Friday is like a much needed exhale after holding my breath most of the week. It is a reminder that we need to find a way to let the weight of the world go and reunite with our sense of peace. Life is so serious that sometimes we almost forget to nurture our playful side. Remember those days when you couldn’t wait to throw your backpack down and run outside and play? We all need play to survive the serious demands that tug at us from every angle. We need to excuse ourselves from the many roles we play on a daily basis and remember who we really are underneath the various facades. Here’s hoping you find peace in your own exhale today and that you reconnect with the little version of you who just wants to go outside and play.
Do you ever do something without thinking it through to the very end? My kids showed me a video of this new contraption that fills 40 water balloons at once. I should have seen something terrible coming if they were coming to me together as a unified team. “It will be so fun,” they said. “Let’s go buy it,” I said. Before I even realized what was happening, there were hands everywhere grabbing at the small balloons lying on the ground. It was like World War 4 breaking out with ballon bombs flying at me from every direction. One hit my leg and then my back. Some flew by me and landed in the pool. If you’ve forgotten, this is your reminder that it’s good to have fun. It’s good to laugh and play and embrace the inner child who has been acting like a serious adult for way too long. When is the last time you did something fun?
Child’s pose has become one of my personal resting poses in yoga. As I kneel down and bow my head, my inner child starts to speak. We all have one, but has her voice become muffled by all the other distractions? My inner child is like a super hero. Her faith is strong. She still believes in fairytales and is amazed by acts of courage. She has hope beyond comprehension. She really believes in happy endings and healthy relationships. The adult voice in me tries to get her to quiet down. There are no fairy tales. Life is hard. People are selfish. They sabotage their own happiness. They feel comfortable in misery and drama and they blame everyone else for the demise they bring to their own lives.
Imagine how different I would be if that was the only voice I ever heard. Imagine how hopeless my life would seem if my inner child lost the ability to speak. Children live well. There eyes are like gigantic fountains of love and wonder. They trust and believe and they feel happiness that most adults will never know. They think less and live more. It’s easy for me to choose which side I want to be on. Maybe the child in me believes in things that aren’t real. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe we need to believe in something that so many others no longer see. Today, and this Christmas season, let your child have a voice. Laugh, love and most importantly, don’t forget to play. No child should be left behind so don’t forget to bring along yours either.
I think sometimes as parents we forget how hard it is growing up. The stresses, the challenges and the feeling that school life will never end. We are two weeks away from school starting again. It is so great to sit outside and watch these kids just play in the pool. They range from 12 all the way up to 20 and they are all laughing and playing like young kids. We forget that everyone is always telling kids to grow up, be more responsible, and act mature. The truth is childhood ends when we convince the kids they are too old to play. The real truth though is we are never too old to play. That is a big part of life. In a serious world filled with expectations, we need to take time to feel the freedom we once felt before all the serious started piling up. It can bury us and suck the life out of our years. I have come to believe we can learn more about really living our life from watching our children then they can ever learn from us always being so stressed and serious. The real prize is finding the right balance between the two. I don’t always have it but I believe I get better and better at it everyday.
I used to love being surrounded by people and activity, the busier my life, the better it was. As I get older though, I have really learned to appreciate quieter moments. I have come inward and discovered that true peace comes from within. I am content to look around me and take it all in. I realize now why some of my memories from younger years are so vague or even worse, forgotten. I was so distracted. I was running from here to there, rushing through the moments and paying little attention to the things that really mattered. Now, I will often sit in a place a little bit longer to take it all in. I breath it in with all my senses and I allow the time it takes to leave an imprint on my heart. I used to just walk away and now I turn around several times to take one last look.
I used to be ruled by my emotions and I would steer myself into the eye of conflict. Now, I let people fight their own battles and I sit on the sidelines waiting for them to come back around. I realize we spend years struggling against our own thoughts and being blurred by the line of our truth and the real truth. I realize, so little is about me, and it keeps me from getting sucked into a story line where I really do not play a part.
You live and you learn. You learn that forgiveness is one the greatest tools you will ever carry in your bag of survival. You learn that it feels so much better to love then it does to carry the heavy burden of resentment and hate. You learn that you always have a choice and the most important choice you will ever make is choosing the right perspective. If the view looks grim from where you are standing, you have got to move your feet to get to a new place. The only way that view stays the same is if you chose to remain in that same spot. I’ve learned that everyone is only human. We carry baggage and we are scarred by the relationships that have damaged us. We say and do things we don’t mean but at the end of the day we all live with the same regrets. We all want love. We want to love the ones around us and we want their love in return. I’ve learned that not everyone is capable of expressing love but each and everyone of us deserves to feel it. I’ve learned that we all do the best we can do and some of us are just better at it than others. I’ve learned that the most rewarding thing we can do is to forgive ourselves. Perfection is a mirage and we waste so much of our lifetime trying to grab it in our helpless hands. It’s okay to be flawed. It’s okay to be broken. Love yourself just as you are. There is only one you and that idea alone makes you special and unique. If you’ve wasted years of your life, start today to live. Every day is another chance to start again. Time is so precious and we must cherish it. It takes practice but the more attention you give to it, the better you will get at making more and more moments count.
