Never put limitations on what you can do, on what you can be. Society likes to put labels and limits on us; unspoken rules that can be and are being broken everyday. There has never been another you. Only you can contribute your own special magic to the world and this is your time.
Fear holds us back from being our true selves. Fear of change, fear of making a mistake, fear of pain, fear of rejection, fear of nothingness…
There are many fears but they all prey on us in the same way. It is only by acknowledging them and shedding light on them that we can begin to attain mastery over them and thus ourselves.
There is a voice inside you that knows the way. It comes in whispers and innuendos illuminating the path with overlooked randomness and by intuition. Your heart knows the way. What the mind sees as a mountain, the soul knows is irrelevant.
We are all just beams of light. We shoot across the sky and play among the stars. Because it is all play. This. That. Everything. In whatever we do, we have chosen this particular ride, whether we remember it or not.
You are in complete control and you can wake up anytime you want.
You can listen to the voice inside you that whispers, that sings, that hums and sometimes screams. You can listen to this voice or you can go back to sleep and dream.
It’s up to you. It’s your trip.
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
― Alan W. Watts
I’ve always wanted to write poems and nothing else.
Coming in whispers that speak to that child that lurks within
the one that plays in grassy fields and kisses the sweet spring wind
she who laughs at chickadees and muses with birds
Quietly knocking one over the head with her simple earthy words.
I have been literally brought to tears on more than one occasion by this immensely talented writer and poet.
Mary Oliver is an artist who more than paints pictures with words. She illustrates profound feeling in vivid and not so vivid colors and hues. They hit me deep down in my soul.
Never before have I so connected with another’s words. It reinforces to me the greater connection we all have with each other and our beautiful planet.
What follows are some of my favorite quotes by this Pulitzer Prize winner.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty.
“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”
“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”
Yes…yes I do Mary Oliver… thank you for your inspiration.
Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio. She attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College. As a young poet, Oliver was deeply influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay and briefly lived in Millay’s home, helping Norma Millay organize her sister’s papers.
Oliver is notoriously reticent about her private life, but it was during this period that she met her long-time partner, Molly Malone Cook. The couple moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the surrounding Cape Cod landscape has had a marked influence on Oliver’s work. Mary Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. In addition to such major awards as the Pulitzer and National Book Award, Oliver has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also won the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
“O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.”
― Leo Rosten
Summertime is a bright and happy season. Like childhood it is full of promise and possibility. Waking up on a weekend morning in summer, a gentle morning breeze tickles my toes and the early morning rays of that pale gold sun sneaks between the slats on the blinds. The birds sing a slow and hopeful song in the maple tree right outside my window. It is a glorious day! It is the perfect day for some well deserved play!
Yes, a big helping of play today with a side of fun. This is a childhood activity that is sorely lacking in the lives of children, and adults. We all need play. We all need fun. It is a very real need that doesn’t disappear with age. In fact, playing and the subsequent fun that follows, helps keep us young.
Webster’s Dictionary online has much to say about play. Just the concept evokes many ideas and images. I found a wealth of activities that qualified as play, including but not limited to; swordplay, wordplay, sports play and sexual play too. The Concise Enclopedia, truly living up to its name, describes play as; actions have all the elements of purposeful behavior but are performed for no apparent reason.
While I respect the writers and editors at the Concise Enclopedia, I must disagree with this very concise definition….I say play has a reason and the reason is very apparent and if it isn’t, it soon will be…
“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”
The Importance of PLAY
Play is a source of relaxation and stimulation for the brain and body. It is important to our physical and mental health. Just as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Play helps us relieve stress. It enables us to manage the day-to-day realities of life. It helps channel “negative” experiences and emotions into positive ones. Play is vital to good mental health.
Play encourages creativity by stimulating the imagination. It supercharges learning and is essential in developing problem solving abilities.
This act of play triggers a mix of endorphins that enlivens the mood and lifts the spirit.
Play connects us to others. Sharing happiness and laughter promotes bonding between people.
Play brings joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships. Play can also heal hurt feelings, resentments and disagreements,
Playing together promotes a sense of safety and trust, trust enables people to work together and is essential to unity.
How do I play especially in public without looking like a complete idiot? My advice is to embrace looking like an idiot. At some point I’ve learned is that you have to stop caring what others think and just do it, whatever it is. If it isn’t harmful and destructive, why not? I’ve always liked to swing on the swings in the park. In my twenties I thought I was too old, now I know better. Life is too short for hang ups like that. We all have an inner child in us. Some of us are in daily communication with this other self, some need a bit of coaxing to bring this child out. I know from experience it is well worth the coaxing. Some of the most dour adults can transform into some of the most fun and best playmates if only given the chance.
I guess sometimes a little “unrealness” can help us cope with the very realness of life. And besides, play is fun and who doesn’t need more fun?
What do you do for fun? Do you still find time to play as an adult? Let me know. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Have a great day!
“A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who doesn’t play has lost forever the child who lived in him and who he will miss terribly.”
“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun But you have to know how.”
~Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat
The art of ridiculousness?! Yes, it is an art, and I try to practice it daily. What is life if one cannot have a little fun? I didn’t always used to be this way. I used to take myself much too seriously but I learned that it made me too old for my time. I was too worried about what others thought about me. As I age I’m realizing that for the most part most people are too self-absorbed to notice what anyone else is doing anyway.
At some point in our lives we are expected to stop the art of play. It is something we spent our whole childhoods perfecting. We are to put away childish things and join the adult world that takes everything so seriously. Whimsy and original thinking is, at best, frowned upon. It is as if on one fateful day, we look around and notice society is looking back with the look of distaste and expectant urgency “Now you’re one of us,” it says,and our magical world is pushed into the back of a dark closet; never again to see the light of day. People tend to think responsibility and whimsy cannot coexist, and work and fun are total opposites. I beg to differ.
There is much fun to be had in this world. One needs an open mind and a mirthful heart to find it; having fun is healthy. Numerous studies have proven the health benefits of fun and laughter.
I think the rebel in us pushes back sometimes, at the wrong time and, in the wrong way. We spend time, precious time, looking for that we have lost. The child inside of you is alive. Youth has not abandoned you: you have abandoned it. It is then…we not only grow up…we grow old.
Don’t grow old; embrace your inner child. I’ve met old nine-year olds and young ninety year olds…it’s all in the attitude. Don’t give up on that eternal playmate–he or she has not given up on you!