Boost Your Self Autonomy Through Play

RE: Autonomy Skills

I believe we all have wonderfully uniqueness and when we allow ourselves to BE ourselves completely, we bring something so special and valuable to the world.

Self-Autonomy is key. We’ve got to engage with the world from our deepest and truest self.

Oh, but how few of us really do.

It is in childhood that we are most free to simply be ourselves. As we grow and interact with people and environments and learn the roles are set up to play, we take on programing. We learn rules and beliefs. We all become some blend of natural and trained self.

Childhood abuse crushed my autonomy. The self-protective strategies I created to survive were based on simultaneously hiding myself deep in side and while seeming to show up in ways I felt safe. I spent most of my life engaging with the world from behind a carefully constructed personality that wasn’t true to the real me.

Self-Autonomy means I know who I am and what I want and can act on it. (Creating what I want!)

When there is a lack of self-autonomy, I may know who I am and I want but not be able to act it. (Yet? Never?)

In a worser case scenario, I may not even know who I am or what I want. I think that described me for a long time.

It’s not like I walked around thinking ‘I don’t know who I am!’ My beautiful brain, my amazing thinking, eating, counting Ego – it constructed a whole personality and value system to protect me and allow me to create a life. I’m not mad about that, you know?  A life built around Ego is better than no life at all.

It wasn’t until I came face to face with an invitation to live in Essence that I could see how far short Ego fell when it came to life design.

Children live from Essence every moment until they’re gifted Ego – and while some Ego is freaking important, (The stove is hot, the knife is sharp, waiting in line is important, etc.) a lot of Ego is protecting us in ways that limit our life.

Ok, ok – I can get really high on talking about Ego/Essence LOL!

I want to get to the point of this post: PLAY

As a Nana, I watch my grandkids play and see how much they are discovering about themselves. I see how they are naturally drawn to some activities over others. I see how one is highly engrossed in detail while the other is all about seeing what happens when details are thrown out the window. There’s beauty in seeing these sweet young humans lean into their natural creativity and joy.

I’m very aware that my childhood didn’t allow for much creativity and joy. Essence surely tried but the dangerous space I lived in meant Ego had to step in fast.

Since I didn’t get to play and experiment much as a child, I think it’s valuable for me to play NOW – and I have given myself more and more permission to do so.

My friend Elaine Allen of Start In Art taught me about watercolor a few years ago. I came home from an experience with her with a love for playing with watercolors. I bought paper, paint and brushes and filled hundreds of pages with color and shapes. I had no interest then (and still don’t) in painting a bird or a landscape – I only wanted to PLAY with the color.  I don’t think a day passed for over a year that I didn’t have a fresh cup of water and paint flowing onto some paper.

I believe this play time was wonderfully healing for my play/creativity starved young inner Kelly.

My grandkids definitely benefit from my love for paint play, We have face paint, watercolors, tempura paint, paint sticks – you name it. There’s color and paper to soak it up at the ready any and every time they feel the urge – and I am thrilled to join in!

If you’re at all like me and know you didn’t get to play much as a child – how would you like to play now?

Self-Autonomy & Play

The most important tip I can give you right now about exploring play is to only do what you WANT to do.

Don’t paint because I said paint felt like play – paint if it feels like play to you.

What feels like play?

  • Do you want to build with legos?
  • Do you want to go make a sand castle?
  • Do you want to play a board game or get into a wicked card game?

Play comes in all shapes and sizes and ALL play is valuable.  Check out these quotes about play, they’re soo good!

A Surprising Way Play Has Changed My Life

I’ve only mildly enjoyed video games from the earliest days. From the first Pong handheld as a kid to the first Nintendo console as a young adult, I would play a game for a bit, reach my level of incompetence and give up on it. I figured I’d always be just a casual gamer and that was fine – because who needs to get addicted to that stuff LOL!

Everything changed in 2020 with the Covid shut down. Along with millions of others, I turned to video games as a way to relax and occupy myself.  My son introduced me to, a video streaming platform that serves Gamers, Musicians and Creators of all kinds.  He showed me how I could watch other people play the game I enjoyed and for the first time I discovered the joy of co-operative game play.

Don’t Starve Together is the game I most enjoy.  It’s a survival game where you choose a character to play and see how long you can stay alive in the virtual world. You have to gather and hunt for food and resources, building tools, weapons, and armor along the way. There are mobs and bosses to fight and cool loot to gather that make the game easier or harder to play – depending on how you feel about it 😉

DST is a fascinating experience with others. Every player chooses a character and the combinations created are endlessly interesting to me. I could geek out about this for awhile so I’ll hold back on details – but know this: There are HUGE mindset lessons I’ve learned about myself as I consider my choices and respond to others. (Just like real life!)

You choose how to play DST just like we choose how to live life. I can make it all about the battles or I can opt for a laid back creative experience. Best part, I can alternate between the two and every combination in between. It’s MY choice. The game gives me Self-Autonomy!

Everyone has their opinion about the ‘right way to play’ just like people have their ideas on the ‘right way to live’. Game play has shown me how ridiculous RULES are.  Rules only have power if you decide to accept them and you don’t HAVE TO accept most of them.

When I worry about what other people think and play the game to please others – I stop having fun!

When I listen to my own playful urges, I have a freakin’ blast 🔥

This is an echo of life!

When I worry about what other people think and act to please others – I am not creating the life I want or having the impact I’m meant to.

When I listen to my own heart and practice true self-autonomy, I am creating and having the contribution only I can.

Can Play Pay?

In April of 2020 I started to stream my own game play and host worlds for other players to join. (See my Twitch Channel here.)

Within a month I became a Twitch Affiliate and started to earn a little money from streaming. In early 2022 I became an Official Klei Ambassador. (The company that creates the game.) Exactly three years after I started streaming, I had my first $1000 month as a streamer. Not bad to earn 1k while having fun, right?

I’ve made friends all over the world and this has created the most incredible sense of connection and belonging. I love to LOVE on my community there.

What would your inner child like to do today that simply feels fun?

Play is personal. What would you like to play with today?

Embrace fun. Let your inner child come out and run the show for awhile.

See if that little you doesn’t have something to show you about what you really want more of in your life.

Hell, if all you really want is to go for a ride and get an ice cream cone – do it dammit!


Autonomy Skills

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  1. I loved this post, Kelly. Playing and having fun is something I love to do but I often don't allow myself to do it – I've been told "You're too old (insert whatever it is here – color, blow bubbles, etc. which are things that are fun to me)" and I've let that get stuck in my head and put a damper on playing!

    Having said that, it's not just the too old comments that have held me back. It's me. When I do allow myself to have fun, I worry what people that see me will think. For example, I sat on the swings at a park a couple of weeks ago & a group of people were approaching so instead of enjoying the swing like I wanted, I hopped off.

    I'm just blabbering on now when I simply wanted to say I loved the post & to answer the question: What would your inner child like to do today that simply feels fun? It's getting late in the evening and I'm settled in for tonight but tomorrow it will be raining again and what I want to do is play in a puddle! 🙂

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