What I learned at the Waterpark: Part 2: Play

water park ride playYou might recall that I wrote a couple of years ago about an insight that arose at a visit to a waterpark around the ebb and flow of emotions even positive emotions. As I approached a recent visit to the land of waterslides I was thinking about play, as in my ability to play and have fun for its own sake. I was reading a lot about the importance of play for ones mental health. So I set an intention for the weekend, “I will play.” (I also planned on observing and evaluating it – but hey, that’s fun for me too.)

Some of the play felt very planned and regulated. In order to do all the fun things we wanted to do in less than two days we had to keep an eye on the clock and move from one thing to another to make sure we got to play the high-tech (though very physical) scavenger hunt, to spend 45 minutes at the arcade, to go to storytime in the evening, to refuel, and (oh yeah!) to enjoy the waterpark. So I would say that the play often felt very regimented and task-oriented. It was enjoyable but didn’t feel like pure play.

There was one afternoon, however, that felt like play. We had a large chunk of time and no activity we had to get to – maybe just a snack later in the afternoon and a shower before dinner. So time was not an issue. We could just experience what we experienced. We could linger over the activities we enjoyed the most. Lots of time in the wave pool – with no purpose, no focus, no reason — then extra times down our favorite slides and multiple times on the lazy river. At least an hour passed, probably more, when I didn’t look at the clock and didn’t care what time it was. I was immersed in the activity and playing – just playing. It was very refreshing.

So, I would say that this is an important component to integrating play back into our adult lives. We need open pockets of time where that is all we’re doing. When it’s play for play’s sake – no clock watching, no other immediate obligations.

If you’re like me, on your average weekend day, that’s difficult to achieve. There are so many obligations that there are only little pockets of playing that are squeezed in while looking at the clock wondering where I need to be next and when I need to switch gears to the next activity.

As I’ve been attempting to do for over a year now, I continue to block a day or half a day per weekend for fun. How is it working? It’s definitely a learning process. I will keep trying.

As an adult, how do you integrate play into your life? Please let us know in the comments below. I look forward to reading your insights!

Sacred Sundays and Other Great Ideas

Sacred Sunday light“If it doesn’t serve to uplift your spirit, let it go.”

As the calendar was getting ready to change from 2015 to 2016, I experienced a healing CranioSacral session. My intention for that session included, “clarity and focus.” (If you know me personally, you know that this is something I don’t usually need to seek – but I was quite scattered at the time.) As I lay on the table, I heard very clearly, “If it doesn’t serve to uplift your spirit, let it go.”

This message is very helpful for focusing my actions and plans for this New Year. I have started to use it as a litmus test for whether or not I’ll continue with certain activities and scheduling in 2016.

For instance, for the past few years, I have run a Reiki Clinic on Sunday afternoons from 3-5 p.m. This has meant that my Sunday is another workday and sometimes that means working 7 days in a week.

Though Clinic is uplifting and fulfilling, I’m still there as a professional. This is not recreation and it is not family time. So I decided to implement a “sacred Sundays” policy for 2016. The only exception to this policy will be teaching Reiki classes on Sunday eight times this year. This will allow me at least one day off per week which opens up time for being with my family and having fun – just for its own sake.

This focus on uplifting my spirit has also caused me to change my schedule in other ways. I love to explore, hike, and travel with my family. However, with commitments most weekends, that means we usually can only get away for recreation a few times per year. So I’ve shifted my Reiki Clinic days to be the same as the days I offer Reiki treatments at the Wellness House in Hinsdale – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This makes for a long day, but frees up Sunday’s schedule and it frees up other weekends.

I wish that the phrase (“If it doesn’t serve to uplift your spirit, let it go.”) were a Magic 8-ball and provided me with a definite answer as to whether or not I should maintain other activities and commitments, but it’s not. However, it has been helpful in terms of encouraging me to put my focus into a few specific activities related to my Reiki, meditation, and coaching practices for 2016, including a greater focus on teaching, especially in larger settings and, maybe, online; and doing more writing projects, maybe even a monthly column in a local publication.

Commitment toward those activities though means I have to be judicious in how I spend my time. I tend to take on a lot of things and end up being stressed out over a lack of time. In order to enjoy my activities and fulfill my highest purpose, I will continue to remove those things that don’t serve to uplift my spirit and dive into those that do.

How about you? How are you focusing your activities in the New Year? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.