I’ve learned to love through the tough times. I’ve learned its worth getting up at 5:30 to see the sunrise. I’ve learned a hike with a view is good for the soul. I’ve learned to live with no regrets and to keep moving forward because that is the only direction guaranteed to take me to a new and exciting place. I’ve learned to laugh at myself and be light hearted. I’ve learned to play no matter what my age. I’ve learned to be less serious and more passionate. I’ve learned to be open to each day as it comes, to embrace my past and not get too anxious about my future. I’ve learned that the only thing that is constant is change and gripping at something to keep it the same will never work. I’ve learned that the best days and the best moments are often unplanned and slowly but surely, I am learning to just go with the flow. There is always so much more to learn ….
How many times in the last few days have you checked in with yourself? We check our weight, we check our schedules, we even check the time; but how many times do we check in with ourselves and the condition of our souls? When is the last time you have been really happy? Do you keep track? Do you adjust your activities and lifestyle to assure you have enough of those peaceful moments to help you glide past the ones that steal the peace from beneath your feet?
Last night we went to a small restaurant on a local lake. As I sat there on the deck, I was at total peace. There is no place else I could have wanted to be. It was a beautiful night and the view of the sailboats in the distance just added to the scene. We were smiling and singing Sweet Caroline and Cheeseburger In Paradise. It was a perfect night. We all need moments like this to bottle up. Life is supposed to be fun and happy and rewarding. Sometimes we just look in the wrong places and we miss those little moments that mean so much.
I hope you find many of these moments in your own life this week. Look for them, expect them and enjoy each and every one. What you appreciate will multiply, so take a look around you and notice the smallest things that make the biggest difference. Breathe them in and count your blessings. Bask in those moments and discover the big in the little things all around you. They are right there patiently waiting to get your attention.
Feeling everything spiral out of control? Ever wish you could let go of what everyone thinks of you and expects from you? Ever wish you could get a break from what you expect from yourself?
We all feel that way sometimes. That we cannot keep up with the conditions we place on our own self worth. Just today I tried to lay down to rid myself of this haunting headache and the guilt I felt coming from the voices in my head was more excruciating than the headache itself.
I am reminded of myself as a child when time had no meaning and the the space in my head was not occupied with voices. I remember standing outside and blowing those magical iridescent bubbles that would be swept away in the wind until they disappeared. I try and imagine myself blowing those bubbles again, only this time, those bubbles represent the opinions and expectations of both myself and others. The freedom in just letting them float away with no desire to grab them and make them stick. Who in their right mind would attempt to hold onto those chains that imprison us and make us doubt our own decisions and our own self worth?
As a child, we are free. We are so busy exploring and living in each moment that we do not have time for anything else that does not serve our curious, playful spirit. Sometimes it is important to embrace that inner child and to reunite. Playing is important and the freedom to just be is the greatest dose of therapy you can offer your tired self. So today, play. Explore. Laugh. Blow some bubbles. Act silly. That little you has been patiently waiting for you to come back and see her again. When is the last time you took some time to play?
The more time goes by the more I realize how precious life is. I am up pretty early today. Everyone else is still asleep. I love starting the day quietly, when all I can hear is the ticking of the clock. It’s a reminder to me as I celebrate another birthday today, that time is constantly moving. I am blessed to wake up and celebrate that I have enjoyed another year filled with love, joy and many blessings. There have been many lessons too. Important ones and I have embraced them. It is becoming clearer how everyone in my life challenges and inspires me to be better than the person I was a day before. Some of the lessons are hard but they are necessary.
Every year on my birthday I like to choose a word. A word that will inspire me and my life to move in a certain direction. This year I am choosing live. I want to see the world through the eyes of a small child. I want to embrace and enjoy the little things that slowly feel numb with the passing of time. Just yesterday, I rode a merry-go-round with a silly smile spread across my face. I was fortunate enough to go celebrate friday night with a few of my friends and I laughed harder and smiled wider than I have in a long time. So, my second word is play. I will take time to be silly, to realize that I do not have to travel to exotic places to feel happy, but must feel happy and find joy wherever I am in every moment I can. Happiness does not come from any special place. It comes from smiling on the inside and focusing on all that is good everyday in this wonderful life.
I am looking forward to embarking on the year ahead. I have a great feeling about this one and I am ready. I don’t get sad for getting older, I am grateful. What are you grateful for today?
Don’t put it off any longer. Go outside. Have some fun. Act silly. Watch the sunset. Eat an ice ream. Laugh. Run. Play. Find your happy. Use today to spend each and every minute the day offers you to do exactly what you want to do. There is no hurry. No to do list. Today, it’s your time and it’s in your hands. Spend it doing something that inspires you. Make each moment count.
I have great memories of being younger. I used to love being outside. There was excitement and wonder everywhere I looked. I even enjoyed playing alone. My dad built me a teeter totter. We painted it and stuck it next to my swings. My favorite thing to do was to stand in the middle of it and make it balance. I would lean left and then a little right and see if I could get it stop perfectly still right in the middle. Maybe I have always wanted to be in control of everything even at a very young age. I didn’t want to rely on someone sitting on the opposite end to decide when or even if my feet would find their way back to the ground. I learned that sometimes that person on the other end was not responsible for my safety and would quietly jump off and send me crashing to the ground, so, I learned to play by myself and balance it just right.
We may grow up but do you think we change much from who we were as a child? It’s interesting to take a look back to a time long ago. The more I look back, the more I see how I am coming to a new understanding. The me from long ago is sitting on one side and the adult me on the other. Although we are completely different sizes, somehow the teeter totter remains perfectly balanced. And we just sit there quietly staring at each other, shaking our heads, amazed at what we see.