Often we solve problems when we are feeling relaxed or playful. When we feel playful we get our creative juices going and we brainstorm without censoring ourselves and we’re less likely to run into doubts, worries, and we can circumvent fear by just stepping over or around it. But as adults, we lean towards seriousness and we walk around with that smug look of self-importance as we gab on our cell phones or text someone as we go about another day of multitasking.
I remember when technology (computers, digital cameras, digital music devices, etc) first came out and these devices provided fun distractions or we used them only for work and did other things for fun such as hiking, bicycling, flying kites, or hanging out with friends in a park. We still do those things of course, but it seems these days we have knocked the wind or fun out of us. Even children have less playtime than children of the past as they are rushed about from this lesson, sports team or other extra activity. Where’s the fun in that? Less is more and we don’t have to know how to do everything. We don’t have to be virtuosos or geniuses and in fact, we would probably feel less stressed out if we did not aim so high.
So what is the remedy for all this stress and self-importance? Playing music, singing, dancing, drumming, watching children’s movies, flying kites, skipping on a beach when the tide is out, gazing at the moon and stars at night (while making wishes), exploring the natural world with a sense of wonder. When is the last time you laughed with friends over silly things? When is the last time you even gave your attention to something you consider silly? In Bellingham, Washington, each spring, children and adults dress up like animals and plants and parade through downtown (this also happens in Olympia, Washington). How’s that for silly? (Look up Procession of the Species parade on YouTube). And no, you don’t have to get drunk or stoned to have fun. That doesn’t even count.
I’m not saying that we should not take our lives seriously and act irresponsible but I am saying that we need to lighten up at least during some portion during the day. We actually get inspired when we let go and have fun. And I know there are some adults who have fun by joining a local sports team, taking painting classes or dance classes, skiing, snowboarding and camping. And if you’re an adult who enjoys these things, just make sure you don’t get caught up in the self-importance of having to have the right equipment, brand name clothing and instead, just let yourself go.
Some people have pets to remind them to relax and enjoy life. Often I hear of people’s dogs acting silly to get the adult (their human companion) away from the phone, TV or computer. And speaking of pets, you can watch funny animal videos on YouTube or make your own. Laughter is awesome medicine which is why I write comic novels. Writing funny stories such as flash fiction, telling jokes (as long as they’re not racist or sexist), relieves stress too and sometimes harmless pranks (April Fool’s Day any day) lightens the moods of those around you.
There are times to take life seriously and times to take a break from seriousness. Laughter and fun can bring much needed healing to stressful situations. Remember the scene in Patch Adams where the doctor played by Robin Williams clowns around with the children in the cancer ward? And I want to bring the Emergency Circus from Bellingham, Washington to your attention too. This circus troupe travels North American spreading joy to nursing homes, hospitals, food bank lines and other places where people suffer. (See links below).
So let’s lighten up and bring enlightenment to the world.