Living Out Loud
My desires for blogging and sharing stories with you:
The purpose of my writings and my blog is to create space to…..
make meaning and sense through story, perhaps bring you along on a bit of my journey
share successes and victories, insights, musings, wisdom, and practical steps
remind us all of how much we need each other in our time on earth
remember to infuse joy, play, wonder, connection and gratitude in our lives – every day
June 2016 – How does PLAY show up in your life??
I recently led a workshop on PLAY and the positive impacts of play and fun in our lives. I have found a new sense of wonder and awe around the value of play in my own life more recently. I wanted to share an article I wrote on the Power of Play, initially shared on my amazing friend Nyna’s cool site The Expat Woman.
I wonder how you play and what silly, blissful, joyful activities you are making space for to honor your needs and desires!
Have You Played Today?
“Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” – Stuart Brown, MD, Contemporary American psychiatrist
Have you ever asked yourself, why don’t I have more fun and play in my life? Both are vital elements to keep our lives in balance, and especially necessary during difficult transitions. Something seems to happen to many of us as adults, (or grown up children as I sometimes like to think of adults). As we get older, we sometimes spend far more time in our lives working, and less time playing. Unless, you are one of the seemingly few who do in fact make play and fun priorities in your daily life. Or maybe your work IS your play!
As a generalization, America, as a society, does not value play as a top priority in day to day life. Work often takes precedence in many Americans’ lives, where the standard yearly vacation is typically two weeks long. Often the expectation is that works comes first and then play after …if there is time leftover for it, that is. You may actually have been raised in a culture where play and fun is valued a great deal, and/or these may be of highest value in your personal life. Maybe, you can easily say that you spend a lot of time having fun. If so, you are a role model for those of us, who have temporarily forgotten what brings us joy. Don’t worry, though, because your joy, capacity for bliss, and playfulness are waiting for you to simply rediscover them!
What happens when we play? We can actually loosen our grip on whatever we are uber-focused on in our lives, and allow an opening for creativity, and new solutions and ideas to come to us. This is why you can imagine that work environments like Google, have adult playgrounds – to foster creativity and solutions through play. So even if you may not have the luxury of working in Google, you can make slight changes to your life to weave in some play and fun. There is one requirement – that you not censor your own ideas. We may quickly shut down our most creative thoughts that may be wildly different from anyone else around us. Yet, if it gives you a spark, a smile just thinking about it or a sigh of pleasure and longing, then it is worth a go.
Take a new approach and consider how you could make your daily “have to’s” and “must do’s”, a little more fun. Ask yourself, “What could I do to bring more play or fun to this task or activity or responsibility?”, or, “How could it become more enjoyable for me and others around me?” Of course, life is not all fun and games. We know that a great deal of life is challenging, so why not approach it with lightness and a smile, when we can. We can impact our own difficult days, moments, and transitions, and also ripple out some positivity, play and joy, to others along the way. There is something quite cool and magical about spreading fun and play around. Much like a smile, it can be contagious when someone exudes a carefree spirit.
Fun means something different to everyone and therein is the most important step for you, in creating more fun in your world. First define: What is fun for you? Go ahead, and make a list (for fun!) to see what comes up when you think of what feels playful, freeing, blissful, and simply fun for the sake of fun. You might be surprised. Whatever it is, whether you have done this activity recently or 5 years ago, what would happen if you let yourself infuse a little of exactly that which brings you a big fat smile and sends rays of feel good juice through your body, today and maybe every day?
How could you bring a playful attitude to work, to a job search, to a new and scary transition…..how could you do so right now, today? Even one small step. Try it and feel free to share comments here with everyone else. You might inspire someone else to put play first, for a change.
May 2016 — Exploring and Engaging Our Passions
“What forms our passions and even purpose, can only unfold from living a curious life with an open heart.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
I love this quote. I love that Gilbert simply connects being curious to shaping our passions and ultimately even informing our life’s purpose on some level. I have recently discovered a deep sense of urgency in my own life, to follow what sparks my curiosity and listen to any of those whispers that signal an interest or excitement about anything at all. A somewhat louder inner voice has been speaking with conviction to inspire me to play with some of my old and new passions. I encourage us all to pay attention to the inner wisdom that reminds us of what we love. It is our passions that lead us to live fully, and often connect us back to our purpose. When we explore what we love, we open up to experiencing a deeper, truer connection to our sense of self, and have even more energy to share with others.
