Play it forward: Generosity as High Play

Riddle #1 What four letter word causes adults to stand in long lines, can make a grumpy person dance, and starts revolutions.

Answer: Free


Riddle # 2 What two mysteries require absolutely nothing to reward us?

Answer: God and Play.


Something free is like getting grace, joy, and luck all rolled into one. Play by definition is purposeless, free, free from contracts, and born of the big glorious, mysterious Now. True love is like that too.


This may be why I love to give stuff and why India keeps calling me to come play. Though expensive, it loves to happen.” Gifting is high play and the closest thing I know to playing God. To see light go on in a person’s eyes in InterPlay’s wild whole-spirited generosity, how fun is that?


“For meeeeeee?” cries the recipient.


“Yes! For you!”


Lucky me. Lucky them as we arabesque into the illimitable terrain of The Gift. I offer a mere object, story, song, dance, touch, or moment of witnessing your beautiful, strange life, yet, the social energy in the exchange is palpable. There is nothing virtual here. Gifting taps a power that is direct, active, creative, alive, and addictive.


That’s why I can’t stop giving. I am deeply gifted by Life and the Divine. One night when I was unusually moved by Great Love my response was immediate. “Just let me serve!” Wheeee. This is how I became a philanthropist of the highest order. I give my life. Among capitalists this makes me a fool. In spiritual circles I could die a crazy saint. Anywhere on the planet, I’m definitely a free spirit and social entrepreneur.


Blame the Holy. I like to “play it forward,” to keep the gift moving, keep fun alive and watch generosity weave her enduring social net. I’ve grown wealthy with companions and resourcefulness. Note, however, that those most likely to open their hearts to freedom and play are not affluent. For example, one day I took a bag of chocolate “kisses” out to the street to offer a free “kiss” to each person I passed. The “better off” a person appeared to be the more suspiciously they reacted to my gift. Homeless guys, a mother pushing a stroller, and the delivery guy opened their hand and smiled. They made my street safer just by playing with me.


In India, I am changed by people’s willingness to play with me. I have been met with unparalleled willingness to dance, sing, tell a story, and engage the heart. InterPlaying in a school, slum, at a hospital, in a village or on retreat I aks is love and play enough? Is peace and joy enough? The secret inside of me says, Yes! What is there to lose? Why not answer life’s riddles with this risk? It really is all free. Play it forward!

Thanks to the Seattle InterPlay community for the inspired phrase, Play it forward!
P.S. More ways to play it forward with your organization at Teamwork and Beyond, happening November 18th!


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