Good morning everyone, and welcome to NF Learning Lab, where together, we access our innate, iNtuitive wisdom as unique, self-valuing, and deeply Feeling women, and share who we are becoming in a safe, sensitive community.
In recent weeks, we have been exploring the ten areas of life that we work with in NF Learning Lab, and we’ve been using, as our discovery lens, the life area of ‘family of origin’. Last week, we focused this lens on the limiting beliefs our first family showed us about work. Today, we focus that lens on the life area of ‘play’. As we do that, let’s notice the obvious, which is that the two life-areas of work and play are two sides of the same coin when it comes to our beliefs and choices. We associate work, with making money or making a ‘difference’ in the world, or in our families. We associate play with taking time off from the serious things of life. But what if we ‘play’ music for a living? What if we make art? What if our work involves playing sports? Do we even think to notice how we use the words ‘work’ and ‘play’? Are we aware of the ways in which we sometimes use each word with the meaning of the other word in mind? It makes sense that we learned this ‘not-noticing’, at least in part, from our family of origin.
When it comes to making sense of the difference between work and play, one way to move beyond what we learned as children, is to think of work as activity that is arduous, or hard, and to think of play as activity that is easy, and fun. Another way, is to think of work as activity that involves delayed gratification, such as wealth or social status, and to think of play as involving immediate gratification during the activity itself like the ‘body high’ that comes with playing sports, or the thrill associated with winning a game. One thing is certain, though … that whatever our personal ideas about work and play might be, they will have been greatly impacted by the thoughts, beliefs, and practices we learned from our family of origin.
In NF Learning Lab, we are very curious about how we can, each, become more self-directed in life, and more creative, and more fully expressed and fulfilled. So, it makes sense for us to consider one additional look at our two-sided, work-play coin. We might think of the ‘work’ side as being prescribed for us, by our society, our community, our boss, or initially, by adult members of our family of origin. And we might think of the ‘play’ side of our coin as offering us freedom, with plenty of room to explore and experiment, away from the expectations (and prying … and possibly ‘judging’) eyes of others.
When our definition of ‘play’ includes the idea of ‘freedom’, it takes on a whole new meaning, and this may be especially true for us as complex, iNtuitive-Feeling type women. Play as ‘freedom’ might bring to mind, moments in childhood when mom, or some other adult told us to ‘go play’, as though play had a switch that we could turn on and off whenever we wanted to. We might have felt pressured in such moments, especially at first. We might even have felt rejected, or dismissed, by the adult who told us to ‘go play’. Or we might have felt like we didn’t know what to do. For most of us as children, though, there was an innate sense that the order to ‘go play’ came with a large helping of relief, and the freedom to engage in doing something just because we wanted to, something that we might do, just for the ‘fun of it’! Such a realization can be a doorway into the inner world of our imagination, and so we might have begun to relax a bit. We might have wandered about looking for inspiration of some kind, without even knowing we were doing so. Eventually, we might have found a friend to play with, or drifted into some activity that just felt right at the time. As we fast-forward into adulthood, we might be curious about whether we still have the ability to just ‘go play’, and also about how much of our answer to that question comes from our family of origin.