Cultivating Playful Joy and Wellness is something that can often be an afterthought. But keeping this fresh and top of mind is key to embrace life and give ourselves the joy we deserve.
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” ~ Alan Watts
A theme that comes up regularly for those of us who are “over-doers” is the need to balance being with doing; to be able to procure a sense of joy in the simplicity of being alive, without effort or achievement. In this modern age full of distractions, what does this mean and how can we embrace moments of joy without needing to have an outcome? I am someone who relishes getting things done and checking tasks off my to-do list. I’ve recently had to consciously make time to allow myself to just have fun. Sounds easy, but how many times have we put off the enjoyable thinking it frivolous or a waste of time?
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Marthe Troly-Curtin
In continually developing my personal well-being habits, my health coach offered me a simple practice of Cultivating Playful Joy. This exercise asks me to carve out 2 hours, twice a week to do something with the intention of experiencing it with a sense of passion, joy and fun. Typically when I undertake a practice, I have a concrete goal of accomplishment in mind. But with this practice, the goal is to not accomplish anything; to actively be within the experience of joy. That’s it!
Summer is the perfect season to explore cultivating playful joy. The vibe is vacations and relaxation. Longer days afford me the opportunity to relax into the flow and just be. My practice? Taking the time to float in a pool of cool water. The essence of the water holds my spirit as I aimlessly melt into its soft strength. My body completely relaxes as I don’t need to get anywhere or accomplish anything. The being is the achievement!
“When he worked, he really worked. But when he played, he really PLAYED.” ~ Dr. Seuss
To allow for easier transitions into new ways of being, I always turn to my flower essence allies. Two of my favorites, which help me to tap into joy are Oak and Rock Water. Oak essence offers me a chance to listen for moments of giving and receiving. This flower provides a sense of surrender for those who are quite capable of doing many tasks but aren’t always aware of the need to slow down and take time for self-nurturance. Rock Water (the only flower essence that is not a flower) reminds me that the healing capacity of pure, unadulterated water from an ancient source is available to help me be receptive, spontaneous and flexible in the rules I set for myself. Offering an ability to let go and truly enjoy life.
“The joy of life is not a profane type of enjoyment: it reveals the bliss of existing, of sharing in the spontaneity of life and the majesty of the world.” ~ Mircea Eliade
So, what to do when the summer blooms fade and darkness begins to return? Recently, a client told me of a liberating experience she had with creative dance. She was surprised at being able to tap into the energy of being by allowing for physical expression, simply for the sake of pleasure. This was an awakening after a childhood of participating in competitive dance. Through this practice of cultivating playful joy, she was finally able to find joy in her movements without trying to achieve anything.
“When you feel a peaceful joy, that’s when you are near truth.” ~ Rumi
Our relationships with animals are another potent way to allow for moments of cultivating playful joy amid daily activity. Sometimes I joke about my inability to get things done as I marvel at my sweet, endearing Labradoodle, Honey. I find myself down on the floor, playfully nuzzling, and I recognize the wisdom in participating in this interaction. This being is communicating with me by coaxing me to take time and experience a moment of fun. It always feels good and I still manage to get everything done.
“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” ~ Milan Kundera
Through becoming more aware of how truly nourishing these practices are, I become more whole.
I recognize that allowing for blissful moments is part of my natural rhythm, without which I would be missing a beat. An inner knowing guides me as I listen for the balance between being and doing and give into the simplicity of joy.