when it comes to playing (just playing games, not sport), just rewind back to our feral ways. that’s where the spirit of play resides and where we ought to find our way to.
much of the past few centuries has been spent in civilising the savage world. whether it’s the Romans or the British empire, the quest to unite the world was more a desire to dominate over tribes which had unacceptable customs.
but it’s these indigenous cultures and tribes that i’m most interested in. i want to find their way of play. in the wild, how would they entertain and amuse themselves. what forms of play would be fun and sociable?
more the merrier
i’ll never stop stressing the importance of trusted playmates. that’s the keyword there. trust. having skilled playmates might be useful in upgrading one’s skill. but being able to trust playmates ensures the safety that nurtures and nourishes.
tribes in the past lived together, hunted together, ate together and played together! so if you’re eager to kickstart your journey into play, find a playmate. find many playmates.
but if you can’t or don’t want to, there’s still hope.
earth is home
Elon Musk might promise you Mars but Earth is still home. and here’s one way to connect with home. go barefoot. walk around without shoes. lawn. mud. sand. slush. it doesn’t matter what. just do away with anything that comes between you and the Earth.
if you want to increase your contact, walk on all fours so you’re also touching the Earth with your hands. not only does this offer more tactile experience, it is also more physically challenging.
build on that experience by dancing, clowning around or exploring physical movement patterns without any instructions.
climb a tree
there’s a certain sense of adventure and excitement that you can rekindle by climbing a tree. you’re rooted but also elevated. explore your inner monkey and use all four limbs to propel you higher.
if you’re not adventurous or athletic, there’s no need to despair. just hug a tree instead. yup, that’s it. do this everytime you see a tree. if you take a regular walk, say hello to the trees you walk by.
if you think you can go further, try swinging on branches. let your fear guide you in pushing your limits. the tightrope between safety and danger is a fine line.
run for your life
running is modern man’s goto exercise for overall fitness. but running on a treadmill is no fun. get out. break out of your local gym or your garage treadmill.
find a space outdoors where you can run. but why would you? find a reason to run. chase something or someone. get someone to chase you. organise a timed treasure hunt.
playing parkour in the neighborhood might require next level skills, but playing with your friends doesn’t. if you’re alone, then visualise being chased by a dog whose bone you just stole.
every body loves a good fight. but you don’t have to be trained or skilled to jump into a ring or cage. well, actually you do. so let’s skip that part.
just grab a couple of pillows. tie one up in your backyard. now use the other one to hit it. there you go. your own boxing bag inspired shadow pillow fighting. Jung would be amazed to hear this variation of shadow work.
when friends come over, involve them in an epic pillow battle royale. depending on where you live, you may be able to engage in a snowball fight. you can just as easily substitute with styrofoam stress balls.
what’s your game?
this is my no means an exhaustive list but more of a reminder. wake up. get out. get dirty. pick a fight. life can be more playful with less effort. make your own list of feral experiences that will rekindle the spirit of play in you. if you’re drawing a blank, look to your childhood for answers.