Today my thoughts are on what isn’t play. Or maybe more precisely, what exactly are we doing when we’re not playing? There is a work/play dichotomy in this culture, but that one doesn’t really cut it for me. When you’re truly playing you are often working hard. When I was young…pre-5 years old…one of my favorite things was to build towers with wooden blocks. (Remember the colored wooden blocks in the flour sack bags? I so wish I still had the one I used to play with!) I can still go back to that memory/space and feel it again. I was completely immersed in the activity, I was focused and driven to follow through. I had, in the words of a friend, a “joyful focus”. And I would definitely say I was “working hard” at those towers! So I come back to the question, what are we doing when we’re not playing? Boredom or apathy come to mind: non-engagement with your doing or not-doing. And different forms of what I’d call addictive behavior are not play: an impulse or need that is externally motivated or ego-driven, because the quality of openness isn’t present, it’s very self-conscious and rigid, with a certainty that blocks possibility. What do you think? What are you doing when you’re not playing?