Making Your Work Feel Like Play
Alan Watts once said, "This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged in what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play."
I return to this quote often lately & absorb its essence when I'm struggling through the marketing plan for my book. I research Watts' musings when I'm frustrated with the present moment's tasks because he makes that slight shift of viewing work as play seem so simple.
I'm drawn to him because he embodies what I love to write about, but he approaches it in a more spiritual & relaxed way. Another quote that I love from Watts is:
"The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain & so obvious & so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves."
This quote grounds me when I get caught up in "needing" to be further ahead than where I am. Last night I watched videos on the best practices for self-publishing & went to bed feeling tense & restless.
I sat in bed & observed the different versions of myself rising to the surface.
There was the doubter who shouted, you're never going to get this done!
The worrier who panicked, there's not enough time to do all of this!
The ridiculer who criticized, you're so ignorant for thinking you handle everything on your own.
The fearful who whispered, what if everyone realizes that you don't know what you're doing?
And the disbeliever who looked me in the eyes and said, you're crazy for believing in yourself.
I finally closed my laptop, turned off the lights, & tried to sleep. I began my day listening to Watts' lectures & reminding myself that even though this work is incredibly overwhelming, I have the power to make it feel like play instead of stress.
I've been waiting years to do this work and now that I'm finally in it, I don't want to waste this precious time doubting myself. I think of all the years I procrastinated getting to this point or not being ready to commit to it. Now that I'm in the thick of the publishing process, I'm proud of myself for tacking this on my own.
I can continue to research self-publishing and feel like I'm out of my league or I can view this as an opportunity to learn more about my craft. This will also help me become an expert for when I publish my second book.
If I don't learn it now, when will I? If I don't teach myself everything there is to know, who's going to do that for me? If I don't enjoy it now, will I ever?
Yes, it's not easy or necessarily fun work, but it's part of the process, nonetheless. Just like we are always growing, learning, and evolving, we have to embrace every step of our progression and not just the end result. There is never a final destination, we are forever swimming through the depths of our own evolution.
There are always more layers to unravel and pursue. There are always more opportunities to learn, experience, and create. And that's a beautiful thing because that means there's more play to engage with as we continue moving through space and time.
So, a few questions to consider as you enter a new week:
In what areas of your life do you not see the potential for play, laughter, and enjoyment?
Where are you dreading your work instead of viewing it as an opportunity for presence and purpose?
How can you shift your experience from dread and boredom to curiosity and passion?