Finding Balance in Work and Play

We all aspire to it, but why is it so hard to achieve?

We all aspire to it, but why is it so hard to achieve?

Some call it a healthy work/life balance, but I believe there’s a lens with more depth to look through. One of the chief reasons we feel off-kilter is because we are dramatically play-deprived. Our society has substituted good old-fashioned recess with our friends, often in exchange for the concept of a “happy hour.” We write it off as just something that happens when we get older, but that’s no excuse.

If play is the ultimate prescription, why is it so hard to make time to seek it?

As a video producer, the hours are long and the work can be very stressful. It’s not as glamorous as it seems, and without proper rejuvenation it can really take a toll on your body and mind. Whether I’m out in the field filming something epic or stuck in my editing cave, a simple practice of play—even just a few minutes a day—makes all the difference. But very soon, my good friend Charlie Hoehn (author of Play it Away) and I are launching a play movement that inspires us all to get an hour of play each day, no matter your age (Check out The Recess Project). Stay tuned for our launch coming soon, we’d love to invite you to our next recess!

I remember how play totally transformed my life a little over five years ago. I was working in network television at the time, and while I fully dedicated myself to an awesome career, my recreational life was seriously suffering. That’s when I met my wife Kelly, who organized an interactive circus in Zilker Park with some friends. That group changed my life. I fulfilled a life long dream to run away with the circus, touring festivals together. The pursuit of a lifestyle of play has been an extraordinary experience, but it’s so easy to forget what nourishes me and brings me back to my center in the intensity of life commitments coming from every direction.

That’s why I picked up slacklining. To be honest, it’s become my preferred form of meditation. I got bored of sitting on a cushion and closing my eyes. What I’ve found in this moving meditation of walking on thin webbing and focusing my gaze on a tree has been nothing short of transcendent.

And it only takes a few minutes on the line to feel like my etch-a-sketch mind has been shaken and cleared.

One of the major reasons why we’ve fallen away from play is because we’ve lost touch with what excites us. I remember the joy of a new toy. The anticipation of discovering a new activity outdoors. As a kid, I was gifted the freedom of riding my bike anywhere I wished. Today, too many of us adults lose track of seeking novel opportunities that light us up.

One of the coolest projects that Kelly and I do with Circus Picnic is going on tour with the Wanderlust Festival! We’re on the road with them now making films. The experience is the perfect medicine for many of us, offering an experience to get outside the noise and be inspired by a mindful community. And oh yeah, there’s SO MUCH PLAY! Watch this short cinematic video that shows highlights from the first fest we filmed in beautiful Snowshoe, West Virginia. Can you spot Kelly and I? If you can’t find a small thing to do that connects you with play every day, then maybe it’s time to go on an extended retreat and reclaim your playfully alive side…

Top photo by Kelsey Kradel 

This article was originally published on Circus Picnic.

Jefe Greenheart has been creating cinematic videos with Wanderlust for five years now along with his magical wife Kelly Greenheart. Through the years he’s worked with President Obama, Lady Gaga, Jim Carrey, Amy Poehler and shot for networks like the Discovery Channel.  Together they founded Circus Picnic, a channel that spreads positivity on the playground of life. Subscribe to their weekly video series, and be prepared for truth bumps. Go here: Circus Picnic.