I have been contemplating this idea of child-like wonder a lot recently. It has come up in conversations, classes and in reading many times over the past week and has had me in reflection of my own childhood.
I remember a childhood full of wonder. I lived on an urban block in Denver where the neighborhood kids played together frequently. Summers were spent running up down Humboldt St. playing games, riding bikes and putting on carefully rehearsed shows for our patient parents. I remember waking up on summer days with the excited anticipation of the day’s activities. Going to the library was a treasure hunt for the book that would transport me into a delicious storyline during a rainy afternoon. Days spent at the pool were wonderfully exhausting, filled with hours of physical and mental invention as we created elaborate games and contests. Even meals were highly-anticipated events as we switched houses that hosted. Each mom would make something new and delicious and most-of-all different from what we were accustomed to eating at our own homes.
My favorite memories are the hot summer days that would become warm summer evenings. The parents sitting, sipping drinks on the front porch. The kids running up and down the dusty, flagstone sidewalks in whatever costume fit that day’s make-believe mini-drama. Having so much fun that our parents had to force us inside after the sun finally set. I would lay down in bed, exhausted, full, and excited for the adventures of tomorrow.
Fast forward to my seventh year in New York. Waking up to an alarm and the anxiety of accomplishing everything that needs to be done that day. Resenting the subway commute, the technology that doesn’t work fast enough and the lack of hours in the day. Tracking the time until I am back at home zoning out to the latest Netflix show and already resenting the following days activities. The two experiences couldn’t be more different and I am confronted with the question: “What are we working so hard for?” Who cares if the bills are paid, if you have the right degrees, or the perfect partner, when the day-to-day experience of it is anxiety, resentment and frustration.
Out of this contemplation I noticed first that we are being driven by a need to achieve and the achieving is created by standards that, for the most part, we didn’t choose for ourselves. We work to have the right income, the right savings account, the stable career. How often do we stop to question if all this is really needed? And if the experience of getting it is even worth it?
Secondly, I noticed that as adults we don’t often play in life. If we were really honest with ourselves how often would we actually say we approach life with play? AND if we were to give up some of the have-to’s, shoulds, and standards we think we need, we could actually approach life with play. What would it be like to look out to tomorrow and the future and say, “If I were playing make-believe with my life, what would I want it to look like?”
We are going to play in that space both physically and mentally in this Saturday’s workshop at Sacred Yoga. I would love to have you come play too! For more information and to register go here.