I have never really liked Halloween. Maybe because there are too many juxtapositions involved? I mean, inherently, trick…or treat seems an unnecessary creation of angst. Though I never actually got a “trick” instead of a treat, the very idea that it was possible to be tricked put someone like me, who admittedly likes some level of control, on high alert. And too, I could never get past the inauthenticity of donning a costume for one day when every other day of the year I was working so hard on being fully myself! But this year I felt differently. This year I had a six year old zombie who got totally into it. This year I experienced the sheer joy of play.
Out of what looked to be a pile full of rags in the Amazon box came hours of stomping around the house, arms outstretched, practicing the right moaning noises. A bloody sword found in the Halloween aisle from some recent store visit brought depth to the character fulfillment, making for a slashing and all powerful zombie. Play. And creativity. And such happiness.
And so I wonder where play goes. This kind of abandonment of the confines of standards and norms even just for a few moments. We get more and more staid and behaviorally organized as we grow up. Our play and creativity get boxed into a cubicle or a dress code or a protocol. Not that these things don’t have a time and a place but with too much of them, the joy and positive energy of fun can get lost. But what if we mindfully brought play into our lives and workplaces?
Last week at our staff meeting, I asked everyone to bring in an artifact from home. Just a little something that had a story that they would be willing to share with the rest of their colleagues. It was actually quite a powerful exercise. It felt like it began to break down the norms of behavior as people got sentimental, newly humorous, or profoundly inspired. It was our version of play I suppose. It bound us in a new way and opened up the possibility of seeing each other as full people with life stories. I think that is what play is all about. Possibility, joy and connection. It makes us a better people and makes us a better company. I think I’d like to bring more of this into our daily experience. Maybe, over time, we’ll even work up to having costume day in honor of the joy of Halloween…
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My best always,