My mom used to say to us kids, “go out and play” just to get us out of the house when we were making too much noise or just being “under her feet.” When we did, we always found something to do: ride bikes, play tag or statues on the front lawn, or go to the park. Today, play might look a little different like reading that new book, creating art, listening to music, or binge watching a favorite show.
These days, it seems harder to give ourselves permission to “go out and play.” “Oh, I’m way too busy…I’ve got too many things to do, after all there’re so many things to consider and to understand and sort out in my mind before I can play.” There are all those conversations with people at work I need to have (in my head), and my to-do list, and fix the broken leg on the piano, and I have all these problems I have to solve (you get the idea). I must do these first before I can allow myself the luxury of playtime. Rubbish-Nonsense-Baloney! (Did I really say baloney?)
So, I decided to try an experiment. I wanted to find out what would happen if I just dropped all the mind chatter, all the “I should,” and briefly walked away from it all. I admit at first I felt a bit guilty taking time just for me, but I soon felt lighter, unstuck, and funny enough, even bodily aches and pains let us. My world did not come crashing to a fiery end. Interesting. And the multitude of to-do’s? Yes, they were there when I got back, yet oddly enough, some of them evaporated while I was playing, and some solutions and answers even came. I was able to come back to the rest of the day refreshed and re-energized.
I am reminded of something his Holiness the Dali Lama said:
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it,
Then there is no need to worry.
If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.
There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
-Dali Lama XIV