“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
We often think that we are done with something, it’s over, and then it comes back again. Sometimes finishing takes a bit longer and it’s more of a circular rather than linear path.
We allow outside circumstances and people to limit and control our own outlook, keeping us from seeing the full beautiful, complicated view. Our outlook begins and always remains with what’s inside. We own it. Our view of the world is in our hands not others so stop trying to pass off the responsibility of ownership.
Kids have their Ph.D. in a joyful perspective, and so many other areas as well – multidisciplinary to be sure. They know how to suck the most out the present moment and simply engage in possibility.
It’s the second week of April, the start of Spring. And, yep, one more round of winter. From 50s to snow, ice and cold. When visiting my nephew Liam yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to build a snowman. It took 10 seconds for him to rush the closet in search of his boots. And being the sweet, intuitive guy that he is, he handed me a hat from the hat bin before he put on his own to ensure I was prepared for this adventure as well.
And thus the launching of a special memory and actual fun amidst the “catastrophe” of winter’s return. We can flip our perspective in but a minute and turn our winters into “invincible” summers by doing the opposite of our natural inclination to complain. Dive in and make some fun.
Snow? Go build a snowman. Rain? Go dance in it. Sun? Go soak it in to refill your inner light.
Winter, again? Preparing for the brightest of Spring blooms. Start budding.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss
“Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.” – Thomas Aquinas
I sure did get a lot done this week on my ridiculously long and unreasonable list. And yet, there’s little satisfaction in that because as soon space opens up, it is immediately filled with the next thing, the next deadline, the next urgent request.
Humans are built and made for more than production.
There’s a restorative power in play, in rest, in space. When we get off the treadmill of our “to do” list and wander about with no agenda, no task, no deadline, we restore our capacity to be present in our own life and grateful for what we already have in this very moment.
Each day, we must carve time for play. Book a meeting with yourself to reconnect with what’s most important. Play, be frivolous, lay upside down with a ball.
There’s joy to be harvested in each day. Don’t get tangled up in the weeds of “one more thing to do.” Plant playful seeds and enjoy the harvest. There is a lot of sense in nonsense. Get that on your list and get it done.
“Your soul is infinitely creative. It is alive and expansive in nature. It is curious and playful, changing with the tides of time.” – Debbie Ford
“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander
No matter what the season or the day of the week, there’s more underneath the surface of our daily grinding. We need to trade in the grind for joyful daily living. In the moment, present to all that is being offered and confident that beneath the four feet of snow, Spring is in there coming in due time. In the meantime, we can make snow angels and dive into the pile of fresh snow. That snow shall do its job and awaken the ground with living water. Do your job. Enjoy this day and bring that joy to others.
“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.” – Kailash Satyarthi
It was a two-plow snow yesterday. As the snow softly and slowly fell into the night, the wind did its work to create beautiful sculptures. This is the kind of snow made for childhood fun. The fort-making type to be sure. It stops and detaches you from the complexities of the day to enter into the playground and gallery of nature.
Like it was last week, I remember the delight when a snow day was declared. We geared up in polyester snow suits, hats, mittens and moon boots to make our way out to create our own sculptures of snowmen and angels in the fresh frozen fluff. Skating for hours, sliding down dead man’s hill until dark.
A serious snow that keeps you in the house until they plow the streets and that you snow blow the driveway a few times to keep ahead of it. And, of course, right when you are done, the snowplow drives by and creates a two foot barrier of heavy thick snow that triggers the snow blower again.
Adrift for but a while to be transported back to the simplicity and delight of childhood. To that feeling that remains in us and need only be awakened with a beautiful deep snow. A place to return to often even without the snow.
Nature. Art. Play. Joy. Adrift.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison
“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” – Ausonius
We spend a good part of our life competing, going faster in the pursuit of the prize. And I love a good competition as a way to keep improving and challenging myself to stay in the game. Never been a fan of showing up trophies.
As the years have passed, I have a new appreciation for time rather than recording new times. Time with good friends and family with an acute awareness of the brevity of time. Not only showing up but trying and not accepting anything less than doing our best, whatever that may be.
