The other day I loaded and listened to some old pod casts of Pete Egoscue's radio show, Pain Free Radio.
For eight years (2001-2009), Pete hosted a live syndicated Q & A talk show program where callers could dial in and get free advice on how to achieve a pain free life and living using Posture Alignment Therapy.
One of my favorite themes and conversations were the ones where Pete asks callers a familiar question.
"What are you doing for fun today?"
Now keep in mind that the majority of callers were dialing in to ask the best selling author and "pain relief guy" for his expert advice on how to get out of pain without medication, manipulation or surgery.
If you've ever been caught in the chronic pain cycle then you know how absurd the question might sound. It was always amusing to hear people's reactions to the question, or should I say, the pregnant pause of stunned silence.
What? Fun? You've got to be kidding. I'm in pain Pete, how can I possibly go out and have fun? Don't you know (insert)
- How OLD I am?
- How much PAIN I'm in?
- I can't do A-B-C (insert activity)
- Long it's been since I thought about doing something for fun?
- I CAN'T
It never failed. Those reactions pretty much always cracked me up! Pete would start a conversation off by challenge a person's beliefs about their body, and it's ability to heal and recover from chronic pain. Wowza! Sometime's those interactions were very awkward, but ultimately, always productive.
Pete would let the person briefly share why they couldn't do "fun" anymore, and often abruptly stop them before the pity party kicked into full gear.
He'd challenge with rebuttles like:
- Why not?
- Why aren't you moving?
- What beliefs do hold about your body's ability to heal that are keeping you bound in your situation?
- What are you doing right now that isn't working?
- What do you need to change in your life in order to make a positive impact and turn things around?"
In part one of an awesome article series by Psychology Today called The Value of Play I: The Definition of Play Provides Clues to its Purpose, play at its core is defined as:
what one wants to do as opposed to what one is obliged to do.
The joy of play is the ecstatic feeling of liberty. Play is not always accompanied by smiles and laughter, nor are smiles and laughter always signs of play; but play is always accompanied by a feeling of “Yes, this is what I want to do right now.” Players are free agents, not pawns in someone else’s game.
They then go on to list five characteristics of play (source Psychology Today).
5 Characteristics of Play
- Play is self-chosen and self-directed
- Play is activity in which means are more valued than ends
- Play has structure, or rules, which are not dictated by physical necessity but emanate from the minds of the players
- Play is imaginative, non-literal, mentally removed in some way from “real” or “serious” life; and
- Play involves an active, alert, but non-stressed frame of mind.
Pete Egoscue truly understands the value of fun, and play by definition sure sounds like fun to me. Perhaps the best commentary on play can be found from on my good friend Cathy Johnston's blog (The Awakening of Her Body Mind and Soul)
Cathy equates play with FREEDOM. She writes:
is not just for kids! I was was reading an article the other day about play and how we forget as we get older that we can exercise because it is fun. Not because we want to loose weight, build muscle or look good in a bikini. A huge number of adults don't exercise because they haven't found a form of movement that they enjoy doing.
When I was at CrossFit Winnipeg the other day I was sooo excited when I saw on the board rope climbs. I hadn't roped climbed in months. With nervous anticipation I swung my right foot around the rope a couple of times, jumped up and grabbed the rope as high above my head as I could. I immediately brought my knees up and my left foot stepped onto the rope that dangled over my right. Again I reached up with my hands and pulled. Before I knew it I scampered up to the 15 ft mark and slowly hand over hand retreated to the ground. EXILLERATING!!! Damn that was so FUN!!! Before the class was over I had scampered up all 3 sizes of rope right to the top of the beam!!! Its the challenge of doing an activity that is fun = PLAY.
Maybe thats why I love getting on my road bike and just heading out on a sunny day, down an endless highway. It reminds me of being a kid jumping on my bike and just riding, no destination, no time line. Just riding for fun = PLAY
When I see ads for a Mud Run, an obstacle course through a bush, or an Adventure Race of mountain biking and canoeing, a High Ropes course(which I've been on and is play to the nth degree!), or other activities that sound challenging and fun, the first thing I think of = PLAY.
When I go to the beach I love to bring a disk or football or some sort of equipment to throw around in the water. Swim and dive and float and plash = PLAY
When my daughter was younger, we would kick a soccer ball around, play badminton, tag, rollerblade, walk, play on the monkey bars at a school ground. So many activities that just keeps our body moving, keeps us feeling good. So whatever age or ability, find something you enjoy, something that is fun something you do just to =PLAY!
At its simplest, Certified Posture Alignment Specialists understand, teach and implement The 8 Laws of Physical Health as they relate to "blue-print" design of the human body.
We posture folks are all about helping people restore joint function and mobility through the power of properly applied corrective exercise so they can go enjoy a pain free life and living once again. The prime benefit of a regular postural therapy practice is to enable a person to live life with freedom. And freedom means having FUN!
As pain is eliminated and mobility is restored, we, like Pete Egoscue, encourage our clients to go and play!
That's right, once you're pain free, we encourage our clients to PLAY. Do what you love to do for just for the freedom and fun of it. Personally, I love to do Zumba and CrossFit among other things for fun, but that's me. Perhaps the bigger question is:
What do you do for fun?
We'd love to hear what you do for fun, and more importantly, what fun means to you!