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Life, Death & The Space Between

Jun 15, 2023

When was the last time you took time out of your day to play? 


Today we talk with Shirin Etessam, an entrepreneur, seasoned media executive, and transformational speaker who recognized the power of play in a world full of rigid structures, schedules, and expectations.


Listen in to hear how this high-level corporate employee and entrepreneur turned to spirituality, the power of play for your mind, spirit, and body, and the importance of play for children and adults.



Topics We Discuss:


  • [1:50] Shirin’s jump into spirituality. The end of a 22 year relationship made her realize that she felt empty inside despite having all of the material measures of success.


  • [5:06] Half-assed spirituality. Going to a retreat once a year, going to a yoga class, or wearing particular jewelry isn’t going to bring about the lasting, integrated changes that a daily spiritual practice does. Practicing only when it’s convenient is a form of spiritual bypassing.


  • [10:50] Redefining spirituality. Separating soul work and connecting with spirit. We have to do internal work to reconnect with our essence so we can follow our internal guidance. Play is an important part of this process.


  • [17:34] Shirin’s process. It took her 6 years from the end of her relationship to drastically change her life and get to a spiritually healthy place. She lacked direction and didn’t really know where to look. Customizing one’s spiritual process and practice is important.


  • [19:34] All about play. The most important thing is allowing ourselves the space to play. Shirin details some of the different play personality types as defined by Stuart Brown. Any activity that we do simply for the joy of doing it is play. It rewires our brains.


  • [25:19] Play for children vs adults. Playing is a skill, and the school system does a poor job at supporting kids in creative, unstructured play. Because of this, kids grow up to become adults that don’t know how to play. The more adults who play, the more acceptable it will become.


  • [29:33] How Shirin plays. She dances a lot and used to do random disco time for one of her teams to shift their energy when stressed. She says you have to figure out your personality type and incorporating that into your day. 


  • [31:55] Adult playmates. Having friends to play with always helps. Shirin has a friend that she will sometimes talk through imaginary scenarios with or who isn’t afraid to dance like a maniac at a party with her.


  • [34:13] Play with your kids. Playing with your own children as an adult can help you unlock that side of yourself. Connecting to your children in that way is also great bonding time.


  • [35:32] Play & executive functioning. Young children learn and develop through play, and especially getting to play on their own terms. They learn things like assigning roles, working in a team, navigating conflict, and so much more. Many parents are unintentionally robbing their children of this freedom. 






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Find Shirin and the programs she offers on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok.


Shirin’s book, “Free to Be: A Six Week Guide to Reclaiming Your Soul” is available on Amazon. (affiliate)


Life, Death and the Space Between is brought to you by:

Dr. Amy Robbins | Host, Executive Producer

PJ Duke | Executive Producer

Max Bugrov | Extrassaus | Audio & Video Editing

Mara Stallins | Outreach & Social Media Strategy

Claire | | Podcast Cover Design