“Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old mother nature’s recipes
That bring the bare necessities of life”
from The Jungle Book movie
Beulah goes on, “So just try and relax, cool it.” Lately in my life, I’ve been to live by these words from the Jungle Book movie. Summertime really brings out that part of life that says “Slow down!” “Notice me!” The heat and long days slow us down and then all of the magic unfolds: the flowers, the smell of rain, the cool river, the song of the katydids, the luminous fireflies… They all come and go way too fast, so I’m doing my best to embrace every moment of it.
Summertime also reminds me to play. I mean really play! For instance, I am learning to hoop dance, and I’m having a blast! I’ve taken classes and done some online tutorials, but now I’m learning to turn it into art by taking out my hoop to play instead of working on technique. I’m just doing what feels good and whatever comes to my mind. Most of the time it’s just spinning the hoop on my waist, and that’s just fine!
There is a yogic concept called non-grasping that comes to mind here. In our culture, we are used to striving to achieve something and then measuring ourselves against others through competition. This striving attitude is pervasive in our society. We judge people’s worth on what competitions they’ve won or by the letters behind their name. We push ourselves to achieve and then become frustrated pretty easily when we don’t live up to our expectations. (I’m guilty of this one!) We push our children to perform at gymnastics, baseball, and football. We even push ourselves in yoga class. Sometimes, I wonder what happened to the idea of play for the sake of play instead of winning or being the best. I think the concept of play just might save us.
I believe Beulah when he says, “If you act like that bee, you’re working too hard.”
Play is spontaneous, it is not planned. It is creative, not structured. It has no end—there is no achievement or goal. It is one of the single most important aspects of life.
Will you join me to bring play back to the world?