By Martha O’Regan
When was the last time you played like you were a kid again for no reason at all? I’m not talking about playing a sport or a board game or playing to impress or engage your kids or grandkids, but a time when you truly just lowered all veils of ‘adulthood’ and just played as though nothing else mattered. Maybe it was getting lost in amazement watching a slinky travel down your stairs, skipping around your yard chasing butterflies or climbing a tree so you could spy on all those below; can you remember a time? If you can, thank yourself. If not, why?
When I was younger, I remember a quote saying “we don’t cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play” and vowed to play as much as possible so I wouldn’t grow old. But, as life happens with responsibilities for education, a career, family, bills, etc., that vow became a distant memory. I think we all forget, or maybe we just don’t allow ourselves because we are the adults now, carrying on the same patterns and beliefs of our parents, who likely also forgot to play. We often can’t even remember what it feels like to play and laugh like we did when we were little people, until we do. And, when we do remember and make a conscious choice to play again, we experience freedom. The added bonus is that our health receives benefits as well.
Recently, I had the amazing pleasure to be amongst nine grown adults of various ages, as we covered ourselves in mud, head to toe, giggling and remembering what it felt like to have no responsibilities, being full of imagination and curiosity. As we felt, smelt and smeared the mud, we each went back to our childhoods. As we held the space honoring each “child” present, we felt many barriers wash away as we integrated both the adult and the child deciding, I too, am worthy of fun in my life. We all are worthy of fun and joy in our lives, contrary to long held beliefs and patterns from the big people in our lives and the big people in their lives. In a “the sky is falling” culture steeped in fear and judgment, true authentic play doesn’t come with ease … until it does. It is all about choice.
So, where does one begin? Go back to when you were a child. What did you love to do with your friends or alone? What sort of things did you create before someone told you “you aren’t good enough to become an artist or musician” or “oh, grow up, you are a big kid” or whatever favorite disempowering statement your “big people” expressed. As a reminder, there is no judgment on our “big people’.” They were doing the best they could. As you think back on those days, find a memory that brings up joy. Feel what joy feels like in your body and make a conscious decision to return there over and over again while seeking opportunities to re-create it in your life now by taking an art class, playing in some mud, taking a laughter yoga class, or simply skipping and dancing around.
As we begin to wake up to our own power within, the spiritual aspect of who we “be” is seeking a return to when joy was expressed freely and openly. At first, it feels awkward and difficult, but as the barriers are dissolved, it becomes easier, more fun and playful. So, give yourself permission to play for no reason other than it just feels good. Live Well … Have Fun!
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