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Deep Play

Taylor Milne's picture

For some riding horses is an occasional experience that they may explain as exhilarating or even as “deep play,” however for someone who rides horses on a regular basis it has become a part of my routine, and those special and fleeting moments defined as deep play are very rare, but also very powerful. I can remember one evening in particular when I had decided that I wanted to get a quick ride in despite the fact that the sun would be setting soon. I knew I would not have enough time to tack up before the sunset, so I took my old horse Lacey out of her stall, quickly brushed her off, grabbed a helmet, and walked down to the arena. I often ride bareback, but for some reason this time was better than any of the others. Riding with only a halter and lead rope, I felt synced into my horse, and I knew that the strong trust and connection between us on this ride was special, and would be a fleeting moment in time. After I asked her lightly with my leg to pick up a gallop and we were flying, putting me into a state of euphoria and understanding. In this moment of deep play I was very aware of how exceptional this time was, and this realization made me so appreciative of this time, because I knew it would be over soon. I have only had about five rides in my life that were this special, and I treasure all of them and keep them close to my heart.

Ackerman describes Deep Play in many different terms, but as a class and through my own thought processes and experiences I think that deep play involves a deep emotional connection of some kind. Deep play needs to involve a sense of freedom and joy, and lives with the realization that in that moment in time one is living their life to the fullest. It is not something that someone would experience everyday, and I do not think it is something that someone necessarily expects to experience, I think that Deep Play is generally unexpected, but one is generally conscious of how special the time is while it is occurring. I never go into a ride expecting to have this amazing and sacred moment with my horse, but some days just happen to have unexpected and amazing moments.

This also occurs with me while I write. While debating if one could experience deep play while writing I was originally skeptical, as I do not often find myself doing very much creative writing just for fun, as many people do. However, then I started to loo back on old papers and stories I had written for school, and I realized that Deep Play could occur while writing when one is completely connected and passionate about what they are writing. I feel like I engage in deep play with my writing when I am discovering new things about myself or about a text while I am analyzing it. It becomes almost a game, and I find that in this kind of engaged writing one cannot tell where their thoughts and ideas will end up. On the other hand much writing I do not think could be regarded as deep play, on subjects where people know exactly where they are planning on starting and ending, it leaves very little room for this creativity and connection that can be found in less guided writings. Deep play in writing for me creates a much more enjoyable atmosphere, as well as an end product that I am much prouder of than just a normal piece of writing that I did not feel extremely attached to.

When looking back on the papers we have written in this class I feel like the paper I utilized deep play with the least was my analysis of NW, although we wrote this paper twice, I think that because I was so caught up in conveying my thoughts on the text in a way that was comprehendible, I was then unable to truly engage with both NW and my writing on it. Most papers I write I begin with a pre-write where I just type solid for fifteen minutes in a jumble of thoughts, where I then go in and distill to create a feasible idea on a topic. For my paper on NW I did not do this and I wish I had, mostly because I think that this would have made me feel like I had a more creative attachment to the paper than I actually did, since it was an analysis, which did not afford me the same aspect of freedom that we see in other forms of deep play. Looking back on my writing, I can see where I have gone into fleeting moments of deep play, where I feel my writing is at its best, and I am able to communicate to my audience exactly what I mean to say, however much like deep play in other activities, it is hard to know when these connections to my writing are bound to occur.