Priestess of Play

Priestess of Play

When did you stop playing? 

If you were an imaginative child, did your vivid waking dreams of fantasy worlds slowly give way to worst-case-scenario anxieties as you reached adolescence? 


The realization of this loss often comes with sorrow and other emotions. But the newness of being “grown up” can, for a time, replace the old play with new kinds of play. The sensation of playing grown up can be so consuming that we don’t realize how deeply we’ve been taken in by it. One day, we realize we are still inherently creatures of play, but tragically, we’ve forgotten how to do it with the natural vigor we used to have. 


Psychology includes many studies on the nature and effects of play on growth and development. But for many adults, outside of the walls of a classroom, these discussions often only take place in reference to raising children. What about that inner child? Doesn’t she still need to play? 


The answer is yes! 


We are still developing every day, growing every day. We need imagination and we need physical play. Many times we substitute these needs with games, videos, and other distractions both wholesome and not-so-wholesome. But that feeling you perhaps had of coming home after a long summer afternoon of exuberant play…that feeling is gone. There is no satisfying substitution for play. When we find that inner child and begin to give her what she needs…then we find the play we need right here and now. 


The inner child is the priestess (or priest) of play. She dictates what composes an adequate offering. She may draw you to the shores of a lake and demand that you wiggle your toes in the sand and try to catch minnows. If you ignore her, she becomes a little more difficult to hear. She may encourage you to linger in the moonlight imagining patterns in the bare-branched trees to be terrifying monsters only to delightedly burrow under fluffy bedclothes later with the comfort of a nearby candle. She may encourage you to use your grown up money to buy the mermaid tail she always wanted and try a new hobby. She may want things that she didn’t get when you were little. 


Finding a way to nurture the inner child is the topic of many therapies and books. But, at its core, listening to the inner child is honoring her as a priestess of play. She knows the way. It’s your job to listen and benefit from her innate wisdom. Abide by her motto: vivre est admirari, “to live is to wonder.”


Be Blessed, Blessed Be,

Rachel Joy

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