When Ariel suggested we dedicate the month of August to exploring play I have to admit, I had some resistance. "I don't think I have TIME for play" my inner task master contorted. But as my inner child rejoiced at the idea I realized that, perhaps, the message of play is more timely than ever. There was a time when I didn't worry about time. I was totally engaged with the moment. Do you recall such a time in your own life? How long ago was it. For me, it has been many years since I allowed myself to really play.
I am just back from a vacation with my family (husband and two kids) to Montana. My parents have a cabin there and I spent every summer of my childhood wandering though the woods and making up stories about being lost in a forest or pretending I was a horse trotting around and jumping over sticks. I have SOO MANY fond memories of being in Montana during the summer. Outside there was the play structure, streams (aka "Barbie rivers"), and rocks to collect and paint. Inside there were coloring books, blocks, and of course my sisters to fight with. I felt safe enough to let go.
During my play I wasn't concerned with what HAD to be done. I was in the moment. Nothing else mattered. I miss that!
Our Montana cabin was my magical playground. What was yours?
Then one day I grew up and became a mother. The game got more serious. Now, when I play it's because I'm "playing with my kids." Unlike the play of my youth, now my "play" is infused with worry. I worry that Ben (1 year old) will swallow one of Grace's (5 years old) treasured doll shoes. Or I worry about tomorrow and if the lunch I packed for Grace will be eaten or come home without being touched. Even when I was back in Montana for a week this summer, my magical playground had vanished. It was just a memory.
In this new, adult game I have created a false story. I often believe that the demands of parenting don't leave time for play. But when I think about it, it actually works the other way around. When I make time for play and what's meaningful to me, I get better results in the bigger game of life. I struggle less and am more fun to be around.
Can you relate? When you're excited about something don't you find that enthusiasm spreads to your entire being?! People pick up on it, even if you aren't aware of it in the moment. Your passion and enthusiasm is contagious. People want to be around you.
We use our imaginations all the time. When we worry we drive ourselves crazy imagining worse case scenarios. But there is a better way to use our imaginations...a way that is exciting and fulfilling, a way that empowers us!
I want to invite you to rediscover the magical playground in your own life this month. Just for fun, take some time now and imagine that your life has exceeded your expectations. Imagine who you become in the process and the different parts you get to PLAY. Really, you have been doing this all along.
Please share in the comments below or on our FACEBOOK page some details about this imagined life. And really fill in the details (smells, tastes, sights, sounds, what does it FEEL like to be you?!)
I'm excited to play with you. :)