Play

Exploring flower essences for having fun

play

  1. to engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose
  2. an altered state in which discovery can happen

For many folks having fun is a rarity. Many reasons stand in the way of letting go and simply playing. Play, laughter, and simple joy can be a foreign a concept. Why do we hold ourselves back from having fun? Why is play often the last thing on our long lists of things to do?

For some people, the concept of play and having fun was not encouraged as children. It seemed more important for them to take care of younger siblings, to take care of mother in some way, or to focus on school homework instead of taking time to play. Even though it is socially acceptable for kids to play, not all of us were encouraged to do so as children.

Becoming an adult brought on the serious business of work and perhaps raising a family, which always took precedence over playing. Those involved in the serious business of transformation sometimes become workaholics to time spent on self-improvement and inner growth. Play could not be important when compared to these serious and adult concerns, right?

Actually, play is as important to your mental and emotional well-being as food is to the body. We learn to trust others through play. Social play is a way in which we feel that we belong with others. Rigid, fixed behaviors can relax and change by engaging in play.

Stuart Brown (Ref: TED talk 2008), a leading researcher in the importance of play, talks about a laboratory experiment in which two groups of rats were used. One group was allowed to play and develop naturally. The other group was suppressed from playing. Then both groups were exposed to the scent of a cat. All of the rats ran and hid, which is the normal survival instinct, a protective mechanism.

But what happened next was important. The group of rats that was allowed to play gradually came slowly out, exploring the environment, searching to see if it was safe to come out. But the other group that had not been allowed to play never came out at all. They remained in hiding and died. We can see that play is important for survival.

I wondered, as I listened to Stuart Brown tell this story, about people who were raised in dysfunctional families and not encouraged to play, those who learned to hide to keep themselves safe. Do they continue to hide and not slowly come out and explore their surroundings? Is play such a foreign concept that they are still in hiding from perceived dangers many years later?

Stuart Brown also says that the opposite of play is not work, it is depression. When you think about it, isn’t that true? It is possible to have fun in whatever work you are doing. It is about changing your perspective and finding how to make something fun. When you do not have fun in your life, when there is not the lightness of purposeless play, don’t things become rather dry, boring and depressing?

How can we encourage play in our lives? Think back to a memory that you have when you played and it was simply fun, free, creative, discovery of yourself and the world around you. Invite the feeling to arise and experience it again. That can be your guide.

Play is when we do something just for its own sake, not for a particular purpose. I remember loving to take apart watches when I was a child. I was simply curious how they worked. Then I was delighted to put it back together again and be sure there were no part left out when I was done. That was a form of play that delighted me. Allowing my hands to explore and connect my mind with what they were doing was fulfilling.

While it is important to have some time that is scheduled just for play, I think that it is even more important to bring the quality of play into everything I do. If I am teaching a class, having fun with the material and the presentation of it can be play. How can you bring the qualities of play into your life?

Finding the Inner Trickster

Perhaps a good starting point is using A Way to the Elf Formula. This composite formula is for helping you extend your awareness to light-heartedness and playfulness when you take yourself too seriously. It is great for those who have no concept of play, or those who seem to have lost it. The essence helps you find your inner trickster, the part of you that is founded in joy and can connect you to it in any situation.

Play can be a way to patch up misunderstandings between people. It also provides room to exercise fantasy and imagination. Playing games together helps us learn to get along with each other. It can give us the opportunity to observe the signals of others and learn to interpret them. Playing a game can be a way of reducing a complicated world to a manageable size, as we create the rules. And more than anything, it is just plain fun!

The essence can help you make play and joy a more important part of your life, which can help you make decisions that support staying in that space. At first, you may feel foolish and awkward when you let go into a playful mode. This flower essence helps you learn how to play and transform feelings of foolishness into confidence and lightness.

The Mental Worrier

Photo

For those who spend a lot of time planning for what might go wrong in the future, or who are convinced that things are going to be difficult, Strawberry Cactus can be an important flower essence to use.

