“Don’t do anything that isn’t play.” v.2021–03

Ben H
3 min readMar 30, 2021


Photo by Jacky Zhao on Unsplash

“Don’t do anything that isn’t play.” — Marshall Rosenberg

When I first saw this in the book, I found it incomprehensible. I thought to myself, “What do you mean, Marshall?” I got to do a tonne. I got to do that. I have a job to go to, washing dishes, folding laundry, cooking meals, cleaning a house and bookkeeping to do. That’s hardly play, and I can’t spend time self-caring, exercising, relaxing with a friend. When I have all these commitments to others, how can I play?”

The response is to have empathy for myself, so all, even work, is somewhat playful.

🙋‍♂️ What does Marshall Rosenberg teach about how to have compassion for ourselves?

“An important form of self-compassion is to make choices motivated purely by our desire to contribute to life, rather than out of fear, guilt, shame, duty, or obligation. [When] what motivates us is simply to make life wonderful for others and ourselves, then even hard work has an element of play in it… [A] joyful activity performed out of obligation, duty, fear, guilt, or shame will lose its joy and eventually engender resistance.”

💎 For Self Compassion, Rosenberg offers 3 steps.

❶ Create a list. List everything you do that you believe you don’t have a choice. You believe you must. You will notice how long you don’t spend in your life during the day or how many things you trust you have to do.

❷ Select every item. Select each item. When you’re finished with your list, please recognise that you do this because you do it, not because it’s necessary. In front of each item on the list, enter the words “I choose to.” If I did this, I find myself resisting the idea of doing these unpleasant things. I was thinking, “I’m not submitting bookkeeping documents 8 weeks in advance as recommended. I am compelled to do so. I’m a responsible citizen. It cannot be done alone. It’s a challenge. Then I thought to myself, “What do I really care about?”

❸ Go inwards to connect with your Intention and Needs. Define your intent with each item on your list. I choose to. When I did this for myself, I realised I feel better when the tax profile is up to date. By submitting my files a few weeks in advance, I am helping my accountants and myself stay sane. Also, by breaking it down each step and giving them a strategy, I can help them succeed in performing the task. Now that I know what values I’m trying to convey when I submit a scan of a receipt and upload it to the portal, I can flex a little with my bookkeeping plans.

💎 What activities and things please you while being aware of their true motives? In your life, what do you have the capacity to let go so that you are not dedicated to your goal?

Avoid activities other than play today and do anything that is not played today’s tasks.

In Compassion,

Benson Hoi



Ben H

🕊 Consultant, Counselor, Mediator, Facilitator, Trainer on Nonviolent Communication. 🦒