Make 2021 YOUR Year of Playfulness!

You’ll never get bored when you try something new,

There’s no limit to what you can do.

– Dr. Seuss

Credit: Drew Beaner on

2020 is a year to remember.  Truly.  Given difficult times, fear and  unknowns it has still been full of meaningful moments to reflect upon.

This next year holds the promise of a new and better year. While many of us made mini goals at the beginning of the COVID outbreak (way back in March, 2020), we collectively start fresh as we head into 2021 and begin a new decade.

Let’s start by agreeing NOT to be “RESOLUTE” in our resolutions! Sheer determination is not the best approach to successful goal setting or habit change.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Incorporate Playfulness into your life, or increase your Playfulness Quotient by adding micro moments of playfulness.

BJ Fogg, Tiny Habits author, has one approach to instilling daily habits; Leo Babauta, author of and The Habit Guide is another outstanding resource. Pick an approach that works for you.

Make 2021 YOUR Year of Playfulness. Put playfulness into action right now!  It’s easier than you might think. Take a moment to focus with intention and if you can… touch your nose to your tongue… or blink your eyes back and forth as fast as possible.  Fun, right? And, quick and playful.  You’ve begun 2021 with Playfulness!

Here we go… you’re ready for some change in 2021, right? Playfulness has positive benefits for wellbeing and is typically fun! Remember touching your nose to your tongue just 3 seconds ago? Try it every morning with a prompt up to remind yourself (a smiley face to your bathroom mirror).

You’re all set with BJ Fogg’s formula: B=MAP (Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Prompt) to have a more playful year in 2021! Start tiny, stay tiny and have self compassion…

Whatever you do New Year’s Eve, take advantage of “the fresh start effect” with daily micro moments of play and join us in Proclaiming 2021 the Year of Playfulness!

PS: As Daniel Pink author of When explains in his PodCast The Pinkcast and article, “The 86 Best Days of the Year to get a fresh start,” if January 1st is not YOUR favorite day to start something new, even if tiny, there are 85 other “Best” days to do so each year. Pick the best for you to be PLAYFUL in 2021!

Find The Mirth

There was a time, long ago, when we knew all about Christmas. We were small; we held it right in our hearts.  We have to work at it to find Christmas now, but it’s worth looking for.

Essayist Murr Brewster

The holidays can be challenging for some. It may take slowing down, focus, and practice finding the joy. It might be in a present moment, an unexpected upcoming moment, or unearthed in past memories.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

Finding the mirth right now, during Covid, may help provide hope and optimism for the future and certainly a new memory for next year.

Credit: A Very Tuba Christmas. Jules Struck, Staff Writer/Artist and Murr Brewster Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitory

This year it may mean getting on your “goof” home alone, with immediate family, or your personal “quartanteam.”

Whatever it takes we wish you joy, play, lots of rest, reflection and hope during this holiday season. Ditch the chorus this year. Practice, perfect, and maybe record that vibe for next year’s holiday entertainment.

Credit: OKCityChorus

Playfulness in community for Community

“Play is not merely idle time; it’s an opportunity to experiment with new interests and to draw closer to other people.” 

Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal by Gretchen Rubin

When we play with others we learn about ourselves, have fun, and build trust.

The more we play together in smaller groups or small communities the more we learn from and about each other.  And, the more we  organically build trust and commitment to one another. 

As small communities grow through play, word spreads. Trust accumulates across boundaries among different types of people and they grow closer.  Bridges emerge to create more interaction and Community and Communities develop.  

In community, for Community.

Why does it matter? Through people and play in smaller communities, and across larger Communities, we may begin to bring back more joy, fun, and wellbeing to individuals and Society overall. 

In other words, play and playfulness can help create and provide safe spaces to build bridges with others who have opposing views.  These same individuals enrich our lives simply because they  think differently.

One woman who thought differently about community and inclusion was Frances Hesselbein, former CEO of the Girls Scouts.  She sought to “build one great movement, serving all girls of all races and backgrounds.”

We all share the responsibility for the whole community….And it is not just corporations, but all organizations, agencies, universities, and military units share the responsibility for the whole community.

Frances Hesselbein

Credit: Frances Hesselbein – JA Worldwide

Our larger Community has come unglued in 2020. More playfulness in smaller communities may just be the bridge required to help build back stronger Communities. And maybe just maybe it’s time to get over it.  Over that bridge.

