Summer is Playtime!

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July 10, 2012 by Beth Hess

I’ve been so busy actually living my summer, I haven’t had much time to write about it. So here’s a link to a post from last summer … just as timely now.

Creativity. Play. Rest. Each is severely undervalued in today’s currency. And it’s much deeper than being busy.  I am learning that our adult detachment from the activities we did naturally as children is not about maturing and responsibility. It’s about fear and hiding and comparison. And it’s time to let go and have some fun!

As I turned my attention back to Brene’ Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfections recently, I was pleased to notice the next 2 Guideposts talk about Creativity, Play, and Rest. What better time than summer to embrace and practice these keys to Wholehearted Living?!?

Brown describes Cultivating Creativity as Letting Go of Comparison. Little by little our willingness to show our creative uniqueness becomes overrun by our need to fit in. Handmade outfits seem shameful next to the latest mall fashions. Standing out in our style, decor, personality, vehicle, and more become a flashing red sign… “I’m not like you. Make fun of me.”  Why doesn’t Unique mean Special anymore?

Cultivating a Life of Play is about Letting Go of Equating Productivity with Self-Worth. What’s the purpose of play? What is the reward of play? Unless you can hit a 100-mile-per-hour fastball or pull off a 360-degree dunk, many would argue that play serves no practical purpose. Of course, the secret is this… that’s why play is FUN! Play researcher Stuart Brown says it this way, “The opposite of play is not work — the opposite of play is depression.” Wholehearted people make time for purposeless play.

And when did being exhausted become a status symbol? Why is rest considered a weakness? I’m tired of being tired – how about you? As a nation, we take fewer vacation days than almost any other. And we’re proud of it?? We were made for more than that!

So in the spirit of Creativity, Play, and Rest, here’s a look of what I’ve been up to so far this summer… * We redecorated Christian’s room while he was gone to Grandma & Grandpa’s, meaning I pulled out my sewing machine and paints. I searched through thrift stores to find fun, unusual decor. I repurposed found items in new ways. (Our old padded headboard is now a bulletin board behind his desk.) And man, was that fun!! * I’ve been trying new recipes and eating new foods, getting creative with food combinations. The results have been pretty yummy! * We’ve been to the beach as often as possible. Sometimes you’ll find me in my chair reading a book. Sometimes I’m stretched out on the blanket taking a nap. Sometimes I’m the one on the rainbow boogie board. * We went to a waterpark (my first visit since I was a teenager) – I rode big slides and giggled when I finished. * I drove a GoKart. * We went to the zoo and took the time to sit and watch. Relaxing. Resting. And we were rewarded with seeing the baby chimp, giant turtles in the lake near the entrance everyone else moved right past, and so much more. * I have played golf in the middle of the week. * I challenged Christian in Skee-Ball at ChuckE.Cheese.

I have not always acted my age or used my inside voice or followed the leader. And it feels pretty good.

What have you been doing this summer? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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