Mindfulness Hack 7: Smile Often, Play More, Have Fun, and Make a Mess!

February 18, 2019

The Universe always has a way of reminding you about something that needs your attention.

Lately, all signs point to the need to play more and fun. The first big, glaring realization came when I was in an online course with my coach, Amy Yamada and we were asked to journal about the things in our life that we do JUST for fun - nothing attached to an activity or purpose but something we do for pure enjoyment. In our 3 minutes of silent journaling, I sat there, staring at the empty pages, completely dumbfounded that I had nothing to say. Apparently I have no fun.

Really??

I love having fun! I love to laugh out loud and play and be a goofball (usually in the form of embarrassing my kids. #bestmomever). So how is it possible that I had nothing to say? Turns out, all the fun I have is for a reason. There’s nothing in my life that happens for the pure joy and fun of it! How totally sad and depressing!

I recently took my youngest daughter and her friends to see Mary Poppins Returns for her birthday. In proper Mary Poppins fashion, there is a big, magical adventure with huge belly laughs and unbelievable imagination. Upon returning home, Jack turns to Mary Poppins and they agree that the adults will forget it all happened by morning. “Adults always forget”, they say in unison.

I instantly connected this scene to three things:

my no-fun journal writing experience;

the hot guy who hit on me a few weeks ago while I was walking my dogs;  

and an amazing yoga class I took a several months ago.

(Turns out the hot guy wasn’t looking for anything serious since he just ended a long relationship and asked if I was up for just having fun. I had to seriously think about how to say no, I wasn’t interested in fun. Huh?)

Anyway...back to yoga. The yoga teacher has a son who is autistic and she was talking to us about imagination and how it is something we take for granted. Imagination is a critical part of development yet for her son, imaginative play is practically non-existent. So she designed the entire class around sparking our imagination. I started thinking about how and when we grow out of our imaginations, much like what Jack and Mary Poppins were referring to.

As we grow, we become more and more unconscious in our daily routines - so much so that 95% of our day is lived unconsciously, as Dr. Joe Dispenza discusses in Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. It’s why we can multitask - we know what to expect because it is the same as it was yesterday. But living in this state of unconsciousness means we leave no room for possibilities. We expect the expected instead of the unexpected - and the unexpected is where opportunities and possibilities exist! This awareness has become so important to me that my words for 2019 are Infinite Possibilities. It’s what I repeat to myself in my meditations and what I use to ground or reground myself in the moment.

Try This:

This one is really simple:

  1. List out all the things you do JUST for fun.
  2. List out all the things you WANT to do (or keep doing) just for fun.
  3. Do them.

If you immediately turn to the “I don’t have time” excuse, then you will grow old and ugly with all the angry wrinkles between your eyes and the permanent frown lines around your mouth. So, make a commitment that each month you will dedicate time to FUN. Fun sparks imagination which opens you up to possibilities. Fun makes you smile, and smiling releases endorphins and boosts the immune system - that’s a win-win, folks! There are even studies that link longevity, satisfaction and stability to smile intensity. So turn that frown upside down, y’all!

For My Educators (and Parents!):

Since I discovered that I have no fun for the sake of having fun, I’m looking for ways to lighten up around the house as well. And although I’ve put a moratorium on all things slime, I find myself letting my kids make more of a mess (I honestly have to keep my OCD in check!) and encouraging them to let their imaginations run wild. Where can you release a little control and hand over the reigns? What kinds of projects can you turn over to your children or students that will allow them to dream big, have some fun, and make a little mess?

Gamechangers:

If I had a guru, it would be Dr. Joe Dispenza. All of his books will blow your mind, but Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself is a great place to start.

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