Today, we ran the Minnesota State Fair Milk Run, a tradition. We all run different paces. Rather than worrying about my time, I wanted to run for the experience of time with friends who are a part of the fabric and color in my life. We didn’t set any records but created a memory to treasure, especially when things change as they always do.
Enjoy each day, laugh and cast your bright light over those shadows that the world pulls us to. Be present with people and create time for yourself for gratitude and the sacred awareness of the blessings in your life. Dive deeper into this moment, rather than racing through your life.
“If by chance some day you’re not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I’ve said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled.” – Red Skelton
“Only in spontaneity can we be who we truly are.” – John McLaughlin
Remember the kid in class who always made you laugh? The one who didn’t care if she got caught, she was just being herself, looking for a good laugh. The friend who pushed you to have some light-hearted fun and get into some trouble.
The “real world” needs more class clowns. We’ve become way too serious, too self-absorbed in our self-created problems of stress, busyness and “the race.” Lighten up, be silly and laugh more. Life is way way way too short to not enjoy the daily journey and bring others with you.
My golden retriever Lily is our lead clown, never missing an opportunity to make each day more fun for Molly and me. Molly sneaks in a few antics of her own too. She’s a good student of Professor Lily. I’m working on getting my grade point average up.
So go out today and pursue some silliness. It’s frivolous and irresponsible for sure. And we need it. Open the windows wide and stick your head out, skip down the hall, throw a ball and maybe even be so bold to chuckle.
Class Clowns unite.
“Reason, I sacrifice you to the evening breeze.” – Aime Cesaire
“All around us is the cosmic game, the cosmic play. The universe is full of joy, inner and outer. When realisation takes place, we have to feel the necessity of manifesting this constant delight in our heart. The delight glows, but does not burn. It has tremendous intensity, but it is all softness and absolutely sweet-flowing nectar.” – Sri Chinmoy
Every morning without fail, Molly picks up a toy to lead Lily and me outside. She knows it makes me laugh every time. This morning, my sox were behind Lamby-boy too. She signals to Lily it’s time to start the day with play and simple delight.
“I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” – Dr. Seuss
Walk through today lightly. Be filled with gratefulness rather than grief. Leave behind smiles instead of sighs. Give more and you won’t need to take. It returns all on its own, tenfold.
“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz
On the way out of dinner with the running group last night, we stopped at the game where you use a crane to win a stuffed animal. When we pass those machines, our first thoughts are “you never win” or “that’s for kids.” Well, we won five out of six times and we were giggling like kids.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Next time you pass one of those machines, drop in a dollar. Or drop a few quarters in the bubble gum machine. It’s pretty easy and more than alright to feel like a kid again. Unravel your complicated life if only for a moment. Dare to have fun, play and laugh every day. Pretty simple.
“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!” – Theodore Roosevelt
I gave my niece Emily a silly hat as a little gift for running me in at the marathon last week. I thought it was fun but I wasn’t sure if she’d actually wear it. She was very excited and in her sage wisdom said she’d wear it everywhere now that she doesn’t care what other people think.
It takes some of us many years to get to that point, some never do. Instead of unfolding and blossoming into who we are, we hide and keep true self to ourselves. Pleasing others, making decisions from the outside instead of inside. The sooner we become at ease with ourselves, the sooner we can live a good life being the person we are born to be. Acceptance is a beautiful gift.
Be yourself, unencumbered and unafraid. Let go of expectations and judgment on yourself and others and release your true self to the world, silly hats and all.
“If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anais Nin
We celebrated Lily’s fourth birthday this morning with a run with friends. The party hats didn’t make it too long on the dogs, but the rest of us wore our hats for the entire run. We got a few strange looks but when we explained we were celebrating a dog’s birthday, it made all the sense in the world.
“Enthusiasm moves the world.” – Arthur Balfour
Friends wear silly hats, sing “Happy Birthday” in the parking lot and know how to make fun of a run together. In a hectic and often unkind world, we can create our own celebrations and moments every day. We have so much more than we often recognize. Today, I am grateful for Lily and Molly and good friends that make life fun, silly and deeply meaningful all at once.
Today’s a new day. Get your party hat on!