When you were a kid, life was filled with magic. In your imagination, you could be or do anything. You played without rules, letting your imagination run free. With a towel or your blanket on your shoulders, you were a swashbuckling pirate, or maybe a superhero.
Do you remember running free through the fields, maybe alone or maybe with friends; the feeling of freedom, the feeling of playfulness overcoming you, and you fall down giggling? Did you chase butterflies or fireflies, marveling at their beauty when you caught one?
Do you remember unstructured play? A tea party with your stuffed animals or dolls? Riding your bike, feeling the freedom of being able to get where you wanted? Did you swing on a swing, feeling like you could touch the sky? Do you remember building with blocks or Legos?
Why is it that we leave this magic behind as we grow up? Most adult entertainment is very structured – we can play games, we can play sports, but there are rules we must follow, or we are doing it wrong.
Have you spent time with a child under five, and marvelled at the way they see the world? Young children will stop to watch a snail crossing a path, crouching down to examine their trail. Children remember their magic, and they see magic in things we take for granted. Oh, we allow ourselves to play with them, as if being with a four year old is the only way we can have permission to be silly. As soon as the child leaves, we return to the jaded world of adultness.
What do you think would happen if you allowed yourself some unstructured play, without having the crutch of a small child around? Would you be embarrassed to let your inner child out – to play on the climbing structures, to swing on a swing? What if you gave yourself permission to run on the beach, not for exercise; for the sheer joy of running on wet sand, feeling the sand squish between your toes?
Your inner child is aching to be let out. Are you brave enough to play unstructured? If you are, you will be rewarded with a magical moment that takes you back to a time when you felt free.
May you be blessed with a playful spirit!