activity. And it is certainly not forced silliness. Although that never hurts.
The plants are always saying that I’m far too serious. Lighten up!
Well, I have a lifetime of believing I had to hold everything together, and I suppose it takes time to create new habits, new ways of being. When you have been “adulting” since a very early age, it can be challenging to remember how to engage with life with the spirit of play. Challenging, but not impossible.
The whole intention of my Soulflower journey from the very beginning was to let go of my suffering and to find my joy, to find a way to live the gift of life as the gift I knew it to be… rather than the never ending chore. To create a life I didn’t need to take a vacation from. This (and sharing my journey) IS my work.
And Aster shares with me that the way to find my joy, and embody it in the world, is through the spirit of play—purposeful play.
The challenge is found in the hidden productivity conditioning and scarcity mentality that we all embody to varying degrees. You know, there is not enough time and so you better not waste it.
Aster says, “It’s not WHAT you do, it's HOW you are doing it.”
In other words, the spirit with which you show up and are present in your life is what matters. Not what your career is, or how well you have your shit seemingly under control.
The question is, how can we show up with open hearted curiosity, compassion for all and most of all love for life itself AND be the divine selves that we uniquely are without the constant seeking or productivity narrative directing the flow?
I’ve always considered myself a “seeker”. I thirst for knowledge of the world and how it works and also, I deeply desire to know and understand myself. There is an external and internal seeking. I desire to make the unconscious conscious, the unseen seen… and felt.
What I have become aware of is that there is a fine line, or continuum, between seeking to understand myself and seeking to figure out and control my life.
There are times where I am guided by my heart and in my joy and times where my ego mind is reminding me of all that there is to do and where I am simply NOT ENOUGH. Each state is only a breath away from the other…and there are many iterations, or frequencies of “seeking” in between.
When I am constantly seeking to figure out “what it is that I am supposed to be doing with my life”, my path and purpose, I am in a state of seeking that is not rooted in trust.
Is this what I am supposed to be doing…?
How about this…?
I guess it’s sort of playful, but mostly, when I am completely honest, it’s me trying to feel productive and purposeful in my life and externally seeking to fill the void. After all, I don't want to be a “lazy, privileged person…”
My purpose is to BE myself. I “know” this.
So what I am actually DOING is playing in the energy of lack and operating from old patterns of wanting to be seen as valuable, worthy and successful by others. Productive. External validation. Old conditioning. Old story.
Furthermore, when we are vibrating and emanating a frequency of “seeking” out to the Universe, whatever nuance it may be, the Universe will reflect back experiences that match that frequency.
We truly are powerful creators.
So, when we are PRESENT and in a vibration of TRUST, we can be OPEN to receive the inspiration and the wisdom and the opportunities as they come into our awareness. We are guided. In other words, the path appears with every step.
This is a level of awareness that I know in my heart, that I’ve felt, but that I am still remembering how to embody.
Practice, practice, practice!
Constantly trying to figure things out is a form of suffering. And you cannot be in flow at the same time as trying to control the flow.
There are times of great darkness, individually and collectively, where we can succumb to the fear of not knowing. Where we experience the unknown as scary—the dark night of the soul.
We might experience months or years of not knowing if we are on the right path—but Nature is always right there if we choose to see her—surrounding us, holding us, and reminding us that the dark, the unknown, the winter and deep rest is a necessary part of the process of life.
The dark supports sustainable life and is just as important as the growth and productivity of the light-filled summer energies. We cannot have one without the other.
When it is dark we are learning how to simply BE.
We are learning how to BE PRESENT, BE OPEN to and TRUST the process of life… which ironically is exactly where I began this Soulflower journey.
I guess I found what I was seeking.
And there is peace in that understanding.
I found my joy. I found my peace.
It lives in my heart, in every breath, and is nourished by my garden, it lives in CommUNITY, in relationship with life itself. It has been here all along.
So, I am no longer trying to figure things out. Instead, I am aware and flowing and present with what is. I am open to receiving what is next. I am finally playing! And, I am remembering how to create from my peace with what is, as opposed to creating from my unconscious suffering.
Most of the time…🤪
This means that in every moment, everything that I experience is a choice point. I lean in and say yes or I say no thank you. The path will arise out of my choices. I don’t have to seek anything.
The work, the effort is in remaining present.
Digging a little deeper. What I am truly seeking is understanding, belonging and enoughness.
When we search outside of ourselves for belonging, we are also searching outside of ourselves for the answers. And they cannot be found outside of our own hearts.
I belong everywhere as myself.
I belong when I am in alignment with and in right relationship with my soul self—my heart, my mind and my soul in a coherent state.
In other words, WHEN I AM WHOLLY PRESENT.
We long for a sense of belonging when we are separate from ourselves.
Our bodies and our souls are longing to be seen and loved and witnessed by our own selves and we confuse this with thinking we need others to love us in order to belong.
As I come home to myself in every moment—as a reforming pleaser and someone who feels deeply what others need and expect from me—I find true belonging. And we are fluid, we change, we grow, like everything else.
So this is a daily practice, we have to keep checking in with ourselves. Making small course corrections with every breath. Is this in alignment? How about this? What am I going to create today? AND then we have to have the courage to let go of what is not in alignment.
Which brings me full circle back to the perception of time…
It takes as long as it takes… this process of remembering, of integrating, of embodying your truth. Of being.
There is no such thing as wasted time.
Purposeful play—listening to and following your heart—is never a waste of time, and we are all on our own timelines weaving in and out with each other.
Productivity says we have to have material proof of time well spent but productivity is a material untruth.
Growth and understanding and change can not always be understood in material form, although we can perceive it more readily that way.
Growth, understanding and change is an inside job. It happens in the dark. In other words, growth is not necessarily just about getting bigger it can also be about feeling better. Feeling more like myself.
I know my inner state creates everything in my reality and that as my ego mind spouts its familiar nonsense, I no longer have to give those thoughts any energy, attention or emotion. I can simply witness them.
Aster is illuminating how to love fully, to LOVE MYSELF fully. Completely. Without judgment. How to tune out the (internal and external) drama and drop into peace, in order to create peace in the world.
The little girl that I was found a great deal of peace and joy in the work of making clothes for my dolls. Tending and caring for their perceived needs was exactly the medicine I needed. It was purposeful play. And the woman that I am now finds a great deal of peace and joy in the work of tending my garden and my soul, for I understand now that they are one and the same.
May I know and embody my own truth, inside and out, with kindness, compassion and courage.
And may all beings also be supported to do the same, so we may all live, love, and let live, without fear.
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