“How many people actually take the time to play nowadays?” Sarah Iverson, the owner of Denver-based holistic wellness company Curious Sunshine, asks while we’re speaking about her business. After a few minutes’ reflection, I realize that I don’t know what play looks like for me anymore. When I was a child, my parents often found me covered in pastel chalk dust, playing with toy cars, and creating elaborate worlds in our driveway. Open-minded play was an ability that my younger self was incredibly adept at, but as more “important” things entered my life as I became an adult— finding a job, paying rent—I lost that freedom, as so many do. Iverson created Curious Sunshine to help us find it again by reawakening the playful spirit within.
To facilitate the playful journey of rediscovery, Curious Sunshine’s classes and workshops—called “quirkshops”— help adults connect to their inner child. A typical quirkshop starts with a grounding meditation led by Iverson, followed by group conversations about the exploration of mindfulness and personal styles of play and curiosity. Next, Iverson leads the group in playful activities like blowing bubbles, solving puzzles, and mindful frolics.
To Iverson, the most important part of the play mindset is honoring individuality. “When we honor our ‘play’ selves, we are honoring something deeper than the inner child. We are honoring our core spirit, our soul. I equate play close to love. There is an unmatched joy and happiness that comes with it.”
As a Black woman, Iverson strives to bring opportunities for play to people of color around Denver. Her intention is for her company to be a tool that helps people become more happy, liberated, and authentic by facilitating a journey of self-discovery. She created “the ultimate melanated activity guide” books, Black in Color and Black in Color Remix, to provide people of color tangible ways to explore their curiosity through coloring pages, wellness prompts, mindfulness puzzles, quotes, and more. “It’s very interesting to witness the dichotomy between those who are very privileged in society and those who are not as privileged—how easy it is for one group to tap into play and be more liberated than it is for another,” she says. “It makes me sad but it’s also why I’m here. It pushes me to work harder and do more, because we all deserve to play.”