September 9, 2019

Playing for the “L” of It!

Learn, Laugh, Love, and Live

By Angel Naivalu, MSW, Soul Mentor


Several years ago, I attended a women’s retreat sponsored by local “play enthusiasts,” Kami Mitchell and Shelby Smith. They invited participants, grown women between the ages of eighteen and sixty, to participate in activities that most had not experienced since childhood. “This is so silly!” I thought at the time. “I came here to learn how to better my mental and emotional health, not to waste my time playing!” I quickly discovered that I had the dis-ease: over-adulting.


With the help of these mentors, I rediscovered the innate power of play. I had to relearn what came naturally to me as a child but had been abandoned, or perhaps socialized out of me, by growing up.


Intentionally reintegrating play as part of my regular routine has reignited my creative passions, entrepreneurial drive, ability to connect to my children, sense of joy, and spirit of adventure in daily life.  For me, “playing” has looked like dancing whenever and wherever I hear music, swinging on swings, singing while grocery shopping, splashing my feet in a fountain, crashing a teen dance party in full costume, starting a game of tag with total strangers in a public place, and more!


I have come to know that the value of play for adults is as great as it is for children!  Play is therapeutic. Incorporating play into daily life helps to dissipate feelings of fear, stress, and shame. It’s a means to learn, laugh, love, and live more fully! Do try this at home!


“Play is not just an option, but for aliveness, it’s a requirement!”

Shelby Smith, Play Enthusiast and Mentor

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