Friday, August 28, 2020

Joy Project: Play

Hello! Before I jump into the next chapter of Joyful, I'll update you on my quest for harmony in the cleaning out of my mother's house. I could not be happier to report that I've crossed the finish line. Thanks to a lot of help from a lot of people--and a very cooperative local real estate market--the sale of the house closed on Monday.

The last week was a little strange, full of competing moments of nostalgia and frustration. But as I swept out the garage last Saturday, I finally got the sense that the harmony of the home had been restored, and it was ready to receive its new occupant. It was a feeling of satisfaction more than sadness, and I was delighted when a large dragonfly flew into the garage and buzzed around for a bit. If you believe in such things, dragonflies symbolize adaptability, transformation, and new beginnings. They also remind us when we need to bring a little light and joy into our lives.  
Now I just need to restore harmony in my own home, which has been kind of neglected the past few months.

And, boy, was I ready to read a chapter about play!

Many animals engage in play. It's one way they learn appropriate social behaviors. If a pup plays too rough, its litter mates will let it know. Although human play is often much more complicated, it can also be quite simple. I hadn't really thought about it this way, but the book suggests that play is the only activity that humans do solely for fun. There's generally no monetary gain or survival of the species on the line.

I imagine we all have a pretty good idea of what constitutes a playful activity. But what makes for a more playful environment? What is "the shape of play?" Sorry, triangle, it's not you. Nor you, rhombus. Research supports the idea that the most joyful shape for humans is a circle. Sharp angles subconsciously evoke danger--teeth, thorns, and various potential injuries that clumsy people like me know all too well. A curved surface feels safer and more accessible, which in turn reduces stress and promotes creativity.

Unless you have an extensive collection of decorative plates, Hula Hoops, and dartboards festooning your walls, your environment is probably more angular than not. I know mine is. So now I'm going to consider the ways in which I can add more curves, circles, and spheres in places in my home that feel particularly stuffy. And I honestly don't think I could go wrong with a bubble machine.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone! See you next time!

bubbles tilt-shift photography, soap bubbles, green, farbenspiel, tree,  colorful, shimmer, float, CC0, public domain, royalty free | Piqsels


  1. Congratulations! It must be such a relief to have that done.