I’ve never been a particularly playful person. I’ve always had a mothering instinct, even around my friends, and have wanted to make sure everyone was safe and happy. I’ve tried not to be a downer, and I’ve actually saved a few lives (you’re welcome Jonathan), but when things start to get out of control, I’m the one that breaks out the first aid kit.
Oh, how I envy those of you that can giggle and jump around like idiots, playing with abandon, having an amazing time dodging cars or leaping across canyons just to see if you can do it.
I always thought that this ‘mothering instinct’ would make me a great mother. Until I became one.
Being constantly vigilant for any sign of impending doom isn’t something you can do for very long. And when major accidents happen on your watch, the intense feeling of guilt is overwhelming. Replaying events over and over in your head, wondering what you could have done differently, and blaming yourself for not being able to prevent them certainly doesn’t lend itself to happiness very well.
My inability to just let go has gotten progressively worse since the traumatic events I’ve had with my children. I’ve been unable to dance. (Not that I was ever really good in the first place, but that’s not what dance is about. It’s about letting go and surrendering. Well, at least, it should be.) I’ll think about the next mistake I’m going to make the entire time I’m playing guitar, which isn’t for very long. I fuss over every little detail of stupid things that don’t matter. My inclination towards perfectionism has gotten out of control.
Well, if you don’t acknowledge and accept something, you can’t change it. And I want to change this. If I had to choose one thing I hate about the way I’ve been acting, it’s this: I haven’t been able to let go enough to play. I’ve had enough of it. It’s a shitty way to live and I don’t want to end up as that crotchety old woman who screams at children to get off her perfectly manicured lawn.
My chronic, or fixed, tone (or the place where I “lived” most of my life) on the Tone Scale is between 2.8 (Contentment) and 20.0 (Action). That’s a great place to live. Usually, I’m easily contented, interested in lots of stuff, downright cheerful, and can become exhilarated easily. If I’m bored, I can easily come up with something awesome to do. I like to create stuff and have a ton of hobbies–sewing, painting, crocheting, music, cooking, writing, and learning about everything, just to name a few. It’s a bit harder for me to maintain the higher levels of my fixed tone for long periods of time (especially Action), but I can do it. After all, it’s in my nature to be cheerful, supportive, and optimistic.
For the last year, it’s like I fell down quite a few rungs on a ladder. Instead of being bored, I experienced monotony as one of my highest emotions. I was easily moved to anger, resentment, anxiety, and fear. This wasn’t natural for me but I didn’t realize why I was so miserable all the time. I didn’t know why I no longer enjoyed any of my wonderful hobbies, or why I would get pissed off and upset if I made a mistake. I wasted time, didn’t want to get out of bed, and would stare off into space for long periods of time when I could have been doing something productive. I didn’t want to do anything productive. What was the point?
Just realizing that the trauma and stress in my life had lowered my fixed tone to something I wasn’t happy with has made all the difference. I’m already almost back up to where I used to be. (Look at me, I’m taking Action right now, writing this post! I also vacuumed out my car today! That’s a big deal, folks.) I’m interested in stuff again. I’m excited, and optimistic that life is going to get so much better. I can make it better. I already have.
That brings me back to play. If you take a look at where Games is on the scale, you’ll realize why people that are naturally inclined to play tend to be super happy and have everything going right for them in their lives. They’re positive, and put positive energy out into the world (Postulates). Some of these people are downright serene. They live on the higher end of the scale. Over the last year, I couldn’t play, even if I’d wanted to; it’s next to impossible to jump up that many rungs on the ladder. I don’t care how good your box jumps are, if you’re on the ground level you’ve got to haul yourself up, one rung at a time, until you’ve reached the top.
My intention for this trip is to bust out of my comfort zone, and play. I don’t care what I’m doing, but I’m going to play. I’m going to run in the woods like a little kid and giggle like a schoolgirl. I’m going to dance and sing. I’m going to surrender to the beauty and randomness of the moment and just…let go.
[box] What’s your fixed tone? Where do you live? Be honest with yourself about the emotions you experience on a daily basis. Now think back to the way you were as a little kid. Have you always been this way? Even if the answer is yes, you can change it. You’ve just got to pick yourself up.[/box]
Looking for ways to get more play into your life? If you’re in the London, UK area, check out this event with the master of play, Mr. Darryl Edwards. If you can’t make it this week, there will be more events in the future, so connect with them on Facebook.
[box]Please support me on my journey by purchasing a copy of my Magical Multipurpose Paleo Dough Recipe. It’s well worth the four bucks and your donations will help greatly as I strive to find balance, relief from anxiety, and a way back home.