Playing Around IN Mindfulness

“Limitation is the condition of our lives. What matters — what allows us to reach beyond ourselves, as we are, and push at the boundaries of our ability — is that we continue. But then everything depends on how we practice, what we practice.” -Jim Holt

When I was a kid I used to roll through the leaves and see if I could do it in a way that none of the leaves would stick to me. It was fun rolling through the leaves and trying not to get stuck. Of course my mom would get upset because I would get my clothes all dirty but that game that I played with myself as a kid formed the basis of how I practice mindfulness today.

I suppose that as a six foot five adult it would look funny if I was to roll through the leaves on my street (even though I want to). The neighbors would think I am nuts. But from moment to moment, on most days, this is what I am doing in a more metaphorical way. I am rolling around in a plethora of thoughts and emotions and trying not to get stuck.

If mindfulness practice is done correctly it should be fun. It should be a form of play. Even though it is not easy to roll through thoughts and emotions without getting stuck, it can be done. And by being immersed in the process of mindful play, day-to-day life becomes a continual practice of rolling around and trying not to get stuck. And it is in those spaces where we do not get stuck that we can begin to have some fun.

A lot of the time that I rolled through the leaves I would get leaves all over me. It happened more than it didn’t. I would get leaves in my ears, nose, mouth, pants and shoes. This was not so much fun but such was the nature of the game and I knew that this was part of the deal. The fun part was in the rolling, the brushing off of the leaves and then trying again and again. This is what made it playful. The repetition of trying again and again.

This is probably why I am a happier person when I am mindful. It is not so much that being more present makes me happier (even though it can). I am happier and healthier because but I am involved in a playful process that brings more joy, meaning, creativity and purpose into my life.

If you are not having fun with mindfulness practice then it is possible that you are not spending enough time rolling around in the leaves. Roll around some more. Keep rolling. Try not to take yourself so darn seriously. Try and see if you can roll around in thoughts and emotions without getting stuck in them. When you do get stuck, brush them off and try again. Breath by breath by breath- mindfulness practice is teaching us how to have fun.

We are literally re-learning how to play again.


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