PLAY the hours

Life is play. Take intentional times to remember and rekindle that. Photo by  MI PHAM  on  Unsplash

Life is play. Take intentional times to remember and rekindle that. Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

There are ancient traditions (within and beyond Christianity) around praying the hours. The Daily Office, as it's called throughout Christendom, affords the devotee moments to [re]turn to God every three hours in the midst of a busy day. Praying the hours is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the sacred in the profane and the mundane, the beauty within the chaos, and the hum of spirit beyond and beneath all human activity. Whether or not you are a religious person of any stripe, I invite you to play the hours. 

We all have schedules, and many of us have a tendency to fill space instead of hold it. I am such a person. Intentionally carving out space to be, to meditate, to move, to reset,  to go outside, to bring beingness and holism back into our days often characterized by busyness and workaholism. 

Some ideas (including and beyond those already mentioned):

  • Mark your planner and/or set a notification for your "play" every three hours. Think ahead to short and simple rituals that can act as anchors for you in the midst of your day. 
  • I like to plan different kinds of play at different times. Meditation, yoga, running, reading, silence, having a dance party, praying for someone I care about, drumming (or playing music in general), painting, singing or chanting, reciting poetry, dropping whatever I'm doing to simply sit and be with my kids... there are so many ways to play. 
  • Write down simple activities or exercises that inspire you under three categories: "Body, Heart, and Mind." Then draw a Venn diagram and see what rituals intersect multiple categories and prioritize the ones that most resonate with you. 


I have found that moments to stop and savor help form a day that is on the whole more enjoyed and enjoyable, not the other way around. The practice is not to compartmentalize our presence, but to practice presence in every moment. When I see the sacred in sweet little moments alone, I am invited and reminded to play the hours between these little metaphorical "Stop" signs. Play all day, play the hours, and enjoy each moment in between.