PLAYFUL – Why So Serious? Come Play
Life has such a range of experiences from tragedy and despair to euphoric peace and joy. We don’t always remember the dynamic nature of life and can get stuck seeing it as mostly this way or that versus a play between them all. We can create a “way of being” or attitude that starts to purvey all situations. When it is marked by negativity, practicality, stinginess, or just seriousness in general life can seem like a real drag. This can seem like an innate part of our personality. We have all heard people say someone is a negative person or so serious all the time, etc. That is because it’s not enjoyable to be around such seriousness, nor is it enjoyable to be that way.
The good part is that this serious way of being is just a habit based on our negatively biased view of the world, which can change. We simply have lost sight of the magic, wonder and humor in life and need to rediscover that side of things. Mentally what happens is that we quite literally get stuck in the past. After some hurtful or disappointing event or long-term situation we stopped living fully in the present and started resisting the fun, bright, comical side of situations. The physical sensation is one of tightness, isolation and repression. It’s like we are punishing ourselves or others for those past things by not being happy now. And that self inflicted heart wound does hurt, in fact it takes years off our lives. The unhealthy stress creates chemicals that keep the body fighting a ghost versus taking care of more important things. Mental tension becomes physical tension as the mind and body are intimately intertwined.
To be so serious, we must be consciously push away the fun, joy, laughter because they always and quite naturally exist. Even in death and depression there is often one comical moment that squeaks through and like water bursting through a damn, everyone falls into tears of laughter releasing all that upset and tension. We just need to lighten up a bit, give up our positions, and be a little witty. Shake off the past and pay attention to the awesome things in the present.
When we have a playful mind, we look for the best things around us that we can play with keeping us more positive. Comedians have quite a skill for this, they take mundane things and draw out the curious, silly things about them that make us laugh and we love them for it. The saying laughter is the best medicine has merit as it sends chemical signals to our body that we are safe, all is well, so it can focus on all the functions to keep us healthy, versus fighting off stress. When we let ourselves have a laugh, or better yet make others laugh, we touch back into that beautiful, loose, connected, healthy space of the present moment.
Coach Gavin McKay