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The Spirit of Play

Boy do I need a retreat!  All work and no play is making Cheryl a dull girl.

It's not like I work all the time.  But what's been happening over the last couple of months as I've been ramping up my coachingand retreat business is that I find myself thinking about work too much of the time.  And continuing to work after "quitting time."  Because there is always "one more thing" that would be good to do.  And one more thing after that, and one more thing after that…

Another thing that's been happening is that I've been taking work much too "seriously."  So that work that used to feel like play is now feeling more often like, well, "work."   And the third thing that has been happening is that I haven't been using my downtime – my playtime, so to speak - to do things that really feed my soul and replenish my energy. 

All of this came to the surface as I started to prepare for the upcoming "Spirit of Play" virtual retreat.   What I want is to take my life seriously, but live it lightly.  And that includes work.  And what I want is to bring a spirit of play into my life, including my work.  And what I want is to just be myself,  and to bring my whole self into both my work and my play. 

So I'm planning to retreat and regroup and have some fun this weekend.  Without leaving my family.  Because retreat, like play, is as much as a state of mind as anything.  And I don't want to retreat from my family – I want to engage with them. 

So here's my plan:
  1. Start every day with by connecting to Spirit – in bed – before any demands for breakfast or  invitations for canoeing or distractions to read or write or quilt can intervene.

  2. Organize family and/or solo hikes to places of particular beauty – high overlooks or secluded ponds.  Scenic vistas feed my soul – and the exercise to get there is great for my body.

  3. Enjoy the natural beauty all around – even when we go into town or out in the motorboat.  Be mindful of the sights, sounds, and smells of nature, and of man-made beauty as well.

  4. Soak up the sun, if it chooses to grace us.  If it does not, choose to find a way to savor the beauty of the gloomy or rainy days.

  5. Ask a friend to lend me a great novel in case I feel like reading (no personal development  reading allowed!)

  6. Take a technology fast.

  7. If I catch myself thinking about work, acknowledge that, focus my attention elsewhere and let the thought pass through without attachment.  Or – if it's a good one – write it down and forget about it until Tuesday.

  8. Allow myself the freedom to write (even about "work") IF that's what I really want to do.  I often get a creative rush when I'm on vacation and in nature, and I want to both honor that and ride the wave.  So writing – and even a bit of journaling – is OK, but no sitting down to write something in particular. 

  9. End each day with a prayer of gratitude for this time with my family (regardless of what scuffles have occurred during the day) and for this opportunity for a retreat-without-retreating.
I'll let you know how it goes!

P.S.  Please share your thoughts or links on the spirit of play below.

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