Think back to what delighted you as a child. Most likely what you enjoyed, and found bliss in as a child may still actively be a part of your life. I loved to read as a child, and I still now love books, reading and writing….and aspire to be an author of at least one book of my own someday soon.
Then, perhaps you might flash back to your most memorable classes in college – what did you choose to take because it simply filled you with joy? And now, in your life, what is it that you can completely lose yourself in? What are your passions now? How are you making space for them in your life?
If you look up the word “passion” in the dictionary, this is what you will find:
Passion – (n.) Strong and barely controllable emotion
Barely controllable, I love that. That which is simply a part of us, wants to be set free, and cannot be held back.
What is it that you can see yourself doing when you are bursting with joy, excitement, pleasure, bliss and all those other barely controllable feelings that define how you want to feel?
Whatever it may be,….dancing, reading, writing, knitting, gardening, bird watching, painting, baseball, baking pies…..building…creating.…..whatever ignites a fire in your belly. It is yours to explore and find delight in.
Interesting is it not, that we do try to control or hold back our very strong emotions of pleasure sometimes. Our society has done a wonderful job of reminding us to “keep it under control”. I say, let loose and let your passions flow whenever you can. Then, again, I am a strong proponent of non-conformity.
Find the space, activity, place, and/or people where you can honor your passions and loves. They deserve a space in your life, because it is those experiences that will show you who you are. Life is too short for holding back in expressing what we love and enjoy. Reclaim your passions, declare your passions and engage with your passions.
The coolest aspect of playing around with our curiosities and re-discovering what we love to do and be, is that we could be led to experiences we never would have imagined. We crack open a bit more and are open to even more wondrous opportunities in life.
One of my true passions, as many who know me can tell you, is that I LOVE to dance. I feel almost indescribable freedom and joy when I am dancing. One evening of dancing can boost my mood and barometer of feel-good energy for almost a couple weeks.
Although, it might not have become apparent to me until well into my adult years, what it is that I need to engage my heart and body in, I do know now what feeds my soul. Those activities, experiences and people that inspire and delight, are directly connected to my passions in life.
An invitation for you:
Do a brainstorm/free write right now of what your passions are.
Go ahead and take the few minutes to let the questions below stir up some desire for what you love to do. No judgement. No censoring your thoughts. This is not an analytical exercise. It will come to you via your soul, heart and body. It doesn’t matter whether an idea may seem silly or impractical to anyone out there because no one else has to approve it! You will feel in your body what speaks loudest to you. Pay attention, listen, be curious. It doesn’t matter whether you see this activity or experience in your life now or not. Acknowledge that it wants to make some space in your world.
To help get those creative and passion-filled juices flowing, let these questions coax you a bit:
What or who inspires you?
How do you play? What did you do this past week that felt like play to you?
What do you love to lose yourself in? Where and how do you find your bliss?
What does your spirit need & want at this time in your life?
What sets you on fire?
What makes you smile, laugh and feel full inside?
What are some of your most fun memories? What were you doing?
Initially, bring some awareness to what it is that you find joy in engaging in. Then, you can find tiny ways, at first, to weave that love or passion into your daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
Here is a challenge for you–
Which of these activities and/or experiences are you engaging in now, on a somewhat regular basis?
Which could you start today or tomorrow? In the smallest of steps….
In the smallest way, doing more of what you love, brings you closer to the truest essence of who you are, who you most want to be, and the best parts of you that you are meant to share with others. Then, miraculously your energy is often transformed, raising your levels of motivation and positivity, and you are able to bring a different perspective to all other areas of your life. Why? Because you are connected to your truest self and filling up with more of what you love. And you never know where that curiosity will take you….be curious, and love what you love.