An Act Of Inward Romance


Recently a friend asked me the question “So Kitty, what do you do for play?

If you ever want to stress a fully grown adult out entirely, ask them that question.

I lead a very pleasure based life, but actual, active playing? Like, the kind I did when I was a kid? I know I’m not alone in feeling like I’m a bit rusty on that front.

This awareness came startlingly to light recently as a result of an experiment I’ve been doing for the past two months.

Every night, not long after the sun sets, I turn off all my electronics and literally unplug. No checking, no cheating until the next morning.

It’s a detox, and just like any other kind of detox there are times where I feel sheer, almost hallucinogenic bliss. Other times, it feels like a baboon with rabies has just been unleashed inside my mind.

During a recent, highly baboon-ish kind of evening with 4-5 hours of unoccupied time stretched out wide before me, I looked over at my dog Winnie and said, “What the hell do we do now???”

I remembered my friend’s question about play.  I decided, ruefully, to surrender and become one of those people who colors in coloring books at night for fun. (Cringes lovingly)

I turned on Diana Krall and lit every candle in my living room. I carefully chose a color scheme from my collection of colored pencils and I made a go of it. 

It was surprisingly calming, very soothing, and quite sweet.  

After I finished coloring the page I flipped it over and wrote a good old fashioned letter to my best friend in California.  We hadn’t connected in awhile, so I wrote about what’s new in my life, what books are on my nightstand, the fact that I had just spontaneously retold Winnie her adoption story, and when I did she rolled onto back like a baby sea otter and wagged her tail. 

All of these precious details would most likely have gotten lost in a phone call or a Facetime, but in the space of spontaneous play, they tumbled out like fat rolls of pink velvet ribbon.

I decorated the envelope with heart shaped stickers that exclaimed “Bonjour!” and “Je T’aime!”, with a Miles Davis postage stamp trumpeting across the top right corner.  

It was all so utterly romantic.

It was an act of inward romance.

Romance can bring so much to our lives, but when solely dependent on another person for it’s delivery, it is almost always set up for disappointment. 

Inward romance is an act of cozying up to the present moment, and giving it a warm, sweet embrace through the senses. (tweet this!)

What I’d really like to know from you in the comments is: (brace yourself) What does play feel like for you, and what’s your favorite way to do it?

Meet me in the Chucky Cheese Ball Pit,










  1. I play a lot! I wrestle with my dog. I make all kinds of art. I do silly dances and make up silly songs. I talk to plants, bugs and animals.
    Play enriches my life substantially. 🙂

  2. Such a great post! What does play feel like for me? I feel giddy, delighted by my self and my own pleasure in myself in the moment. My favorite way to play is to have no agenda & be in the moment — lounging in hammocks on a store display with my son, exploring a new path that looks intriguing, listening to that little inner voice that says what it desires — hot cocoa with pink marshmallows? paint the walls sky blue? — and doing within judging.

  3. I was recently in the hospital for two months and had loooong hours free to do whatever I wanted. Those coloring books helped me not to loose my mind, as well as reading. For play I love to play with silly putty, do origami and yes, continue with those coloring books. Ohhh I also play video games and have a tamagotchi, cause I’m five, jejeje.

    • Five is a wonderful age! A coloring book got me through a very challenging medical procedure too. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Ahhh…play 🙂

    Play for me is pulling out a piece of fabric from my stash, or some yarn. No agenda, no goal, other than to see where my imagination takes me.

    I can get lost for hours if I’m not careful!

  5. Play for me is going to Live Action Role Play events. It’s basically like dressing up and playing pretend for grown-ups. I love getting into costume and character, and running around a scout camp (or wherever) with my friends for a few hours, or a whole weekend, fighting monsters, solving mysteries, and telling interesting stories together.

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