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Reply To: Cunneware’s Laugh: The Enticement of Delight,” with Leigh Melander, Ph.D.”


    Leigh; so wonderful to have you here with us. I love your topic on the “enticement of play”; and how it can be utilized in thinking about our inner world; especially in thinking about how we use this powerful tool of the psyche to entice the inner child in us to come out and play. Indeed, Carl Jung used “play” as Joseph has mentioned, to work through some of his most profound inner problems to find out what his “Personal Myth” was as he was writing his famous “Red Book”; and Joseph also mentioned how he utilized this psychological inner state in designing and creating his famous house at “Bollingen”.

    Artists in all of the arts understand the value of Play; and indeed, when they engage in performance of their craft this is a central mental and emotional focus in bringing forth what is in them as they express their individual interpretation of their inner process of creation. In other words: they Play at what they are doing as they share their delight with the world; (although it is serious in some ways; but frivolous in others like a child expresses him or herself as they engage with their inner world in a state of pure wonder.

    So, I’m wondering if you might share some of your thoughts on how you see or approach “play” in enticing one’s inner child to come out and play as a person deals with healing. We know sometimes one recommended method is for an individual to take up some form of self-expression to elicit or evoke the unconscious contents that have been locked away or buried deep inside one’s inner cave, labyrinth, or emotional prison and need expression so the unconscious can become conscious and integrate these unrealized parts of ourselves. And the shadow as archetype often in waking life as in dreams will sometimes express itself with hurt, anger, or pain because what’s been buried by repression is seeking its inner voice to be heard; and play can indeed be a form or tool to understand it’s message; (especially at night when we visit our inner child in dreams and all those hidden wishes and desires come out to play letting us know all their secrets through the toys of symbolism they communicate to us; which we have to figure out what they mean when we awake. So, I would love to hear any thoughts of yours on any of this if you feel it’s relevant to your topic.

    Before I finish, I want to share one of the most moving and poignant examples of play I have ever witnessed that broadcast last night on television’s famous show: “60 Minutes” with Anderson Cooper focusing this particular segment on the process leading up to the last performance of international music icon: “Tony Bennett”; (who at 95 is now suffering from Alzheimer’s), accompanied by movie and recording artist: Lady Ga Ga at Radio City Music Hall. Truly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen; with Lady Ga Ga as tender and gentle guide enticing Bennett through his performance and final career performance exit. (As we know Alzheimer’s and Dementia produce childlike mental states that many seniors now suffer from.) So, this is a very interesting and thought-provoking; and to me a very profound example of the psyche’s ability to express itself through play. (I hope this approach is not too far off topic for I feel this idea of play in today’s mentally over stressed world addresses a deep inner need to connect with some of our innermost thoughts and wishes that long for expression in an increasingly technologically driven environment; that seeks to compartmentalize our ever-evolving mental and emotional life.