Work, Play, and Your Purpose

This week I refurbished a mail sorter purchased for $15 into a fantastic art supply cabinet. 

While I needed the storage space, the refurbishing was done frantically and passionately for another reason: love.  The store where I purchased the piece was having a contest for the best refurbished piece.  The prize was a plaque with a piece of the Indiana University Assembly Hall basketball court (from the golden days of Bobby Knight) - one of less than 100 in existence - and one which my hubby had seen and wanted.

You can check out the full, dramatic story over on my Facebook page.  

Long story short, I was gifted the plaque and got to enjoy giving it to him for Father's Day.



So why do I share this with you beyond the awesomeness of the story?

Because I found something that made me work passionately, creatively, and mindfully.  I found something that got me out of bed with no regrets and created a sense of discipline driven by joy.  

Because I discovered that 

Work  is Play....with a purpose.



Play (v)

  • engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose
  • engage in (a game or activity) for enjoyment
  • amuse oneself by engaging in imaginative pretence
  • engage in without proper seriousness or understanding

Work (n)

  • Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to acheive a purpose or result.



Think about it.  Work involves effort.  This is the dedication and discipline and 10-hr work days that so many like encourage.  

Whether you enjoy your work or struggle with those efforts depends on your purpose and the amount of play involved.

Play is that crucial component that brings beginner's mind to every aspect of work.  It allows us to acknowledge that we don't know but we're here to find out!  It requires us to be involved with enjoyment and/or curiosity and wonder.  It invites imagination alongside the logical efforts.  

The purpose is our big picture.  When we limit the purpose to numbers (money, followers, etc.), the big picture looks pretty bleak.  There isn't room for play - for creative exploration - when we are so confined by this solitary purpose.


In the case of the cabinet, it was 48 hours of mental and physical effort - from sanding 36 shelves, spray painting until my fingers ached, and mental chatter about how to design the cabinet that wouldn't stop.  

But I was engaged creatively, mindfully present for the process, and working ultimately for the goal of making someone else happy. 


I cannot tell you how excited I am to continue to explore this idea.  Imagine - getting up every day to work and knowing it will be a creative, playful journey for a purpose that makes your spirit sing.


Thoughts?  Think you can integrate this into your own life?  Why or why not?

Please share!