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  • Writer's pictureRachelle Millar

The Deep Joy of Play

For the Navajo, a baby’s first laugh is cause for celebration! Why grounding therapy in the right hemisphere of the brain is so effective. A baby’s laugh is a decision to join the human realm. The person who made the child first laugh is responsible for organising the celebration.



A sense of humour is so important when one engages in therapy. I am a huge advocate of Ben Zander’s book and philosophy of the ‘Art of Possibility’ and one of the rules of this art is to not take yourself so god damn seriously. It was also one of the rules for AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) after a whole group of adults had submitted so many rules to the powers that be, that their response was Rule Number #60 something, there are no rules. Another concept of this I take from Emotional and Social Intelligence Competency Frameworks, A sense of humour, I explain it like being human, humour being a part of being human, we are not infallible.


A young client I had for therapy the other day said to me, “My friend will do it again, she will behave the same way, and I will be disappointed”. In that moment, I knew that in order to change her beliefs and thinking she had to engage the not taking herself so seriously, or to FORGIVE oneself of their foibles. You see, when we forgive ourselves, we can forgive others too. And life is a whole lot easier, if we don’t have to be perfect.


Bringing the art of forgiveness into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was another dimension.


Today, as a family walked to the field of play, not knowing what might come up. I honour their courage. Tears welled up in her eyes, she was overcome. I was not sure by what, but I honoured her space. Yes, this world we walk in is quite profound. I honour your experience in this moment. I didn't say as much, because she was embarrassed and I did not want her to feel ashamed of being so overwhelmed. I felt honoured that she could experience that. That I could make this space safe enough to just be with one's feelings and hurt and heartache.


She was trying to be tough in that moment for her child, but it takes one mother to another to hear one's heart... And in that magical space we carried onto the hill to enjoy the horses.


I have a heart that believes such things, that there is a space for kindness, generosity and unconditional love. Being real like this makes my heart sing, it is without bounds, it is given freely and it is a cornerstone of the work that I believe Otamatea Community Services stands by.

I don't know what is going to happen when I see the horses, I do work on as much safety as I can, but I am not entirely worried about that, it is the magic that comes out of these interactions with Tilly the dog, with Choix the Goat and all five of our wonderful horses, Boy, Mo, Joy, Queenie and Silverado.


What are you celebrating today? Ever done the try not to laugh game or engaged in laughing yoga. Laughter and play are hugely powerful in your development as an adult, yes, even you. Many times I see my families push their children to the front. I believe and so the studies say, play is for everyone's developmental requirements, it asks us to create new possibilities in our lives and it is damn good fun.


These blog posts are my bit of play and fun; taking the stress of assignments and the joys of what I am learning to share in a post that isn't perfectly and academically crafted, it is written from my heart. My chuckle on life and the beauty of sharing with likeminded friends.




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