Remembering How To Play

Looking out of the window here in Bampton the scene is a winter wonderland. Snow is covering everything in a thick, beautiful white icing.

But I think the most wonderful thing I’ve noticed about the snow is that it’s given grown-ups the excuse to play again.

Remember when you were a child how you used to look forward to being allowed out to play? How you could run around and never seemed out of breath? How you played in your breaks at school? It was rare to say you couldn’t be bothered to go out and play, or make excuses and put it off, like we do now when thinking about the gym.

And do you remember how you would eat when hungry and never obsess about food? Eating wasn’t an enemy, it was just something you needed for growing and playing.

Playing was fun and without realising it we were having many of our basic needs fulfilled as well. We had a sense of meaning and purpose; we were part of a community of friends and shared intimacy; we gave and received attention; used our creativity and a sense of challenge, being the cop or the robber; we were in control of our environment, making camps and dens. And if we had good parenting we felt secure and safe, knowing we would be called in for tea and told to do our homework when the time was up.

On top of that our bodies were fit by running around and we had plenty of feel-good serotonin and adrenalin pumping through us.

But when we became grown-up somewhere there must have been an unwritten rule saying we could no longer just play for the sake of it. Yes we could do sports or visit theme parks once a year or ‘play’ by going for drinks with friends, but whatever happened to that spontaneous running around, playing chase just because we felt like it?

And that’s why it’s so refreshing to see grown-ups in the snow. They’re throwing snowballs, building snowmen and other amazing creations, sledging and skating on icy patches. And they’re laughing, they’re living in the moment and they’re free.

Many of the clients I see for psychotherapy and hypnotherapy in Oxfordshire have neglected that carefree side of themselves and have been paying the costs, so I’m going to make it my mission to bring back playing for grown-ups. I’m going to begin sessions shortly in Bampton and then see how we go about spreading the playtime through Oxfordshire.

I’d love to hear from you if you’re ready to let yourself play again. Get in touch and you can have a preview of my plans. Bagsie I get first go on the space hopper though.

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