Reclaiming our wholeness through whimsy and presence
So what does a whoopie cushion, a pinwheel, a journal, some stickers and a jar full of sparkly beads (toss in a rubber unicorn or two) with a bunch of birthday wishes have to do with anything?
A lot. Bear with me. (Yes, a whoopie cushion!)
Initially unbeknownst to me, there seemed to have been a theme around my birthday this year — whimsical delight. And apparently, I needed more of it. Hmmm. Message received. Whimsical delight, where did you go? And how have I allowed you to slip right through my fingers? Come back.
Yep. It’s true.
While I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy, I do operate on one mode and one speed for the most part: Get it done.
And get it done, I do — like every day. What fun is that? Then when I’m not ‘getting it all done’ I have my own special recipe for feeling bad about myself as if life has only one setting. All of this getting it done business has me yearning for something I couldn’t quite put my finger on…until now.
It’s not lost on me that these above-mentioned presents were all given to me by young teenage girls. And you know what? They delighted and spoke to the young teenage girl in me who has been shoved aside, who has more often than not pushed her creativity and silliness to the back burner. Well, these young emissaries of delight have pulled her straight from the shadows and I don’t think there’s any putting her back in the corner.
When I was 15 years old I was discovered by a top modeling agency in New York City and within months was living and working in Paris. This isn’t a story about that journey or the successful 15-year career that ensued, but it is about that girl. That girl was whimsical, creative, curious. She loved to write in journals with colored pens, paste pictures in, doodle, dream, hold onto mementos. But she was also told that her journals were ridiculous and childish by her agent, that she had to stop that nonsense immediately and play the part of her new role.
But wait a minute, aren’t I just a kid, doing what kids do?
It was confusing and brought shame to something that should never have been shameful, but I didn’t have my voice yet…I was a bit of a renegade because I did continue to write away, shrouded in secrecy, but it was never the same. The truth is that he squashed something in me.
And you see, all of these decades later these birthday presents spoke to her as if to say, we see you. Come out, come out wherever you are.
Can you relate? Has anyone ever influenced a life path or decision — told you to go one way while your heart whispered something differently? You are not alone. People influence us along this journey. They are not all ill-intended; sometimes it simply stems from their own fear or their belief that they know what is best for us. But it’s all ok because you can reclaim those pieces of yourself (better late than never).
Is there an aspect of you that has been bypassed in the name of busyness, being a ‘grown up’, responsibilities to everyone other than yourself? Where does this pop up for you?
While I loved these individual gifts, even kept them close by my desk in eye range — truth be told, they’ve been sitting untouched in a pile in my office for the last 6 weeks…calling to me. Hey you, Ms. Busy Pants, got time to play?
I kept them where I could view them because they made me happy. They each made me smile and inspired me to be a bit more playful and to connect with my creativity, a lost part of myself. And yet, even with that…the whoopie cushion remained deflated, the journal closed, the pinwheel inert, the stickers untouched.
So what’s it gonna take to bust a move on behalf of our joyous, playful, whimsical selves?
Yes, play is jubilant and skipping free. Visions of beaches and vacations dance in my head. But it is also about an over-arching sense of ‘playful presence’, something that can be inserted into the very essence of any day, at any time no matter where life finds you. It helps one drop into the present moment with awareness and wonder. It carves out space for spontaneity.
It also doesn’t cost anything. No one can take it away from you. I think it’s high time we all take it back, reclaim those parts of ourselves. Are you game?
Identifying the feeling you’re yearning requires taking a look at what’s blocking the path, what is (and maybe who is) standing in the way.
For me there is a ‘Type A’ force at work within. I intellectualize the merit of ‘play’, I even try it out quite often…but I also secretly tell myself it’s really for slackers.
I want it all. And I think it’s possible.
But here’s the thing, no matter how we choose to spend our 24 hours, no matter what we squeeze into it — the key is to be present in it. Being present isn’t something saved for the yoga mat, it’s about bringing yourself to the party, wherever that may be. If you think you have a ‘monkey mind’ while meditating, imagine what your thought pattern looks like on any given day as you are running about, always chasing the next idea and task — missing the moment. Reel it back in, because it’s pulling you right out of the experience you are having.
What do you want to call forth more of in your life? Maybe you’re good in the play department, but need to get your butt in gear with your work (or vice versa). Point being, it doesn’t matter where you fall short. It matters how you perceive what is going down.
I’ve said it before, I believe balance is a myth that kind of makes us feel like we’re always doing something wrong and running at a deficit.
Life is a juggling act — a big, fat, juicy, rich tapestry of experiences. Some days we eat dessert, some days not. I think the most balancing thing we can do is to acknowledge and embrace who we are, all pieces and parts, shoving nothing to the side — and doing our best to show up for ourselves.
So, what does that really mean?
When we sink into the present moment of anything we’re doing — from the most mundane of house chores to the deepest of conversations — it is from this place that our wholeness can emerge.
We get what we see. When I bring in gratitude, even for the hard lessons learned, the difficult people who challenge me, the work that bores me, the body that tires, the patience that wanes, the winter weight I gain, the emotional pain I feel — I can see value, I can release resistance, I can stay focused and I can sink into a sense of peacefulness. I trust this is guiding me.
When we make peace, we make it safe for playfulness (and our fullness) to step out.
What item could you place somewhere in your living or work space that could be a token reminder to you of some part of yourself you’d like to reclaim? Even if you don’t tell anyone else what it means, go get it. Delight your inner lost self and see what emerges.
And another thing, while you are at it — if you see something in another that could use a bit of nurturing, step in and become an emissary of best-self-dom. Help someone see something in themselves they may have forgotten. Go ahead, buy the whoopie cushion and allow yourself to have some delight in doing it!
As always, I LOVE hearing from you…this is the space we help each other through this thing called life. So, where could you insert some playfulness and presence of being? Where do you get derailed and how do you get back on track?