“Laughter is a symptom of spirituality. Laughter is the flow of love coursing through your body. Laughter is the nectar of present moment awareness. Invite more laughter into your life and relish the magic in every moment.” ~David Simon
Do you remember the last time you laughed so hard that you could barely stand or walk? Even if you were in the midst of a difficult situation, you may have felt lightened by a feeling of pure joy and ease, letting go of the past and forgetting the future.
When you play and laugh with abandon, you enter into the present moment, which is the only place where you can experience happiness. Fully established in the present, you see the world with fresh eyes, relinquishing the ego’s rigid ideas about how things “ought to be” and opening yourself to the realm of infinite possibilities.
Children offer the finest expressions of openness and spontaneity. They play and laugh freely, and are enthusiastic about everything from watching a caterpillar and splashing through a puddle to making funny faces and spinning around in circles.
They are infinitely creative because they haven’t yet built up the layers of conditioning that create limitations and restrictions. They haven’t yet learned to be “serious” or fallen into the grip of the ego, which has no sense of humor and is easily offended.
No matter how long it’s been since you were a child or really let yourself have fun, today you have an opportunity to lighten up and infuse some playful joy into your life.
Think of something that evokes childhood for you – eating an ice cream cone, going to a playground to swing, coloring a picture, jumping rope, building a sand castle. Find something that brings back the sense of fun you had as a child, even if you think you’ve outgrown it, and choose one of these activities to do today.
Here are few more ideas for bringing out your creative, playful, open self:
Go to an art supply or crafts shop and buy three to six paints in colors you love. You can try watercolors, acrylics, or whatever kind of paint appeals to you. Don’t worry about what you will paint – just choose colors that you make your heart sing. Also select a surface for your project, such as canvas, paper, or a board. Set aside half an hour where you won’t be disturbed and let yourself paint. Paint with your fingers, your hands, or your nose! Let the child in you play freely.
Play with Your Food
Eat something you’ve never tried before or try combining foods in new ways. Ideas: Strawberries with balsamic vinegar; hot chocolate with a dash of cayenne, salted pineapple or watermelon; almond butter and carrots; potatoes seasoned with nutmeg.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Turn down the lights and turn up the music and let your body move! You can dance alone or invite a group of friends over. Let go of any ideas about whether you can dance. Let the music wash over you and free your body to move.
Try Laughter Yoga
Laughter Yoga uses childlike playfulness, eye contact, and yogic breathing (pranayama) to create real and contagious laughter. There are now more than 6,000 yoga laughter clubs in approximately 60 countries!
Go on a media detox and refrain from watching or listening to the news for a week – at least! Use the time to nourish your soul instead, by going back to re-experience the books and movies you enjoyed as a child, such as the The 101 Dalmatians, 21 Balloons, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Star Wars, E.T., The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Wrinkle in Time (or anything by Madeleine L’Engle), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the Harry Potter Series . . . the list is extensive.
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Do One Thing Different
Playfulness involves letting go and trying something that may even scare you a little. Remember as a child climbing a tree, jumping off the high dive, or riding your bicycle for the first time? Your heart may have raced as you felt the exhilaration of conquering your fear and expanding your possibilities. As an adult, you can experience that childhood excitement again by doing something different . . . even if it feels daunting, such as running your first 10K race, learning the tango, taking a drawing class, traveling somewhere by yourself, adopting a pet, trying online dating, studying a foreign language, wearing a color or style you usually shy away from, or anything else that resonates with you. The key is to choose something that sounds fun, not something that you feel you “should” do or that “would be good for me.”
Come up with your own ideas about what would be fun for you – and give yourself permission to commit random acts of wanton silliness and lightheartedness. Have fun!