Blog > Play more games

May 14, 2010

Play touches and stimulates vitality, awakening the whole person – mind, body, intelligence and creativity. Viola Spolin

Thanks to my improv buddies, Rich Cox and William Hall, over at Improv Notebook, for reminding me of this quote. And thanks to Johnnie Moore for playing.

We learn by playing. We all know how to do it because we have all done it as children. Somewhere play becomes ‘not real work’. Real work somehow happens in our heads, using our ‘intelligence’. When did play get such a bad rap, I wonder?

Over the last three weeks, Johnnie and I have played together in vastly different locations with people from different countries, with different expectations, needs and experience. All know how to play. A seemingly simple, meaningless game exposes each of us to our patterns of behaviour, to the voices in our own head that tells us what we should and shouldn’t be doing, making up rules that don’t exist and creating anxiety about performance, failure and the need to know.

A game has the potential to tap into emotions that we hide, from feelings we bury, and to spark ideas that might surprise us. As long as we give ourselves permission to play, and to notice the effects.

And here’s an interesting thing about games. Games don’t need to be hectic or raucous. They can be calm, and calming, and still have the potential to inspire, delight, scare and surprise.

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