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.

 

 

 

Where’s Your Joy for Holidays?

“A great feeling of delight and happiness.” <-Definition of joy (Google). Yet, everyone’s joy is different. What gives me joy may not give you joy  – and vice versa. Holidays are a time when how we see joy is magnified. How we see not joy is also magnified. The skill is finding what brings you joy and doing that, and knowing what does not bring you joy and not doing that. Three lessons learned about joy for the holidays ->

Lesson 1 – Worn out people do not feel joy. They just feel tired, overwhelmed, and often resentful during the holiday season. So don’t be a worn out person. Take care of yourself. Sleep, eat, do something just for you, and then do all those other things that you are supposed to do. Remember that peace is supposed to be part of the holiday experience too.

Lesson 2 – Ignore the commercials. Those people are acting – and getting paid for it. It’s not real people being really happy from real experiences and real presents. The premise of every commercial is carefully studied and marketed to get their biggest bang from your buck. Yes, there are some good tearjerkers, and it’s human to relate to those moments. You just don’t have to run out to buy “the thing.” You will have those special moments anyway.

Lesson 3 – Get to the heart of the matter. Bring heart and happiness to yourself and others by spreading joy by doing things that bring you joy and then sharing those things with others. Like baking? Share your yummies with others. Like decorating? Have gatherings in your home. Like music? Play or sing with others. Like shopping? Send gifts near and far. Like contributing? Give time and/or money to charities . Like travel? Spend time with those you love in a new locale. The key is doing what YOU like, not what others think that you should like. Limit obligations and set your own agenda.

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) So find your holiday bliss. Do well, be happy, spread joy, and light it up this season.

 

 

We Laugh, Too

So I can feel what you feel. Just by being next to you. And here is the upside. I can feel your joy. I can sense your happiness. I can melt into your laughter. We can explode with mirth. And that is when it is a complete pleasure to be an empath.

Many empaths and highly sensitive people express how hard life can be to be constantly bombarded by other’s emotions. It is so. Sadness runs deep. Anger is overwhelming. When it’s your own. When it’s someone else’s, you can’t even dissipate or resolve it; you’re just sitting shotgun for the car ride. It is tough and exhausting, no doubt.

That being said and fully acknowledged, there are also times for empaths and HSPs where riding shotgun in the car is pure joy! It is an adventure of spirit with another person who is brave enough to ride along with you, oh intense one.

I have had the times of my life when I trusted the moment, trusted the companion, and went with the new experience. Yes, empaths can have fun, be fun, and enjoy the moment to the fullest. It is hard to express to others what it feels like for an empath to completely share joy with another person. It is like putting a magnifying glass to a feeling and dancing in the magnified light. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I have found that being in a new and beautiful place also intensifies the joyous experience. (Ok, I know, empaths can be intensity junkies!) To take in the new and wondrous together, to feel it with another…wow. Pick your own destination, but I like Nature as the perfect backdrop. Beauty and surroundings that touch all our senses enhance our bliss even further.

Moving through new landscapes by foot or by wheel, stopping at times to breathe it all in and capture the moment, brightens your soul. I can feel my light of joy growing inside, and I can feel yours too. For the shared moment, we are twin lights. And we shine brighter together in this shared joyful experience.

Take Me In Your Story, Please

Empaths and sensitive souls have mastered the art of escapism through stories. We hop in and go wherever the author takes us. It is a way that I have escaped many times while staying in one spot. It is freeing to let go of your imagination and be transported to new surroundings of time and place. You get to “meet” people you never would have known. You get to “experience” a place that you will never actually be. But because of our powers of empathy, we connect, we meet, we learn, we know.

Stories can be written words or spoken words. Stories are in books, in songs, in films, in Ted talks, in interviews, etc. They abound. And we are drawn to them. Because they increase our depth of experience. And they add to our emotional knowledge. And unlike real life, you get to pick the stories you want to enter.

For me, stories have always offered a needed escape. As a young child, I couldn’t wait to learn to read and see why my mother often had her head in a book. I wanted to know what was so fascinating and how I could get to that interesting place. As a teenager, I would play my music loudly and sing along with the band and be drawn in to their songs. Those words let me express how I was feeling too. I really like reading novels that transport me to another time and place and experience. When I’m reading a good book, I can tune out everything around me. I am in the moment with the characters. It’s the characters that get me every time. That goes for movies too.

This summer, I have been rehabbing my back. (True to form, like many empaths, I have back problems.) A saving grace for me this summer has been Hamilton. I have listened to it over and over again. This story and this music has captivated me. It makes me forget my troubles when I listen to it. I imagine what life was like for the characters/real people at that time. It shares joy and sorrow. But mostly, it inspires. And I need some inspiration right now.

So, when you need to forget your troubles, or escape from the mundane, take heart. There is an escape route nearby. Jump into a story.

My Faithful Companions Have Four Legs

My faithful companions have four legs. They also have big hearts. And they LOVE spending time with me. They are always happy to see me, and they are open, so open to life. They encourage connection and kindness and joy. Of course, I am talking about our pets.

What is so wonderful about having pets? Why do so many people have them? The human-animal-pet connection is unique. It is distinctive from the human-human connection, but both share the emotion of seeking and making a connection with other. Many pet owners will say that their pets are a joy and at times, a saving grace, in their lives. Because pets are givers. And they are loyal. They will stay with you and accept you and meet you where you are emotionally. They will stick by you through thick and thin, and they will not judge you. They are faithful friends.

Pets are also open to joyful adventure – both at home and outside. Their curiosity and joy de vie are beautiful to observe. Just watching pets play with stuff at home and watching their reactions to the world around can make you smile. It lightens your heart. And pets are born explorers. Some will go with you wherever you go….because they trust you completely. You can experience the world outside with them, and like them, through all your natural senses. And without speech, your senses are more open.

Google the benefits of pets, and you will find many reasons and much research to support the claim. Your physical and emotional and social health all benefit from your connection with your pets. And our pets keep us in the present moment. This is the biggest benefit and gift that they give to us.

“Pets serve as constant reminders to live in the moment because it is the only way they know how to live. While us humans ruminate over the past and worry about the future, pets simply live in the here and now. Their focus is on whatever is directly in front of them. Pets appear to be simple creatures but in many ways, they are much wiser than their owners. Next time you’re on a walk with your dog or sitting quietly with your cat, remember to stop, look around, and take in the beauty of the moment.” (Emily Holland, The Chopra Center).

Now go enjoy time with yours.