"This is the real secret of life - to
engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.
And instead of calling it work, realize it is play."
- Alan Watts, Work as Play
"A girl is Innocence playing in the
Beauty standing on its head,
and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot."
- Alan Beck
"To get a
great idea, come up with
lots of them."
- Thomas Edison
"In rare moments of deep play, we can lay
aside our sense of self, shed time's continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in
the absolute present, watching the world's ordinary miracles. No mind or heart
hobbles. No analyzing or explaining. No questing for logic. No promises. No
goals. No relationships. No worry. One is completely open to whatever drama may
- Diane Ackerman in Deep Play
Deep Play By Diane Ackerman. New York, Random House, 1999. Index, 235 pages. ISBN: 0679448799. VSCL.
is a being that has leapt beyond the "bestial bounds of the mating season" and
seeks pleasure not just at fixed intervals but perpetually. Since, however,
there are fewer sources of pleasure than his perpetual desire for pleasure
demands, nature has forced man on the "path of pleasure contrivance." Man,
the creature of consciousness whose horizons extend to the past and the future,
rarely attains complete fulfillment within the present, and for this reason
experiences something most likely unknown to any animal, namely boredom.
This strange creature seeks a stimulus to release him from boredom. If no
such stimulus is readily available, it simply needs to be created. Man
becomes the animal that plays. Play is an invention that engages the
emotions; it is the art of stimulating the emotions. Music is a prime
example. Thus, the anthropological and physiological formula for the
secret of art: "The flight from boredom is the mother of all art." "
- Rudiger Safranski, Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, p. 23
"Creative people are curious, flexible,
persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of
- Nita Leland
"It is only in playing that the
individual is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being
creative that the individual discovers the self."
- Donald Winnicott
"There is no correlation between
equipment ownership. None. Zilch.
- Hugh MacLeod
"If you want
creative workers, give them
enough time to play."
- John Cleese
"If you aren't playing well, the game isn't as much fun.
When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a
- Thomas J. Watson, Sr.
"When we come together to
play and be we are truly ourselves. When we are truly ourselves it is
wonderful and when we act collectively in that wonder we do transformative work
for our community and our world.”
- Brad Colby
"Earth is here so kind, that just
tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest."
- Douglas Jerrold (1803-1857), A Land of Plenty
“Play is the exultation of
- Martin Buber
"Be aware of wonder. Live a
balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some."
- Robert Fulghum, All I Need to Know
essential part of creativity is not
being afraid to fail."
- Edwin H. Land
"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play."
- Arnold Toynbee
but it has to find you working."
- Pablo Picasso
"If life doesn't offer a game worth
playing, then invent a new one."
- Anthony J. DeAngelo
"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is
certainly the father."
- Roger van Oech
"Play is the taproot from which
original art springs. It is the raw stuff that the artist channels with all his learning and technique."
- Stephen Nachmanovich
"We may play with and pass on a garden,
possessing one is an illusion.
Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn.
Some gardeners don't grow old and stop playing; they stop playing and grow old.
Nature's playfulness is a gardener's delight.
A garden is a sporting field, an area for play."
- Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions
"In Hindu philosophy the whole
creation is regarded as the Vishnu Lila,
the play of Vishnu. Lila means dance or play. Also in Hindu
they call the world illusion; and in Latin the root of the word
illusion is ludere, to play.
- Alan Watts, Work as Play
"To play is to listen to the imperative
inner force that wants to take form and be acted out without reason. It is the
joyful, spontaneous expression of one's self. The inner force materializes the
feeling and perception without planning or effort. That is what play is."
- Michelle Cassou and Stewart Cubley in Life, Paint and Passion
“Acting is nothing more or
less than playing. The idea is to humanize life.”
- George Eliot
"Enthusiasm is excitement with
motivation, and a pinch of
- Bo Bennett
out a corner of your mind and
creativity will instantly fill it."
- Dee Hock
"Life consists not in holding good
cards but in playing those you hold well."
- Josh Billings
"When I grow up I want to be a little
- Joseph Heller
"The more I want to get something done, the less I call it
- Richard Bach
"Play is a uniquely adaptive
act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act, but with a special function of
its own in human experience.”
- Johan Huizinga
"Be glad of life because it gives you
the chance to love
and to work and to play and to look at the stars."
- Henry Jackson Vandyke, Jr.
"Play is the taproot from which original
art springs. It is the raw stuff that the artist channels with all his
learning and technique."
- Stephen Nachmanovich
"Creativity is thinking up new things.
Innovation is doing new things."
- Theodore Levitt
"All the genuine, deep delight of life is
in showing people the mud-pies you have made; and life is at its best when we
confidingly recommend our mud-pies to each other's sympathetic consideration."
- A. M. Thornburn
"Humor is the affectionate communication of insight."
"At books, or work, or healthy play,
Let all my years be passed;
That I may give for every day
A good account at last."
- Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Divine Songs for Children
"Perspiration is the best form of
differentiation, especially in the
- Scott Belsky
"Don't stint on foreplay -- or
afterplay. Be inventive!"
- Dr. Ruth Westheimer
"The comic spirit masquerades in all
things we say and do. We are each a clown and do not need to put on a white
- James Hillman
"All the genuine, deep delight of life
is in showing people the mud-pies you have made; and life is at its best when we confidingly recommend our mud-pies to each other's sympathetic consideration."
