I don’t mean engaged to be married. I mean are you engaged with life? Do you make the most of every precious moment? Do you embrace the world around you? Is life an adventure?
My guess is that for most of you the answer is no; at least not 24/7. I know it’s not true for myself a lot of times. I will bet however, that like myself, it’s an idea that has appeal for you. I know that I cherish those moments when I have been totally engaged. One of those moments was the last concert that I went to. A good friend of mine and myself took a road trip to Chicago to see a U2 concert.
The road trip in itself was delightful as well as hanging out in downtown Chicago on that brilliant September day. I love music. I’ll often jump up and dance to a song on the radio. My favorite pieces will give me goose bumps as well an occasional tear to my eye. So you can imagine what it’s like for me to see one of my favorite groups live. I was actually so “in the moment” that I barely remember anything about the concert; just a few snippets here and there. That and my overall emotional reaction of Joy.
Now let’s get back to that ideal of being engaged. One way of learning how be more engaged is to develop a greater capacity for playfulness. Which is really not a big surprise, the two are almost synonymous.
Gwen Gordon and Sean Esbjorn-Hargens describe playfulness in Integral Play: An Exploration Of The Playground And The Evolution Of The Player. “We certainly know positive forms of playfulness when we see them—a lightness of heart, a glint in the eye, alertness, enthusiasm, and readiness for surprise. There is a sense of involvement and detachment, self-expression and self-transcendence, individuality and cooperation. Boundaries become fluid, defenses dissolve, and physical, emotional, or mental movements become spontaneous, expanded, and well-coordinated. The considerable research on playfulness tells us that the traits of the playful include physical, cognitive, and social spontaneity, manifest joy, and a sense of humor. Playfulness carries the presence, flexibility, and openness needed to improvise with and expand the stream of possibilities as they emerge in each moment.”
Sounds a lot like someone who is engaged with life doesn’t it? Sounds a lot like a child at play; and they certainly are engaged and alive in the moment. Sounds like something worth pursuing doesn’t it?
For me it certainly is and I am already a fairly playful sort. Nonetheless, I am embarked on this new adventure of promoting playfulness so I definitely need to be engaged and playful.
Now where did I put my Fool’s Cap?