I remember my father’s playful side. Not often, but once in a while it came out! One example that comes to mind is when I was 12 or so and there was a hail storm going on outside. He called to me exclaiming there were huge hailstones I should see! So, I ran to the front door he was holding open and peeked onto the front lawn. I immediately knew what he was talking about. There were two big clumps of ice sitting there….easily 10 times bigger than what I could see falling from the sky.
“WOW”, I said, excited to share this wondrous event with him.
There sat two ice cubes in the grass and behind me my father was trying not to laugh. I love this memory of him. Even thinking of it, I smile. In that moment of playfulness we were connected in a special way. It felt safe, loving, and trusting,…even though I was being tricked.
And while sitting here working on this post at Profile Coffee Shop in Portsmouth, NH where they have all sorts of albums on display, another funny memory is triggered. When my son was 10 or so, we often had music going on and we both enjoyed a wide variety; from Broadway hits, to Folk music, to Disco. BUT, I had a Patsy Cline CD that he could not stand. He would groan, beg for me to turn it off, or even do so himself. Then there was a spell of not listening to it. I couldn’t find it and forgot about it until reaching into the bookcase where he had carefully hidden it! It was funny then and it is now thinking of it. (So I just emailed him a photo of the album. I bet he’ll smile too).
Play is integral in PILL classes and the more I teach and get feedback, the more obvious it is that people are grateful for opportunities to laugh and play together. My friend and colleague, Liz Korabek-Emerson and I were talking about our class that combines mindfulness and improv. We have come to realize that our success in this venture, (in addition to being commited and caring teachers), is that we are playful together.
What Sparks Your Playful Spirit?
Play is an important human experience and contributes to our health and wellbeing. Even neuroscience tells us that it is important for our brain!
Don’t miss the beautiful pics of dog and fawn in Neuroscientist, Jaak Panksepp’s TED Tx about the science of emotions and play!
So what can we do to nurture our playful spirit? Why not take a minute and reflect on our own human experience. Do you enjoy playing with your children? What about watching horses frolicking, a silly dog, a funny movie? Take a moment to think of something that makes you smile. How does it feel in this space of divine play when you experience, watch it, remember it happening? Connection? Presence? Safety? Joy? Love?
For me, it is all of these in these moments with my dad and son and at PILL. And the memories are powerful too! Seeking out experiences that make us laugh and smile is like eating healthy, exercising, and meditating. Good for the body, mind, and soul, don’t you think?