A society made up of small ‘c’ communities and large ‘C’ Communities where like Frances suggested — we all acknowledge, accept and fulfill our shared “responsibility for the whole community” may just be the ticket. 

Building the future together

Creativity & Play Through the Eyes of Adults with Autism

Play should be a place that anyone can occupy and where all are welcome, without barriers, boundaries or limitations. It should be an endless place to be and to fundamentally enjoy being.

University of Sheffield

Several months ago we took a wonderful online course through FutureLearn on the Importance of Play In Everyday Life. One lesson covered disability and play.

Webster defines disability as “a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person’s ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions.”

We all know disabilities can range from simply trying to open a jar to the inability to regulate, comprehend, and interpret emotions.

Credit: Brian Watkins Gallery – The Butterfly

We also know that play is important for all adults…and especially adults with cognitive disabilities like autism. Play provides a method to redirect, calm the senses, and simply enjoy ‘being in the moment.’

In her article “Autism and Creativity” Barb Cohen shares the strong link between autism and creativity and how “we all possess stronger intelligences in some modalities, and each individual is unique.”

And, in his recent book, “The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Innovation” Simon Baron-Cohen makes a case that autism is as ”crucial to our creative process and cultural history as the mastery of fire.”

Credit: Brian Watkins Gallery – Kleidescope Wheel Note Card

Play in the form of creating art for those with autism can result in fantastic work beyond the limits of our own imagination.

Organizations that advocate for and employ those with disabilities and those which provide fun playful products we can enjoy, share, and support especially catch our attention.

One such businesses is Brian Watkins Gallery. Brian and his work demonstrate how creativity, play, and disability coalesce.

Hint hint…Brian’s cards and wrapping papers make for especially great gifts, and well you know, the holidays ARE just around the corner.

Credit: Brian Watkins Gallery – “Wonder Filled Holiday”

About a quarter of U.S. adults live with some sort of disability and about 10% live with cognitive challenges.

Support of play and creativity to help those with disabilities warms our hearts. It’s just plain important for well-being. We also understand how their play could be just as important for us as it is for them.

In her review of “The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Innovation,” Claudia Wallis shares that Simon Baron-Cohen wrote “When the hyper-systemizing qualities of autism are supported and nurtured, the unique skills and talents of autistic individuals can shine — to their benefit and to the benefit of society.”

As we turn to the holiday season and increase online shopping this year, we hope you will playfully surf, discover, and consider purchasing from small businesses that support those with disabilities like Brian Watkins Gallery.

Heck – it’s valuable for the creators, for those who purchase and receive the benefit of these gifts, and in its own way, positively changes the world.

Thanksgiving. Anticipate, Experience, Remember Play

Research in behavioral science suggests that the actual in-person experience is only one of three legs of the overall experience. The second is anticipation — things that happen before the experience. The many days that you spend planning a trip … and the pleasure it brings you creates the anticipation……. The third is remembrance — the joy that you get in sharing … or simply reliving your own experience.

The Toronto Star by Dilip Soman and Grace Minwen Lou

In the U.S. we typically celebrate Thanksgiving with family, friends, turkey, dressing, and cranberries… so the story goes. This year is different with social distancing. One for the record books, we hope. 

Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay 

With time off, turn your mind toward the future – in anticipation.  Think about, place hope in and dream of life post covid, post elections, post social distancing.

Remembrances of past experiences have proven to be playfully positive.  Sit back and reflect on Thanksgivings packed with fun and play – or at least a belly full of leftovers!

As you reflect, remember gratitude is an important piece of the pie for well-being and a playful attitude.  So, grab a bit of gratefulness as you sit down to celebrate Turkey day creating current experiences into a future of fond memories. 

Thanksgiving is about being Thankful – Anticipate, Experience, Remember and PLAY.

Pubs hold the treasures of community & play

It’s not like a saloon, it’s more like a club for men and women…who don’t drink for the sake of drinking but for the company.

Burgess Meredith

It takes time to build community. Flexibility and kindness allow people to comfortably enter and leave at will — kind of like how we are free to choose play or not to play. When people are free to choose, often it’s just a matter of time until they come around to play.

Pubs are historically an epicenter for play in community. British pubs in particular are charming for their history, traditions, and rules of engagement.

In a wonderfully antiquated US Military Training film “How to Behave in Britain” Burgess Meredith nails the do’s and don’ts of play in pubs. In this culturally sensitive and funny tutorial he drives to the root of play. “Until they finish doing what they’re doing they like to be left alone. Just give them time, they’ll come your way.”

