Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Finding Joy

A good friend shared an article the other day on the absent imagery of our US President and his family at ease and at play.  The article reflected back on Ronald Reagan on his horse or chopping wood, the Kennedy's frolicking on the sea shore, W at his ranch, his Dad out fishing with the grandkids, and other scenes.  This is important imagery for all of us.  It shows balance.  Humanity.  Connection.  Joy.

To me, it highlighted the importance of play.  Especially when life sucks.  And more so when we're leading the charge.  Play unlocks the joy of simply being alive.  Even when we have very little, or are oppressed, depressed, or stressed, play works wonders.  Play draws us to our center.

A walk to nowhere in particular.  A morning coffee basking in the rising sun.  A hike to a high spot with a view.  A downhill mountain bike ride.  A paintbrush and a blank canvas.  Getting a sweat on not because you need a sculpted body but because you simply love getting a sweat on! Creating movement or art.  Finding the "yahoo!"

The second part of play (and equally as important!) for me is to reflect on how I've played.  To remember it.  To hold an image of what it means to play.  To feel joy.  Because, according to the neuroscience folks, simply remembering a playful or joyful time lets your brain chemistry re-live it again!*  Even listening (or viewing, in the case of our previous Presidents) to someone else's story of play gives us the same neuro transmitter boost.  We 

all feel better.

I've written about play before.  So, consider this is a gentle reminder in the midst of a remarkable year.

Yesterday, along with two buddies, I wrapped up "The Seven Summit County Summits in One Summer Season."  Of the 54 or so 14,000 foot high peaks in Colorado, seven of them are in my county and I got on top of them all this year.  I love the views connecting the dots between the different mountain ranges.  The lung pain and light headedness on the ascent.  The sore feet and knees on the descent.  I love it all.  I'm stiff today and I love that too.  I feel alive.  And, that's how I find joy.  How about you?



(*Cue up Simon Sinek's "Leaders Eat Last")

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