Remembering the Importance of Play

Happiness
With Shaman Durek

Last weekend I went on a retreat led by my friend Shaman Durek. It has been so long for me to spend a weekend retreat solely to learn and take in information for myself, and it was so exciting and refreshing to be in that space.

Shaman Durek is a beautiful and intelligent soul who really helped me to reframe some of my thought patterns that are already a great benefit in my life. Of all the nuggets of wisdom that I took in that weekend, the one that’s been sticking with me this week is the concept of embracing time for play and playfulness in our lives.

How many of you consciously take time to stop and do something that brings pure joy to your life? How often do we do something solely for the purpose of having fun? When was the last time you were just truly in the moment or took time to do something just for you? It is important to honor the playful side that we all have within us.

I think many of us feel the pressure to deny the hobbies that bring us pleasure with the belief that we must always be working, toiling, and producing—in order to be successful, valid, and worthy. We think we need to be adults, and that adults should work, not play.

In reality, who made those rules that we feel that we must abide by? This week, I would love for us all to begin the journey of honoring the playful qualities we all have, but we may have shut off over time.

In doing this process with myself, I began to remember the love I have for dancing. I started dancing when I was very young, and it quickly became a large part of my life. I spent hours after school in dance classes. I performed, competed, and devoted so much of my time to dancing. Why ? I loved it, and it brought me so much joy.

Me (age 10)

Dancing felt natural to me, and it was my outlet of self-expression, and looking back on it, a way that I really connected with myself. I abruptly stopped dancing one day when I was fifteen because of an uncomfortable confrontation I had with my teacher. I let one painful moment taint my viewpoint on something I loved so much, and so I convinced myself that dance was something I no longer needed in life. I convinced myself that dancing no longer brought joy but sadness.

Over fifteen years have passed before I would dance again. But subconsciously, I thought about dancing almost every day in between. I would reminisce about old times, make casual comments about how I “used to dance,” and feel a deep and painful yearning every time I would see someone partaking in something that I hadn’t allowed myself to love for so long.

One day it hit me that I could choose again.  I could rewrite my dance story.  I could heal this relationship. I could have this huge part of my life back that I was missing so much.  The funny thing is, the day I signed up for my first dance class in nearly two decades was on one of my lower days in recent memory. In that moment I was feeling so unhappy, stuck, insecure, and frustrated. A little whisper in my being told me that healing would come from dance.

And dancing was the exact thing that I needed. I felt the spectrum of emotions going back to something that brought out the playfulness that lives inside me. Since bringing back dance to my life, my mood has changed, my creativity has been sparked, my outlook on life shifted, and suddenly there are new possibilities that now feel available to me. All because I chose to return to the joy.

So, what is the point in my rehashing my dance story for you? It’s to encourage you to take a moment and think about the pastimes, the hobbies, that secret loves or even burning desires that you never allowed yourself to participate in and invite yourself to play. Tap into that side of you that is carefree, limitless, and impassioned. Care for yourself in such a way that you will prioritize these moments. Release whatever judgment you may hold about fun in your life, and be open to this new way of being.

Life doesn’t have to be all work and no play. It’s time that we level the field, and make play the healing priority in our lives.

So let me know! What will you do this week to bring out the playful side of yourself? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below!

xo,

Michelle

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