Remembering what fun feels like!

I’ve been taking life a bit too seriously recently I think.

I didn’t know that until quite recently, when I met Ruth Humphreys, a storyteller who got me thinking about the place of play in my life.

I have been reflecting on this idea of play, and wondering why I am not better at it.

I have a 7 year old child, and I am terrible at playing!

Board games I can do, and I LOVE reading stories, but anything where I have to pretend, and surrender my version of reality I struggle with.

Yesterday though, we played.

We went to the local sport centre for swimming, completely forgetting that there were lessons on so the pool was closed.

The receptionist suggested badminton, and after my initial reluctance (I have memories of badminton lessons with a very creepy male teacher when I was a kid!) figured we may as well go for it.

Oh my god, I am so glad I did.

Both of us were terrible at it, but it didn’t matter.

For nearly an hour we played, we fell over (well he did, while I nearly keeled over with laughter), we talked, we got competitve and we were an amazing team, and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

I cannot remember the last time I laughed so heartily for so long with such unbridled joy.

The whole evening was brilliant fun, we played as we went to the railway station after our game, we played while we were there, we played on the train and we played on the walk from the station to the house.

My inner child had a wonderful time, and my external child (whose name is Marcus) did too.

My inner child was already in heaven because I got given a new bike yesterday, and had the delight of cycling for the first time in years.

My inner child is also bouncing with excitement about the fact that we are now owners of a Yoga Trapeze, and cannot WAIT to get it put up and experiement with Marcus!

My inner child is reminding my how much fun it is to really dance like no one is watching wherever and whenever you feel the urge to dance.

She is nagging me to go back to the beach, or to go for a walk, so that we can be in nature again.

I always used to think of play as something that was only for children, and pretty much inaccessible for me as an adult, but I can see how wrong I was.

Play is VITAL for our wellbeing regardless of how old we are.

Play helps us to be in the moment, and stops us worrying about the past or the future.

Play allows us to be in our truth, and to do things without worrying about what others think, or feeling shame about how or who we are.  you want to run ‘Phoebe Buffay’ style through the park, go for it!  It will feel amazing!

Play helps our brains to work differently, to make new connections and see the world differently.

And above all, play helps us to be less stressed, and even if just for a few minutes, connects us with the joy and innocence of those moments in childhood when we have no worries, no responsibiities, no shame, no ‘should’s.

My inner 8 year old cannot wait to go out of the bike, and fly on the Yoga trapeze, what does yours want to do?

April is Stress Awareness month, and I am running a month long “Stressed to Serene UnChallenge” to give you a good bank of tools to help you to maange, control and maybe even eliminate stress in your life.  If you would like to know more about this, read here and sign up, it’s going to be a fun and enjoyable journey, with play involved!! 🙂

Esther Nagle
After 20 years of alcohol addiction that she couldn't and wouldn't acknowledge, Esther was forced to face all her demons at once when she had a breakdown. This led her to Yoga Teacher training, where she learned to bring her demons out, to talk to them, to soothe them, forgive them and loosen their grip on her life. On October 12 2014, she decided she never wanted to feel the pain and shame of a hangover again, and, by living the yoga she was taught, she has been sober ever since. She is now a Yoga teacher, recovery mentor, author and host of the Sober Living Rocks podcast

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