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 “Play isn’t work but “something you would do for nothing.” And when you find it, build your life around it because play is where your life lives”.  Dr. George Sheehan
Time to PLAY!
By Christine White, my favorite playmate and cherished friend who is no longer with us on earth but who continues to Play with me in my heart. I am so Thankful she got to PLAY!
I was puzzled the first time I heard Colleen say she had a PhD in play. When Colleen said she lived to play and that she and her friends found time to play every day, I wondered how this could be, grown women playing all the time. I don’t think I was alone, that first time I attended Women’s Quest over two years ago, in believing that play was not supposed to figure in my life.
Play comes easily at Women’s Quest where we ride bikes,  hike in the Redwoods or Rocky Mountains and move our bodies in yoga. We willingly exhaust ourselves. We laugh a lot. We make room for joy in our tight and harried souls.
By the end of retreat, we all agree we want to play more. Some of us return to another Women’s Quest retreat and laugh when we introduce ourselves and say we came back so we could play again. It’s a revelation, mature and accomplished and professional as we might be, that we’ve been harboring this desire to play.
This need to play. It’s easy to play in Colorado. For me, there is something special and almost sacred about the landscape that makes it a perfect “playground.” When I head out to hike or mountain bike, quiet mountains to my left and pine trees and aspens ahead on a trail, it’s easy to relax and laugh and fall into that space and time that some call not just play but “deep play.” Deep play makes me feel whole and gives me those special moments when time truly does change, sometimes standing still and sometimes stretching out ahead as far as the trail.
When we play, we’re trying to really feel life and know its power and scope. As with yoga, play brings us entirely into the moment, whether we’re on bikes, hiking or dancing our dreams awake. Play can bring us face to face with miracles, what Colleen calls “soul sparks.” These moments are the stuff of dreams that tell us who we are and who we can be. These moments are windows into our souls.
For a woman to be happy, she must find a balance in her life between work, play and love. Our culture socializes women to be giving caretakers and many of us struggle to put ourselves anywhere near the top of our own priority list. Play gives us a sense of healthy entitlement: it’s OK to take this time just for me.
And if you still feel you must justify the time you give over to play, remember this: You don’t play in a vacuum. Play isn’t an isolated act. The part of your day spent in play will influence the rest of your day, what you choose to do as well as the style and substance you bring to it.
What kind of play should you do? Dr. George Sheehan, a man sometimes called “the philosopher king of running,” said to do what feels best to you.  Play isn’t work but “something you would do for nothing.” And when you find it, he said, build your life around it because play is where your life lives.
Sheehan said that he was thinking of starting his own religion and the first rule would be to “Play regularly.” I love that idea: to play is to pray. He’s telling us that play can access our souls and unite us to forces greater than ourselves. Play can be a daily act of renewal.
At Women’s Quest we choose to drop our preconceptions about ourselves, choose to be open, choose to take risks, and choose to follow our heart’s desire. We also choose to play. So–did you renew YOUR self today? Did you make time to play?
In our hectic world women are searching for ways to slow down, savor everyday and play a little more. We get so caught up in our work and families that we sometimes forget to just live and ENJOY LIFE! Women’s Quest retreats help women find balance in their lives and rekindle the “kid” inside.
Come Play!!
June 3-8th in Sonoma California,  with road cycling, wine tasting and education, hiking in the redwoods and down to the ocean, yoga twice a day, Qigong, art, meditation and relaxation. Learn about the retreat here.