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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fixing The Hole Where The Pain Gets In: Part Deux

This picture always makes me smile. Granted, it's a few years old, but it was such a great day with my family, and as usual, I am surrounded by my kids. (My kids refers to my 2, all of my nieces and nephews and most of my friends kids.) I smile because when I look at my kids, I can see the pure joy of being a child that still resides within them. I can hear my elder daughter's infectious laugh that resonates filling any room she is in. (Seriously, you can feel her laugh in your skin!) I can see the adorable eyelash batting that my younger one does when she wants to get her way. She says, "Pleeeaaase,"and looks up at you while dramatically batting her eyelashes and then laughs because somehow at 5, she understands why it's funny. I can hear my niece's sassy little voice saying, "I love you, Aunt Melissa," my middle nephew goofing around making up some crazy song that includes the word "butt" into it sending my girls into an hysteria of giggles. I can even feel the tight squeeze my eldest nephew gives me when he hugs me collapsing into my arms still even though he is now almost 14. I could go on, but the point is these girls don't have any holes. Not because of anything I have done as a mother or an aunt. They don't have any holes simply because they are still children. They are not carrying the weight of the world around with them. They are not harboring anger, resentment, mistrust, self doubt, self loathing, or unforgiveness. They are just kids being kids.
     I was recently reading a book about teaching children meditation techniques. How to teach them to connect to "the hum of the universe." The author pointed out how easy it is for kids because they are always connected. They still live in their bodies. They are always in motion, and they tend to just go with the flow of life. They trust that the adults in their lives are taking care of everything, so they spend most of their days just carefree and connected. Have you ever talked to children about God? Sure they have lots of questions, but they rarely have any doubts. There is no hole in their being. They don't need to find God or self like I described in "Fixing the Hole... Step 1." Why is this? Kids understand something that we have forgotten. Playing is fun. When we play, really play, like a child, we let go of all of the lies we tell ourselves. We let go of the illusion of separation from God. We are just being true to ourselves and when we do that, we connect to the divine. God fills up our holes with divine joy and love. When we play, we are happy. It's as simple as that.
    So what's the answer to your angst? Playtime. Now, adults often have a distorted view of what fun is. We are so out of touch with what is really fun, that we have accepted things that are not really all that much fun as being acceptable. These are things that we may call fun, but are no where near as fun as the fun you had when you were 8: Drinking at a bar and standing around watching people dance, dancing at a bar continually thinking about how good you look while dancing, watching other people play a game you used to love playing yourself, most video games (addicting doesn't necessarily mean fun), trolling Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media, eating dinner in a restaurant, watching most movies, most workouts.

Who needs a gym, right? I call this "Playground Workout,"
and it IS fun.
 That's not to say that these things cannot be fun. They can, but they are usually no where near the amount of fun you used to have. Why? Because you probably spend most of these activities thinking about how you appear to others while doing them. It's not about really experiencing joy. It has become about you looking hot, seeming funny, sounding smart, fitting in, posting a picture that makes you look like you are having the best time ever. Ask yourself, "Am I really having fun?" "Do I feel full of joy?" Probably not. Cue Paramore sarcastically singing, "Ain't it fun? Living in the real world..." Most of the time it's not.

     So how do we get to that place of pure joy? Naturally, it will be different for everyone. It depends on your own interests, of course, but I find that I feel the most joy when I really engage with children, and when I find myself totally immersed in play with them. When I stop thinking about what needs to get done before I can crash into my pillow, or what other parents might think of me acting silly and I totally let go. Examples of moments of joy with my kids: jumping in waves at the beach, doing handstands and cartwheels in the yard, jumping on a pogo-stick,
That's right! I asked my sister to buy my daughter a pogo-stick for Christmas.
What?! She really wanted one! ;-)
 finger painting, dancing around our living room, singing loudly in the car to "Let It Go," riding a roller coaster, climbing to the top of the playground and going down the really fast big slide, hanging upside down from the monkey bars, building a sand castle at the beach, hiking through the woods and climbing across every felled tree we can find, swinging from a rope like Tarzan... the list goes on and on.
Wait, did you get that shot? Let me do it a couple more times just to make sure...
Before I had my own kids, I would do these things with my nephew. Before I had my nephew I would play with my husband's younger sisters. If there was a kid in my life, I would play with him. Not watch them play. Really play WITH them mostly because I missed playing that way with my sister and childhood friends. Time would fly by and I would feel great. Just happy to be.
     That's what you want. You want/need to just be happy to be. When you play this way, you connect to your inner child, your true self. When you exist as your true self without the ego telling you to"be" anything, you connect to God, and you feel full and happy. You may not have recognized THIS feeling as being God before, but it is. If God is the energy that connects all things, then God is love. When we love ourselves enough to do the things that bring us real joy, when we forget about how we look to others and really experience uninhibited joy of being, we are full of love for all things including ourselves. How is that not divine?
This is me in 1980 something. This is how I always feel inside.
If this kid is happy. Then I am happy.
     Try it. Please. Just try really playing. Don't worry that you look silly or stupid. (Seriously, I look ridiculous in all of these pictures... but I also look happy, don't I?) Your kids will see you as a superstar. (Imagine me pulling my hands dramatically out of my armpits like Molly Shannon on SNL while saying that, SUPERSTAR!) If you don't have your own kids, I am sure there are children in your life who are just dying for your attention. WARNING: You WILL become the favorite aunt, or cousin, or family friend, I guarantee  it! And you will feel great. I promise. Is playing in the dirt going to solve all your deep seeded dark issues?  No. But it will bring you joy. It will be therapeutic without trying. And as I said before, the first step to healing is to reconnect to self. And this will help you do that. And the more often you let down the walls of your ego and engage in unbridled fun, the more often you will feel happy. And as the happy moments string together in your life more frequently, you will find that you are happy more often than not. So, as I say nearly every sunny day of the year to both my girls and my students, "Go outside and play!"

Be well. Be happy. Love yourself! Sending you light and love!

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