What makes you laugh?

August 7, 2009 at 12:30 am | Posted in laughter | 2 Comments
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I have learned to hold my so-called plans very loosely. This leaves so much more space and time for spontaneity and creativity and joy.

Those of you who’ve been a part of my journey for the last several years know that I launched my life’s work, Authentic Life Consulting, nearly 6 years ago. About that same time I began the 3-year process of earning my master’s degree. After completing my M.A., my dream/plan was to work with Authentic Life clients, facilitate groups, begin my first book, start a non-profit. None of those dreams have disappeared . . . but the timing has shifted a bit.

Fast-forward to several months ago when I made the agonizing decision to separate from my husband, move back to southern California where I grew up and, in many respects, start over again. Of course, one of the most significant “fresh start” elements involves getting back on track financially. It’s utterly amazing to me though, how some of this particular life aspect is being addressed.

I’m caring for three children, beautiful kids ages 1, 3 and 5, three mornings a week, and will soon be providing tutoring and after-school care for two more children, five afternoons a week.

There’s no way I could have foreseen these complementary opportunities, even just two months ago! Yet, they’re perfectly orchestrated. So, this is the first thing that makes me laugh, with amazement and relief — being reminded again that I have free will, intelligence, and energy, but ultimately, I’m not in control.

The second thing that makes me laugh is the sweet and unexpected gift of being with young children on a regular basis. Their silliness and honesty is so immediate and refreshing. What a blast!

What makes you laugh?

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Go outside and play!

April 8, 2008 at 8:55 pm | Posted in Play | 4 Comments
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“My dream is . . . “
“The thing I’m afraid to discover about my dream is . . . “
“If I actualize my dream, it will mean . . . “

These are the opening questions on one of the tools I generally ask my clients to complete in the first couple months of the Authentic Life process. For various reasons it’s not unusual for many people to feel unprepared to answer . . . but I think there’s one element that may make these questions seem especially challenging —

We’ve forgotten how to play. Or, perhaps, we never had a chance to learn.

A recent National Public Radio story by Alix Spiegel (“Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills”) reports on the negative effects on today’s children of limited or non-existent time for imaginative play. The kind of activity where kids have the freedom to create make-believe worlds, where they regulate their own play and make up their own rules.

You may have grown up being generously encouraged to play. Or you may have had little time to simply goof off because you were needed to work around the house, the yard, the family business, your church, or to care for family members. Much of your childhood may have been spent performing in sports or academic or beauty contests or, perhaps, you were busy with homework and lots of special classes and lessons.

Take a look at the pace of your adult life today. If you feel you’re always on the go without a moment to “play” (or relax or reflect or dream about what comes next in your life), ask yourself if your current choices are a continuation of choices that were made a long time ago.

As Spiegel notes, imaginative play fosters “concentration, effort, problem-solving, and task success” for children. Doesn’t it make sense that the same would be true for adults?

Good. Now go outside and play!

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