A vital ingredient in celebrating spontaneity in life is playfulness.
I tend to overwork and find it hard to take time off. I’m so grateful I decided to have some playtime recently and took the ferry to Lanai to go to the beach. I was rewarded by the experience of a lifetime. I was in the water with a huge pod of playful dolphins singing in my ears and entertaining me with their playful leaps and spins. I cried tears of joy and amazement as they connected with me and shared their spontaneous lust for life.
The dolphins weren’t holding back, thinking about how to love or live: they were purely embracing the magical moment. We are spontaneous and alive like this as babies, loving fearlessly what life brings. Somewhere along the way we lose this sparkle and spirit, forgetting the value of play.
To dive fearlessly into life, consciously seeing the presence of love in each situation, leads one into a deeper experience of living. Life is an ocean, and we are like the dolphins. We have an opportunity to swim like dolphins in a sea of love. This immersion in love is constant, regardless of how the mind wants to separate, classify, and judge what is happening in the rest of the ocean.
There are many ways we hide from love. We may hold to past hurt and not forgive and let go. We may drown our feelings in drugs or alcohol, overworking, sex, TV. We lose ourselves in our egos of destruction, rather than identifying with our spirits of expansion and lightness.
The contrast between embracing life and love, and invoking numbness and destruction, was acutely present for me this morning. First, as I pushed my one year-old grandson in his stroller, I watched with delight as he bounced and swayed to some internal magical music. He grinned widely at me and there was a twinkle of complete love and joy in his eyes. He was celebrating being alive just like the dolphins do.
Later I was on the phone with a close relative. He told me he had just spent the night in jail because of a DUI. He was already drunk on this beautiful new morning. As he spoke words of self-pity and victimization, I couldn’t feel any life essence coming from him. How did he lose his pure childlike love of life?
Surely, forgetting to be playful even in the worst of times can lead to depression, addictions, and many other states of dysfunction. Isolation may set in and one may get more and more disconnected from the sea of life. Regular doses of play and levity can heal the heart and create a sense of ease and flow.
Fourteen years ago, after my marriage of 16 years with four children ended, I was devastated and did many things to numb the pain. However, something that greatly accelerated my heart healing was being a kindergarten teacher, hugging the children every morning, playing games with them at recess. I gradually re-learned to appreciate the pleasure of each moment and release my pain, rebuilding my life with happiness and play as its foundation.
We may all lose our way in life’s difficult situations, but if we take a moment to remember what we came into the world knowing, that life is brimming with love and joy, we can return to that effortless state of peace. We can let go and play in boundless celebration as a dolphin does, spontaneous, alive and free.