Learn More

By Hilary Illick

creating time for recreation, playCreating time for recreation is a jump start for getting more play time in your life. Summer is here, offering us more daylight hours – and more time – to play with friends, play on the beach, and play games long into the evening hours. What happens for you when you consider the possibility of devoting your extra daylight hours to play?

Are Patterns Keeping You From Playing?

For many, the concept of play can trigger a whole host of patterns and patterned beliefs. Perhaps you were raised to believe that play is silly, a waste of time. Maybe you observed or were told that adults who play are irresponsible. Or it could come down to worthiness: many of us believe we don’t deserve to play until we’ve earned it by finishing work. Perhaps the bar is set so high that it is impossible to ever feel worthy, to ever feel you’ve earned your right to joy, levity, silliness, and play.

Plato once said that you can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation. Partly this is due to the multitude of patterns that play – or even just the mere idea of playing – brings to the fore. But also, it’s because once a person does start playing and really letting go and having fun, you can see their aliveness, experience their joyful essence, and know them directly in present time.

Creating Time for Recreation: Discover the Power of Play

Recently, I led two Hoffman graduate events devoted to the power of play, and there is something indescribably intoxicating about a roomful of sober adults with their eyes closed, mooing and baahing to find their animal families, or standing in a giddy circle changing places with each other as quickly as they can due to the color of their socks or hair. What I marvel at is how radiant people become when they engage in play. This is true every Wednesday afternoon of the Process, when Hoffman students play for an uninterrupted span of three-plus hours. Bodies come to life, moving in new and spritely ways. Eyes dance. Skin glows. Laughter erupts in contagious peals. And the thing is, if these very same people had been told ahead of time exactly what games they’d be playing (and for how long), the vast majority would probably have declined.

Be Delighted, Amused, and Play!

> Because play isn’t something you can experience in theory.

> Play doesn’t happen in the future.

> Play happens in the now, the moment you are playing.

That’s what play does: it brings us into the present. Our whole self, our entire Quadrinity, alive and engaged right here, right now. Play involves and enlivens our body. Play delights and amuses our emotional child. And even if it throws our intellect out of its comfort zone, play reminds our intellect of its range, resilience, and creativity. Playing creates endorphins in our body and brain, helping us to feel better, adapt better, solve problems better. Our wise magnificent spiritual self knows this, has known all along the deep benefits of play. Our spiritual self knows that to recreate is in fact exactly that: to re-create, again and again, a refreshed state of embodied aliveness. To recreate is to create in the spirit of joy.

Some Process resources to get you in the playing mood:
Make a gratitude list
Keep track of your positive experiences
Join or create a graduate community
Or check your local listings for fun things to do. Just get out there and enjoy life!

1 Comment
  • Lydia B. Smith


    07/20/16 at 10:30 AM

    Hi Hilary –
    When I saw your name I wondered if it was one of Polly’s Hillarys! Lo and behold it is you. I was Polly’s friend from Berkeley – we met several times. Nice post. I just did HOffman this year and definitely making more time to play!
    Best to you

Write a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog Subscribe

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.