Conscious Play

by Shila Moa

Some years ago in connection with work I was doing with a counseling group in Seattle, I discovered a delightful, free-form play technique I call "Conscious Play". The term Conscious Play is a good one, because it describes the essence of the interaction when the technique is employed with children, and also when employed with adults during an energy healing session.

The time I first encountered this technique, I was not a parent. The seed of the idea remained with me through several years until my first son was born. One day, on my way to a nearby playground with my young son, then two years old, the idea resurfaced. I decided immediately to respond to the hint that my subconscious was giving me, and to make this Conscious Playtime with my little boy.

Here is how Conscious Play works with children: First, you must decide on a time when you can put your other activities aside and focus on your child. The age, preferences, and developmental stage of your child, of course, largely determine where and what the child might decide to do in your special playtime. Then, having arrived at the place of your child’s choice, you give the child, by word, attitude, and close attention, freedom to play in any way he or she chooses. You refrain entirely from giving any direction to the child, while maintaining very close and supportive attention. Of course, the child can request your participation as he or she wishes.

So, approaching the playground with my son, I did just that. I told him that I would be with him in whatever he wanted to do. I consciously held my own energy in such a way as to neither push nor pull him, and I gave him my closest attention. It was a warm spring day, and the playground was raucous with many children, most of them older than my son, and all playing with abandon. There were swings, riding horses, bars of various kinds, and a slide. My son stood at the edge of the playground and observed this scene for a full ten minutes. He observed it calmly, without apprehension. He knew he was in control, and would not be forced into or held back from any scary activity by me. Finally, he chose to approach the swing, a piece of playground equipment that he had experienced before. He directed me to lift him into the swing and push him with two hands. I did this. Then, gaining confidence, he directed me to push him higher. As I did so, he began to laugh. As his laughter was being expressed, I recognized that he had reached the optimum point of risk, that perfectly balanced energy point between distress and known safety. He was releasing fear, and in the process he was extending his courage to new heights, in a very real way healing himself.

He then announced that he wanted to play on the slide. Looking carefully at me for signs of motherly alarm, he stated his intention of going up the ladder by himself. This was something he had never yet dared to do on his own. Finding nothing but encouragement, he immediately climbed boldly up the ladder, checking with me from point to point with a glance my way as he went higher. Soon, he was repeatedly climbing the ladder to the slide without hesitation, or any further checking, and sliding down the chute into my arms, delighted and extremely pleased with himself. To say that this experience was delightful for me would be to only partially express the wonderful feeling of closeness withmy son and mutual accomplishment which I felt that day.

Thus I was shown, early in my experience as a parent, the power, versatility, and health-giving potential of this special kind of play. As I gained more experience with it I was able to integrate its techniques of attentiveness and non-judgment into my everyday life with each of my sons. I believe that because they received a lot of this kind of attention, they were helped to feel strong, bold, powerful, and successful as a result.  First, each of my sons, in his own way, became an achiever, but in a very healthy way- without compulsiveness, and with integrity regarding their own goals and dreams. Neither of them has had the need to rebel against their parents. Neither needed much in the way of disciplining techniques because each made decisions for himself about his own discipline. And, perhaps most important, each has developed the ability to listen, with all the senses, to other people. It makes me very, very happy to know that this ability, which I found so valuable in parenting, will one day be passed through my sons to others and perhaps to the next generation if they choose to have children.

One thing to keep in mind as you work with this technique is that we adults did not get much, if any, of this kind of special attention and support, so it does take some effort to stay clear of our own desires. I suggest that after this kind of play you seek another adult to listen to you about the thoughts and feelings that surfaced for you during the experience. You may be able through this sharing to discover places where you may be emotionally stuck in play activities and in other aspects of life.

The universal nature of this Conscious Play technique manifests itself very much in the energy healing work I undertake with clients. In doing my therapeutic work, I place my attention on the client in much the same way as I did with my child in the playground. The difference in this case is that I am placing my attention on and following the energy of the person who has come for healing. As a result of training I have received at Barbara Brennan School of Healing, I am able to place my attention on my visual mind screen for viewing the client’s energy field distortions. I am then able to use my hands to dance playfully along the client’s energy field, coaxing it into a smoother, healthier flow pattern.  It looks like I am in acting  a shadow puppet show, which is equally playful and fun.

I also pay attention to my other senses as I focus on the client. Sometimes I smell or taste things. Have you ever seen a child spit out something that was bitter? Occasionally I find myself reacting to something in the client’s body in a dramatic way such as this. Once, while working with a client, I remember hearing a crackling sound, like Rice Crispies, coming from the skin of the leg. In energetically penetrating the skin and moving to the middle of the leg, I found the temperature to be so hot that I exclaimed, "Ouch!" right out loud.

Because I have spent so many years studying the manifestations of human emotions, I am easily attuned to my client’s emotional energy body. I designed a technique in which I am able to connect to a prominent emotion or old belief,  describe it verbally,  and lift it from the energy field of the client. Watching me do this work is like watching a mime move their finger as if they were spinning webs, or knitting

I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to use Conscious Play with people in their healings. Conscious Play is a great tool to facilitate the unfolding expression of who we are as spiritual beings in the evolution of the universe. My experience is that the more conscious we are in this unfolding, the more fun and joy we will experience in our life.