We have one constant in our life in that most of the time it is too busy or at least too busy for our liking.Â I’ve noticed as I get older I have simply forgotten how to play.Â I find myself trying to quickly take down the imaginary monsters my five-year old son creates for mayhem and delight.Â Why?Â Because I need to get paperwork done and frankly they are cramping my style with all their grunts, groans, and levity.Â My definition of play includes a recipe of peace and quiet with the word spa thrown in for good measure.Â SoÂ what do we do whenÂ technology assaultsÂ us at every turn and demands our attention away from the innocence of real play?Â Â Simple…we force it on us in baby steps much like the beginning of diet regimen of healthy eating and exercise.Â We know that once we get started it will soon get easier and we’ll start liking itÂ and making it a new priority.Â Â Yes, it is tough at first,Â but that letting go process always is.
Â I challenge you to check out your community’s art programs.Â Take a class, see a theatricalÂ play (notice that last word), or watch a musical band.Â Try a form of artÂ you’ve never tried before and show your group how worldly you are becoming.Â Then if you enjoy the beauty that trickles into you, become even braver.Â Â Try out for a play, become part of a writing group, improv your way to Drew Carey’s heart.Â And if you become simply an appreciaterÂ because you play better with numbers and “just the facts mam” then brushes and paint, you can still volunteer or financially supportÂ in the world of play because we can’t always live on love.Â Artists are the tenured professors of play which is invaluable.Â Unfortunately the paycheck doesn’t match.
Now art is the obvious way to get you to play because it does demand that other side of the brain to get giddy and dreamy, but there other ways more simply to begin like turning the tv and internetÂ off for a bit and reading or playing a sport just for fun. (You competitive types are going to squirm at that.)Â Â Â Turn your chicken nuggets on the plateÂ into flower and put the honey mustard sauce as the center.Â Grab some snow up in your hands and look for the details in the snowflakes and think of all that craftmanship and imagination that it took to put that together.Â Then mushÂ the snowÂ Â together and smack your understanding friend with one letting them know retaliation is not in order simply because you were experimenting with play and returning to your roots.Â Â I’d love to know what you do to return to that place of play so send me a note!
So I’m relearning and thinking about the importance of it more and more each day.Â A fifteen-minute chunk of going nuts and entering my son’s Scooby-Doo world is actually fun.Â I don’t want him toÂ remember me as a mom who didn’t have time for him.Â I want to be his Shaggy side-kickÂ or blanket-laden ghost that chases him inÂ goofiness instead of the trapped and irritable bad guy in the end that states:Â “I would have gotten done with my tedious tasks too,Â if it wasn’t forÂ YOU rascally kid.”Â Don’t be taken off by the sheriff to a prison of drudgery and staleness.
I leave you with a quote from the quirky but loveable Willy Wonka via songÂ (who I will be playing at the end of this month at a theater near you):Â Â “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.Â Take a look and you’ll see into your imagaination….If you want to view paradise…simply look around and view it…anything you want to do it…want to change the world there’s nothing to it.Â There’s no life I know to compare with pure imagination.Â Living there you’ll be free…if you truly wish to be.”
If you are humming this tune right now…the baby steps have begun.Â Good day and remember to play!
So we are a breath away from 2011 and we celebrate the New Year by watching the ball drop? Such excitement for renewal hits the air and then soon rushes in a bit of despair.Â Why? Because we get mixed messages.Â When you refer to someone “dropping the ball” that means they have failed to follow through on something, so why does the New YearÂ start us out celebrating the countdown by dropping a ball?Â Are we doomed to fail our New Year resolutions?Â
Think about the pressure we put on ourselves to improve a current lot on life.Â Many times we can’t make it through January before giving up on a new lifestyle or project.Â But when you think about it Forrest Gump might have said:Â “Life is like a bouncy ball, you never knowÂ when the ups and downs will stop.”
So choose one thing or habit that needs to change and work at it slowly and deliberately and keep it quiet and to yourself.Â Prove it to yourself that you can make that change before you show others.Â Otherwise you are liable to drop the ball so fast it comes back and smacks you in the face.
Ok, enough of the double-talk, I’m off to work on one secretÂ resolution and I hope it helps me make a change for the positive.Â Good luck to you all and I would just keep my feet on groundÂ with a smile.Â It will be your first step to learning how to be on the ball vs. dropping it.Â Â
Do I hear the party horns of victory playing in the background?Â Â Only you will know.
If you are a winter-phile you probably gaze out your window in delight prepping to hit the slopes, snow hill, ice rinkÂ or rev up your snowmobile for some fluffy white fun.Â If you are like myself you are taking a deep sigh and shaking your head wondering why you choose to continue to live in the north.Â Can one in her thirties become an early snowbird?Â I think there is no mistaking why Christmas was strategically positioned in cold, tundra months.
So although the bitterness can set in with the cold, I’m going to warm to the idea and come up withÂ some advantages besides the obvious that can help one get through these cold months.Â So pop your Vitamin D, wrap up in a warm blanket, sip that cocoa with your special splash of your favoriteÂ fun and read on.
1. You have extra freezer/fridge space for holiday foods: AKA the garage or deck.Â Bonus: Spell out a Christmas tidings on the deck by wedgingÂ beer bottlesÂ in a snowbank.Â This way you have a free cooler and have an excuse not to shovel the back deck or walkway!Â
2.Â This weather can get you out of a lot of social gatherings.Â The ‘ol driving conditions excuse is actually valid and you can sound like you really wanted to go even if you didn’t at all.
3. Elaborate snow forts that would make the Eskimos jealous.Â Plus it helps you visualize your dream house when you can go hands on.
4. To retain circulation in your extremities you are forced to exercise and in an ironic twist it makes you feel better physically and mentally.Â Well, that is what I’ve read.
5.Â You can reassure the kids who fear Santa could take a tumble off the roof that there is plenty of ground padding to keep him safe.
6. The slush spatterÂ on the windshield from the road and cars in front of you makes for an exciting game of hide and seek with the road.Â Â Bonus:Â A free activity withÂ no batteries included or neededÂ but keeps your heart pounding at times.Â Take that Playstation!
7. Parking Lot sprint relays.Â The fastest one to their carÂ that hasn’t fallen on their bum from the ice and snow and hasn’t acquired the beginnings of frostÂ bite from the distance or scraping their windows wins bragging rights.Â Â (remote-starting vehicles are not allowed in the race because the rest of us are jealous, especially of the seat warmers!)
I could go on but I’m sure you are noticing the ever-increasing undercurrent of sarcasm.Â Â So for all of that loveÂ winter and what it has to offer, God Bless you.Â For all of youÂ that think Jack FrostÂ nipped our noses off withÂ this last dumping of snow, hang in there.Â We only have a short 4-5 months to go until there’s less chance of snow.Â Â Plus If you find a kind set of neighbors like I have to snow-blow your drivewayÂ it takes theÂ bite out of the cold air.