For a more contemporary (feel good) look at ‘pubs and play’ check out “The Fisherman’s Friends” on Netflix. Or, listen below to the real fishermen live at Folk 2014.

Playfulness & Community

Our power as individuals is multiplied when we gather together as families, groups, and communities with common goals.

The I Ching

Play and the Practice of Playfulness are good for us as individuals and helpful in building Community. 

Community as we fondly refer to it  with a small ‘c’ is made up of smaller close knit groups with common interests, or as defined by Merriam-Webster , a unified body of individuals.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Small ‘c’ communities feelings of playfulness are experienced by groups of individuals unified in participation through play.  Here, laughter, smiles, pushing and pulling, self deprecation, and teasing  with good humor — alongside dancing, singing, and creating — are variations of playfulness.

In these smaller moments of community, opportunities organically emerge to begin the process of building bridges. And, facilitate improved interaction with each other and across different communities at large. This makes up what we fondly refer to as large “C” Community. The stronger playful bridges are built across larger Communities and enhance how we and others more comfortably fit into Society at large.

Social Mettle shares that “A sense of community is important to establish peace and harmony among the society.”

To get to that sense, that place – safe playful spaces are often a prerequisite. They create havens where those with opposing views ease into learning, trust, acceptance, and life enrichment. These spaces are needed simply because, well, we aren’t lemmings. We do think differently from one another yet social interaction is part and parcel of what makes us human. 

How do you join in ‘community’ small “c” through playfulness and why does it matter? It can ease the way to share with one another, learn from one another and enrich each other’s lives in an environment based in trust, openness and fun. Perhaps we may again begin to “create a unified body of individuals” through the experiment of playfulness to arrive at big “C” Community in a way to bring more joy, fun, comfort, and ease to Society overall.

For The Love Of Bill

The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything: the better you are with your loved ones, the better you are with your enemies, the better you are at your job, the better you are with yourself.

Bill Murray

Today we launch a semi-regular series honoring those who have mastered the art of practicing playfulness.

Honorees live, eat, and breath playfulness at a level few achieve.

What does it take to make the list? That depends on the person and their command of Creativity, Camaraderie, Community, Health, Well-Being, Spirit, Quality of Life, and Self-Expression.

The 1st ‘Master of Playfulness’ honoree embodies the essence of playfulness more than most. He fits the bill, not just any bill but for many the one and only “BILL.”

David Alm sums it up nicely in his interview with filmmaker Tommy Avallone on the making of the documentary “The Bill Murray Stories’.

Everything for Murray, say those who know him well, is a form of improv: When a situation arises, he meets it head-on and responds, “Yes, and… Those who don’t know Murray well, but have met or drank or sang karaoke with him, say they came away from it feeling not like they’d met a movie star, but like they’d been lifted up by the experience. He lives entirely in the moment, they say, and it’s never about him.

Tommy Avallone
Credit: YouTube: The Bill Murray Stories Trailor

Of course there’s the Art…

Iconic Paintings Reimagined With Bill Murray’s Face

Credit: My Modern Met & Eddie Torrigoe

And the DAO of Bill…

Credit: Youtube – MadHatter Picnics

Bill Murray. His humor, mastery of playful leadership, relaxed sensibility. It just doesn’t matter! Relax, stay present, enjoy the ride.

Fear, Playfulness & Courage

Choosing playfulness and courage over fear.

Joost Vrouenraets

Credit Bernard Louis De Koven

Of Fear and Playfulness by Bernard Louis De Koven

1 min read.

It is almost always impossible to be playful when you are afraid.


Joost Vrouenreats watch 13 min

Wait for it… and watch the entire 13 minutes.

It’s worth it. Truly.

How Do You Play The Game Of Life?

In every loss there is a lesson. In every loss there is an upside and an opportunity to respond in a more constructive way.

Sam Weinman
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

We never starkly fail at life itself. When we mess up in worldly areas and feel dejected and isolated, the universe is just giving us an exceptional chance to begin the training which means we will one day become star athletes in other less well-known but hugely important races – races around keeping a sense of humour, showing gratitude, forgiving, appreciating, letting go – and making do.

The School Of Life

Winners and Losers in the Race of Life. (Read: 3 Minutes)

The Art Of Manliness Podcast #646: How to Win at Losing (Listen: 49:54)

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