How often do we allow ourselves to play? laugh? indulge in simple pleasures?
Even though I have been surrounded by play through my work in preschool classrooms, I find that playfulness and humor are not always present in how I view the world. My tendencies are to follow rules, to have strict expectations and when others fiddle with those set ideals resistance sets in.
Humor and play are essential for effective learning and teaching. I notice how children's eyes light up and their inner happiness shines so bright when the adults around them are in a space of fun! And by playing games as an adult through my training in nature connection, I have witnessed a spark light up within me. My son (2.5 years old) is my favorite teacher for this right now. Finding a balance between setting healthy boundaries with him and allowing the flow of play to come in and out of our days requires constant tweaking. Between waking up in the morning and getting dressed to go out he can find so many ways to interact with his environment in new ways: pretending his toast is a train, putting small cars in a dump truck and making a pile of them on the sofa etc. It's a never ending game with life, and it's rarely linear. Slowing down is the key to the enjoyment of it all.
Play is how children (and adults) are meant to interact with the world. When we are born we slowly come to understand what is around us by manipulating objects, mimicking facial expressions and trying to move our muscles in ways we didn't know existed. Our culture has taught us that it is through hard work and deadlines that we are to create what we want. But how can we truly listen to our hearts desire if we constantly have places to be and times to meet? In essence, play lets creation, of our ideals and dreams, flow through us. Play is an innate characteristic that allows us to manifest divine love.
When I am present, senses awakened and allow myself to experiment with curiosity, I learn to smile at myself, others and the world.
I'm not one to crack jokes, but that doesn't mean I can't be playful!
A couple weeks ago, the music of the bark revealed itself to us:
With every step I breathe, I thank you.
Feet touching the soil
Delicately honoring my ancestors
The moss, the fungi, the decay
Moist dew between my toes
I thank the beings invisible to my eyes.
Wind whooshes through a lock of hair
Peepers, crickets, the symphony
Birds, messengers of the heavens
chirping to the rhythm of my heartbeat
I thank the beings that bring songs to my ears.
Lips pursed to my next meal
Tastes of sour, sweet and bitter
Dandelion, burdock, the diversity
Fire, fuel, fulfillment and pleasure
I thank the beings who nourish me.
To my sisters and brothers
Together we are whole
Fathers, mothers, one community
The stories and memories we create
I thank the beings who love and are beloved.
Sun, brightness to our souls
Moon, reflection of our cycles
Stars, forever reaching beyond
Waters, rivers and oceans
I thank the beings who guide us to ourselves.
One, all encompassing
Soft, tender, compassionate
Greater than life itself
Force driving love's creation
Birth and death within.
With devotion I call to you, thank you.