Play Therapy

Play Therapy                     Blog 5

In an effort to be relieved of prolonged free-floating anxiety, I began seeking holistic nourishment. Starting with classical Pilates, I added breathing exercises, visualization, guided meditation and even cranial sacral massage. Although each modality was rewarding and at times even healing, this exercise proved to be expensive, time consuming, and after awhile, not altogether satisfying.

Then the grandchildren came. Wanting to spend every waking moment with three delightful boys, I put on hold all therapies and entered their world completely.  There was nothing they weren’t interested in and as I either participated or  simply watched them cast their fishing rods, catch crabs, drive golf balls, learn to sail, I became lost in the moment, totally immersed (as were they) in each endeavor.  To top it off, the seven year old (during down times!) introduced me to the art of bird watching! He dragged a long lost bird feeder out of the shed, filled the bird bath with water and had me join him on the window seat as he explained which species were coming and going.

As one day led into another, I noticed my back loosening up, depressing thoughts vacating my head, a new kick in my step, and my restless sleep patterns all but disappear. “We spend the first half of our life learning to be an adult,” Pablo Picasso said, “and the second half learning to be a child.” Had I all but forgotten all those conversations with my mentor, Joan Erikson, a child herself at the age of 92, as she talked about the importance of play? “The point is,” she would insist, “get out of your head and into your body. Don’t you know dear that when you are being curious and playful there is little opportunity to fail?”

In the end, it wasn’t formal therapy that would necessarily be the answer to my issues. Rather it was indulging in child’s play…being in the moment…a willingness to discover something new, delighting in serendipity, saying yes to the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.

“And a child shall lead them,” it says in the Bible, and so, once again they are doing for me…these grandsons who came east only for play have left me full of new wisdom and gratitude.

11 thoughts on “Play Therapy

  1. hello!This was a really wonderful Topics!
    I come from itlay, I was fortunate to approach your theme in yahoo
    Also I get a lot in your website really thank your very much i will come every day

  2. Thanks for this blog, Joan. Yes, indeed, play is wonderful therapy, and play by the ocean even better! I recently spent a week at the ocean with my three children and it was just wonderful to play with them, shell with them, sit with them, and listen to the ocean. It was a great week, and I returned home longing to be back at the ocean.

  3. Hi Joan! What a wonderful blog! I am sitting her smiling on a Friday morning in August-which is a new transition for me. As you know I have been a special educator for 3 decades; on a morning like this I would be in school figuring out schedules, testing, reports, lesson plans, policies on and on. BUT THIS YEAR…I turned that in to become our school librarian. I work 3 days a week now and when I am at school-I “play”! Right now, I have 6 classes of kindergarten and first grade wondering where Puff the Magic Dragon disappeared off to! Such fun!! There are hints of gold glitter, messy stuffed animals that moved, the song itself with Peter Yarrow’s book and a puzzle that is being put together that just may have the answer. Yes, you can play and earn an income too. I am doing it…I never thought I would have such a fun and wonderful opportunity. Now how do we keep Peter Rabbit from Mr. McGregor’s Garden?

  4. Cheers to you! I am so happy for you to get a chance to go outside and play with your grandkids!!! I’m thrilled that you had so much fun – you certainly deserve it!

  5. These grandchildren of ours have a way with us, don’t they? Nothing like them to remind us how to get out of ourselves and into the present…..even when we don’t want to…BUT then we find they were just what we needed…I guess God knows what we need after all…didn’t HE design this human race to begin with?

    You, Joan are on the way to bringing us some mighty new pearls of wisdom and you are right where HE wants you….in the potters hands…HE’s molding you into the shape and form for the next delivery….what a wonderful opportunity you have to help so many of us out here in this blog world…

  6. Oh, I totally relate to your form of therapy~I am traveling to the midwest this week. I will spend two weeks with my nine year old granddaughter. She pulls me up and out of my current funky mood quickly. It is effortless because we love each other and when I allow myself to just “be” in her world~it is so healing. It helps that she loves my favorite coffee shop, Cool Beans. She doesn’t know me professionally and in the middle of this career change it means NO EXTRA QUESTIONS from adults that need me to be practical. Hugs to you Joan!

  7. How I agree with you. Grandchildren are amazing for focusing grandparents to live in the moment. I think part of the joy is not having the responsibility of being the parent, just enjoying their company without the big juggling act of parenthood. Watching them at play, the excitement and wonderment they find in simple things is so beautiful and pure. It’s sad they have to conform. I’m glad yours have helped you to refocus and feel better. It’s interesting you needed them to help you reconnect with Joan E’s wisdom. From your journeys of self development I always think you are so wise, but I guess it’s the continual ebb and flow of life, being stuck and then movement again x

  8. I’m at my kitchen table today pondering the tight real estate market and, my even tighter, budget! At 57, I’d rather play. Can play and work have positive results…meaning income?

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