Words of Wellness

January 11, 2013 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

"An Attitude of Playfullness"

† † †Above is a photo with a quote that was posted on our Living Compass Facebook page a few days ago. We use our Facebook page regularly to share inspiring quotes and wisdom that are aligned with our Living Compass approach to being well with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind. We usually get good responses to what we post, but the response to this particular photo and quote has been exceptional. Many of our Living Compass friends "shared" it with their friends on Facebook and as a result thousands of people have now seen this post. Furthermore, we are able to see that dozens of "friends of friends" have continued to share it and so, on and on it goes. Obviously, this photo and quote struck a cord with folks!

† † †So the question this begs of course, is why did this one post get so much interest? I think the reason this post on Facebook moved so many people is that most of us have more than enough "seriousness" in our lives and what we indeed desire and need is more playfulness. I can certainly relate to that, and most of the people I talk with everyday express this sentiment as well. Growing older is inevitable. Being playful as we grow older is a choice. A few people I spoke with responded to the photo with comments such as, "I wish had the time or money to go on a beach vacation like that, but that's not going to happen anytime soon." For these people, the photo might have, unfortunately, have actually created more stress and seriousness rather than playfulness!

† † †Perhaps it would be helpful if we expanded our understanding of playfulness to include much more than merely going on a vacation. I believe that playfulness is not primarily something we do, but is rather an attitude, an outlook on life that we choose. In many situations and endeavors, we can choose to bring either a very serious or a very playful energy and outlook to the situation. I know for myself, the attitude I bring to any conversation has a direct impact on all those around me. If I am grumpy and serious, the conversation we will both feel tense and constricted, and I'll grow older a lot faster! If I decide instead to start the conversation with humor and good will, the conversation will be lighter and expansive and we will feel that way as well.

Mother Theresa once wrote that people should not worry about whether they are doing many great, heroic acts of love in their lives, but rather they should focus on doing all the little things they do in life with great love.

† † †This seems to work regarding the importance of play, too. Let's not just wait for the big, special vacation to play. Let's find a way to bring playfulness into all of the little things we do each day. Of course, some things we do and some situations we encounter can only be very serious. Most of time though, there is room for us to bring a greater spirit of playfulness into our lives and into our relationships. Think for a moment about people that energize you when you are around them. I would guess that they are people who have a good balance of playfulness and seriousness in their lives and in their interactions with you.

† † †The good feeling we get from the photo of the couple playing in the waves reminds us how important it is to take time to be playful. Being playful in the breaking ocean waves comes pretty easily for most of us. We will most likely have to work a little harder though to keep a playful attitude in the midst of the waves of stress that break fairly regularly in our daily lives. Life is indeed quite serious at times, but it's also presents more opportunities to be playful than we perhaps realize. So whether or not you are going to be heading to a beach anytime soon, remember that deciding to be playful is as much an attitude as it is an activity.

What are your thoughts about why this photo and quote received such a positive response on our Facebook page? Email us your thoughts and also thoughts about having a playful attitude in general. Or better yet, "like" our Living Compass Facebook page and share your thoughts there!

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