Saturday, January 8, 2011
One of the things that I recommend to people who need to reduce their level of stress is to find a way every single day to play. It's a pastime that we tend to do much less of when we become all grown up, and start taking our lives more seriously than is probably good for us. I know that's pretty true of me.
Still, I do make it a point to find ways to include the energy of play in my life as much as possible. Engaging in pleasurable activities, things that just make us happy for their own sake and delight us in their spontaneity, are good for body and soul. The cells of the body heal when we are happy, laughing, or just thinking positive thoughts. And when we engage wholeheartedly in some act of rebellion toward our adult deference to responsibility, propriety, and keeping our clothes clean, spirit within giggles and says, "more, more!" In all types of play, and in life in general, a good rule is the more childish the better.
When was the last time you jumped on the bed? I can't tell you how many times my husband has in fun scolded that I was going to break ours. Even jumping up and down on my knees in bed is enough to bounce him around, and that definitely tickles me.
He and I take swing dance lessons, and even though we have a lot yet to learn, we have a whole lot of fun doing it. And I have to say, attempting those anchor steps and underhand turns standing up in bed is a hoot. I always feel like we're living dangerously because I'm afraid that any minute an overly-enthusiastic rock-step is going to land us on the floor.
Have you looked lately at a rain puddle as the amazing opportunity that it is? Why not indulge the child within you and go ahead and jump in it? Kids really do know a lot about what's important in life. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the splash is so worth having to dry out your shoes.
How about trying a bout of last one up the stairs is a rotten egg? Or to the car, or that fence, or . . . anywhere? When we play like this we are so caught up in the moment that we are able to fully enjoy being alive.
There is no end to the ways that we can play. There are child-like ways and grown-up but still hugely fun ways. Sing at the top of your lungs driving in the car (that's the only time I'll do it). Play solitaire instead of loading the dishwasher, or Twister instead of doing the budget. Dance alone in your living room. Try your hand at juggling using the fruit in your kitchen. Blow a raspberry, or blow some bubbles! Who says that freeze-tag won't get your heart rate up as much as the treadmill?
(Shhh...My husband is napping. I think this would be a good time to get in some serious spiritual practice using a tried-and-true tool mentioned above. . .)
May you cultivate many playful moments, and may this tool be a blessing.