Great for those who are worriers and whose minds take an active role in making everything into serious matters, this flower essence helps you let go of the need to control potentially troublesome outcomes by planning for what to do if they happen. It supports you in letting go and allow things to simply be fun and playful.

Enjoying the fun of life is a spiritual practice. Strawberry Cactus can help you let go of an overly serious perspective enough to discover how to perceive life as an opportunity for fun and play.

Frozen Feelings of Anger or Resentment

How often do you hold yourself back from having fun and playing because you don’t feel like it? Aren’t you often holding onto some feeling that is unresolved, perhaps anger or resentment for something?

Photo

Sometimes you do not have fun in your life because you are obstinately holding onto unresolved emotions. What I have discovered about emotions is that they are simply energy in a specific form. When you can detach what you think about a feeling from the feeling itself, you experience the pulsation of joy, which is the “material” of the feeling itself.

Compass Barrel Cactus can help you let go of your mind’s insistence on playing a feeling over and over again as it creates the justification for feeling the feeling in the first place. As you detach from your mind’s interpretation of the feeling, the feeling is freed up and just transforms into joy. When we are no longer engaged by unresolved or stuck feelings we are available for play and fun.

You Don’t Need to Suffer to Deserve Fun

Photo

Some of us were raised to believe that you must first suffer or pay a price to have fun and play in your life. Different religious beliefs or stressed-out parents can impart this apparent truth to you. Crown of Thorns is a wonderful antidote to this perspective.

This flower essence is for those who believe that life cannot be simply joyful and fun, that you must first suffer or work seriously before you earn or deserve to have fun. Crown of Thorns can wash away the belief that you have to be something other than what you already are in order to have fun and play. Simply because you exist you can experience joy. Nothing else is required. Suffering is optional.

Laughing at Yourself

Photo

White Desert Zinnia is also an essence that can be helpful for establishing the right to fun and play. This flower essence helps you if you feel that you can never get ahead of the game, that there are always more obstacles, more work, more struggle ahead of you. You become entrenched in this sort of thinking and caught up in discouragement.

The flower essence helps you overcome this hard attitude by supporting you with lightness, merriment and encouraging laughter. When you lighten up and relax, your perception of things change. As long as you hold yourself back from lightness, you remain firmly entrenched in discouragement.

White Desert Zinnia helps bring the ability to laugh at yourself and see the situations in your life as opportunities to play and evolve without taking yourself too seriously. It helps you let the light of laughter fill your life so you can step outside your over-identification with limitation and struggle.

Selecting the Most Appropriate Flower Essences

Not every flower essence mentioned above will be appropriate for every person’s specific needs. Different people have different issues. Usually, careful self-examination can clearly show you which of the above flower essences are most appropriate for you.

Though you can use more than one flower essence together, you probably will not need to use all of the ones mentioned here. After contemplating your relationship to this issue, select the flower essences that apply for you, or use an intuitive method to select among them. (For more information on how to do this, see The Art & Technique of Using Flower Essences.) A general guideline is to use four drops at a time, four times a day, in water. However, it is fine to follow your intuition and use them as often as you like. Most people find that they tend to use them more often in the beginning and less often towards the end of the cycle. Unless otherwise indicated, a cycle is usually two to four weeks. [more]

For information on how to clearly evaluate the effects of the essences you have used, see The Art & Technique of Using Flower Essences.

Recommended Flower Essences

A Way to the Elf Formula
helps you extend your awareness to light-heartedness and playfulness when you take yourself and your processes too seriously
Compass Barrel Cactus
not having fun because you are unwilling to move through and beyond an emotional state
Crown of Thorns
believing that you must suffer or pay a price to have fun; feeling you must earn the right to have fun
Strawberry Cactus
taking life too seriously, not having fun; overly focused with your mind, even focused on planning for what might go wrong in the future
White Desert Zinnia
feeling that you can never quite get ahead of the game, that there are always more obstacles, more work, more struggle