I know I take life too seriously. I may appear light and playful, but often on the inside I am anything but. Can you relate?
Sometimes our bodies have to tell us to lighten up. My back went out last month. Last week I went to Las Vegas and got hives. Literally, all over my body. Not necessarily surprising. Vegas can do that. But to me, the hives symbolized a place of stress that my body, mind and emotions go, even when there isn’t obvious reason to. Even the corners of my natural smile turn down. I actually have to work at my grin!
My husband looks at me and scratches his head. He is a great example of someone who uses play as a strategy for lightening his load. One night at dinner he jumped up from the dinner table and announced he was going to be late.
“For what?” I asked.
“For my D.J. lessons!”
He forgot to tell me.
The next night, no joke, he pulls me aside, “Don’t tell the girls but I signed up for trampoline lessons tonight. I want to surprise them and do a backflip!”
Disappointed he came back after an hour, only learning safety procedures and seat drops; but that didn’t stop him.
The next day he came home late and bruised, “Babe, you’ve got to try Krav Maga! It’s amazing!”
It’s summer time, a natural time of year to relax a little and play a bit more. It is important. You know the research. It releases all of the good hormones, keeps us young, and awakens the creative, crusty corners of our brain.
Martha Beck, in her book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, talks about play being sacred; a path to wordlessness and expansion. She also shares that most humans resist learning “something substantially new” once they reach the age of 23.
How can you be more playful this summer?
I started small by practicing my smile constantly. It has lightened everything: shopping, driving, typing. Try it! I’m going to seek out small moments to be lighter in my decisions and reactions.
I committed to play more with my daughters this summer. I'm talking about sustained, engaged, active play. I'm not sure why this is so difficult, but I know I’m not alone. I also know it's important for all of us to model playful behavior for our children to counter the compulsive over-working way of life that grips us all.
Work has playful possibilities too. Preparing for the launch of my book has been weighing me down. This week I decided to approach it as a playful project. I already feel more creativity seeping into me! Is there an area of your work life that feels heavy right now? Can you reframe your relationship with it?
And when it comes to trying something new, I’m going to follow Alex to his next class . . . actually I just learned it’s going to be kite boarding, so maybe not. If you have an experience you want to try, let me know. I’ll be your buddy!