Play, Laughter, & Joy


“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.” ~ Catherine Rippinger Fenwick

Deep wounds take time to heal. When we are hurting, and when we are healing, we need to deliberately seek out play, laughter, and joy to help us heal. Play, laughter, and joy remind us that there is still good in the world and hope for us. They provide us with inspiration and relief when we need to take a break from the mental, emotional, and physical work of healing our wounds.

Feel like play is not an option for you? Well then broaden your view of play and/or spend time with playful people and children. If you can, be a participant. If you can’t, be a voyeur. Either way, the playful energy will have a positive effect on you and also give you more ideas on how to play. Karaoke anyone? Ultimate frisbee? Minature golf? Art night out with friends? Sing and dance in the kitchen? Flirt with your spouse? Etc….

People say that laughter is the best medicine. So how do we laugh when we are in the midst of healing? Look to others. Look to the survivors who have been through what you are going through and have lived to tell the tale infused with a little humor. Example – my mother told me that when she was struggling with depression, her mother told her “Well no one in our family has ever had mental health problems or had to see a psychiatrist.” I told my mom, “Well, now I don’t have to worry about that.” We couldn’t stop laughing. We can also watch comedies for escape to give us the chance to remember what laughter looks like and feels like – even if it is just a short reprieve.

And joy? Best places to see joy include time spent with friends, pets, and children. Fun friends bring their playful attitudes right to our doors. Pets are always happy to see us and often eager to play. Children’s natural play and joy brings us joy too. No pets or kids around you? There is always youtube to bring fun funny videos to your home.

Life is all about balance. Balancing the work of healing with (re-learning) the joy of living will speed the process.




When You Gotta Say I’m Sorry

“I need to be kindest to the man I love most in the world.” My thoughts the day after arguing. I teach kindness, but I wasn’t so kind to my guy last night. I made the wrong choice to be impatient, to be dismissive, to be unkind. Words were exchanged. Doors were closed. Feelings were hurt. And I felt our negative energy all night long. Was it worth it? No. Definitely no.

Arguments between significant others are often spontaneous displays of different agendas. I need this right now, but you want that right now. But I don’t care what you need or want right now. Aren’t you even listening to what I am saying? Something like that sound familiar? We all fall into that trap. Especially when we are tired or overwhelmed. Especially when we are working with little time left and little energy left. I would wager that most arguments like these happen at the end of a long day.

I am not at my best when I am exhausted. So what to do? (I do not live alone and I won’t be left alone.) You can own it. Affirm to yourself that you are tired and may be easily annoyed. Tell yourself not to engage in conflict (unless it is about something extremely important). Take some breaths and count or bite your tongue. Why? Because the fallout from an unimportant argument will be worse for you, oh sensitive one. You will feel bad for the rest of the night. Oh, and you will feel your partner’s bad. That’s double bad. Who wants to feel double bad?

If you’ve read my page for awhile, you will know that I love sunrises. Dawn is beautiful. Light, hope, and love return with each day. And we often see things more clearly in the morning. Begin the day with an honest apology. Extend the olive branch. Because really, you love this person more than anything, and this person loves you just as much. So tell them with an I’m sorry.







Bent Not Broken

I am bent not broken. Literally. My S shaped spine swerves to the left and then to the right. Untreated in childhood, the curve got more pronounced in adulthood. From the front, I look rather fine. From the back, I look rather crooked. So what?

So I had to make life changes. My S changed me and changed my world. How? It made me change my behavior. Goodbye no exercise. Hello yoga and walking. Goodbye soda. Hello water and yogurt. Goodbye crossed legs bent over when seated. Hello sit up straight. And a special hello to lying on the floor in the morning when I awake and at night before I get in bed which is both pain relieving and grounding.

Why am I telling you this? You probably don’t have scoliosis. I am telling you this because when life throws you a curve (literally for me 😉 ) you still have choices about how to deal with it.

When we feel broken in body or broken in spirit, our first response is often despair. That’s okay. It is the stage one of why me and this isn’t fair. (Unfortunately, fair has nothing to do with it.) More stages will follow, and we go through each one as slowly or as quickly as our condition allows. Some things we try will not work for us. Some advice we get will not work for us. But we journey on. Attitude and curiosity will be our constant companions as we seek the right, though winding, path for us. Healing is never a straight line.

Do I wish that I did not have a roller coaster of a spine? You bet. Yet, I recognize that the changes I made to manage my condition have made my life better. My health is better. My outlook is better. And I know that I would not have made these changes without the pain. Discomfort is a catalyst for healthy growth and daily self-care.

And when I am feeling worn out, I walk a few blocks from my house to look at the willow trees hanging over the lake nearby. They are bent. They are beautiful. And they are just the way they are supposed to be.