I’ll always remember the elating effect of learning games as a Brownie Leader. We simply played games and sang songs (suitable for 6 – 9 year olds) in an all day workshop one weekend. What a hoot! I mean’ twit, twit, twoo.’ lol Brown Owl and I (then called Chrystal Owl) drove home in such a merry state, it was like we were intoxicated.
I realized then that focusing on play is akin to focusing the mind in meditation. Even better, the point of focus is joy. At the time, I thought that it would be splendid to create a retreat for stressed out adults who need to get their perspective back. At this sequestered place, activities would center on just playing all day. What a wonderful ‘time out’ that would be. What do you think?
In any case, the experience was such a poignant lesson for me that I try to incorporate a playful dimension in my daily life. I’ve been called the ‘queen of play’ and ‘whacked’ for my light heartedness and penchant for antics.
So I keep a kite in my car, just in case I feel like a time out to fly it. Sometimes I’ll laugh for no particular reason or I might engage a stranger in a mini-drama at the spur of the moment. On one ordinary afternoon, I happened upon an elderly gentleman purchasing a slice of banana bread to go with his coffee. He appeared to be somewhat serious and tense. I took that as my cue to attempt to lighten up the moment. So, I approached him and sadly declared, "That was the piece that I wanted.”
I watched in delight as a graphic series of emotions, all displayed in a kind of silent movie on the old man’s face. The look began with a ‘gentlemanly duty to share’ but then morphed through ever increasing versions of ‘it’s mine, I saw it first.’ The silent message that I received at the end was a distinct, ‘Back away from my goodies.’ I was sorry that he could not enjoy the moment but I had fun. Don’t worry; I didn’t wrestle the banana bread away from him.
Probably the most playful, consistently upbeat influence on my life is my Yorkie, Zoe. At five and a half pounds, she’s a force to reckon with. All I have to do is glance her way and she gives me an adorable cock of the head or ready bark, announcing that it is now her moment. Then it’s time to pick her up, go for a walk or just spend time playing. She lifts my spirits daily. When we go for walks, especially at the harbour front, she somehow inspires smiles and joy wherever she goes. It’s hard not to feel happy when she picks you to lick, scamper around, wag her stump of a tail furiously at, or stand on her back two feet, stretching and reaching for ‘uppy.’ Zoe offers pure joy and an opportunity to lighten up to everyone she meets, dog and human alike.
Overall, I lead my life with enough flexibility and unplanned time to enable me to have a spontaneous visit with a friend, go AWOL and watch clouds, and/or go on a ‘spur of the moment’ trip – just for fun. This lifestyle enables me to incorporate inspiration in my day. And since inspiration usually comes from Source, I feel blessed.
Helena Green is a freelance writer in Nanaimo.