- A. M. Thornburn
“Imagination is the beginning
of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last
you create what you will.”
- George Bernard Shaw
"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than
in a year of conversation."
"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
"It is paradoxical that many
educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time
for play without seeing the vital connection between them.”
- Leo Buscaglia
"A great man is he who has not lost
the heart of a child."
"Laughter is a holy thing. It is as
sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe more sacred. Laughter is
like a prayer, like a bridge over which creatures tiptoe to meet each other.
Laughter is like mercy; it heals. When you can laugh at yourself, you are
- Ted Loder
"True intelligence operates silently. Stillness
is where creativity and solutions to problems
- Eckhart Tolle
"The true object of all human life is play.
Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground."
- G. K. Chesterton
"It is a happy talent to know how to
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
"Play exists for its own sake. Play
is for the moment; it is not hurried, even when the pace is fast and timing
seems important. When we play, we also celebrate holy uselessness. Like
the calf frolicking in the meadow, we need no pretense or excuses. Work is
productive; play, in its disinterestedness and self-forgetting, can be
- Margaret Guenther in Toward Holy Ground
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
- Benjamin Franklin
"The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."
- Mike Konda
been man's most useful preoccupation.”
- Frank Caplan
play, this is because play is useful in the struggle for survival; because play
practices and so perfects the skills needed in adult life”
- Susanna Miller
"The cat has nine lives: three for playing, three for straying, three for staying."
"When we play, we sense
no limitations. In fact, when we are playing, we are usually unaware of
ourselves. Self-observation goes out the window. We forget all those
past lessons of life, forget our potential foolishness, forget ourselves.
We immerse ourselves in the act of play. And we become free."
- Lenore Terr in Beyond Love and Work
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make
mistakes. Art is knowing which
ones to keep."
- Scott Adams
"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both."
- James A. Michener
"Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause for weariness... and so frivolous is he that, though full of a thousand reasons for weariness, the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is sufficient enough to amuse him."
Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
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Complied by Mike Garofalo
"When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing - just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?"
- Ralph Marston
"It is interesting that Hindus, when they
speak of the creation of the universe, do not call it the work of God, they call
it the play of God, the Vishnu-lila, lila meaning "play."
And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a
sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our
- Alan Watts in Zen and the Beat Way
built into creativity… the creative
act involves this element of ‘newness’ and ‘experimentalism,’ then one must
expect and accept the possibility of failure."
- Saul Bass
Life choices involve playing games: sometimes you throw the dice, sometimes you play chess.
It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
He that will cheat at play, will cheat you any way.
If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.
Play is the beginning of knowledge.
"Be patient also with
life itself. those who love life are tolerant of its ups and downs, its
reversals and leaps forward. Those who love life enjoy playing it by
ear, engaging life without a printed score, simply flowing with its melody.
By keeping our agendas flexible and minimizing our demands, life can be a
melodic song. Whenever circumstances interrupt the normal rhythm of life,
those who cultivate patience and inner freedom are able to improvise with a life
situation like jazz musicians, making up music as they go along. The
emphasis in playing it by ear is on playfulness. Those who use that
gift of the Holy Spirit make their way gracefully through life."
- Edward Hays in The Great Escape Manual
going to play the game properly, you'd better know every rule.”
- Barbara Jordan
"Men reach their sexual peak at eighteen. Women reach theirs at thirty-five. Do you get the feeling that God is playing a practical joke?"
"If there were a prerequisite for the
future successful digital creative, it
would be the passion for discovery."
- John Maeda
"We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing."
- Charles Schaefer
"A genuine sense of humor is having a
light touch: not beating reality into the ground but appreciating reality with a
light touch. The basis of Shambhala vision is rediscovering that perfect
and real sense of humor, that light touch of appreciation."
- Chopgyam Trungpa in The Essential Chogyam Trungpa edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian
“Life's like a play; it's
not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters”
Play: It is an an activity which
proceeds within certain limits of time and space, in a visible order, according
to rules freely accepted, and outside the sphere of necessity or material
utility. The play-mood is one of rapture and enthusiasm, and is sacred or
festive in accordance with the occasion. A feeling of exaltation and
tension accompanies the action."
- Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens
Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture By Johan Huizinga. Beacon Press, 1971. 240 pages. ISBN: 978-0807046814. VSCL.
Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul By Stuart Brown, M.D.. Avery Trade, 2010. 240 pages. ISBN: 978-1583333785.
breaking out of established patterns
in order to look at things in a different way."
- Edward de Bono
"Work consists of whatever a body is obliged
to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."
- Mark Twain
"Be glad of life because it gives you the
chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."
- Henry Van Dyke
“Play keeps us vital
and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable.
Without it, life just doesn’t taste good”
- Lucia Capocchione
"There is work that is work and there is
play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only
one of these lies happiness."
- Gelett Burges
"It is better to play than do nothing."
"Ideas are the
seeds, not the
substance, of creativity."
- Michael Schrage
the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”
- Joseph C. Pearce
"I was like
a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a
smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of
truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
- Isaac Newton
The Good Life Website
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
Last modified or updated on February 21, 2016.
First posted online in September of 2013.
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California
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