Sunday, December 29, 2013

Where Are All the Imps & Mischievous Ones?

Being The Pink Dog of Happiness
I have something serious to talk to you about. It's been up on my radar for a bit.  Yesterday I began a conversation with myself about it and then I continued the conversation today with my daughter.  I realized it's a seldom discussed subject and perhaps we are all really starved for it. Before you peek at the next sentence, can you guess what it is?  If this were a card I'd have a little bit of paper covering the word but I can't do that here. Hopefully your crafty eyes have not darted ahead and you have filled in your own special word about what you think we all need more of in our lives and are not really getting.

I've been thinking about fun. Fun and lightness, lightheartedness, and my personal favourites foolishness, perhaps even impishness.  Where are the imps and mischievous ones these days?  It seems to me what our culture often sells us as fun is merely escapism and indulgence. Not to say that a movie or a novel, a dish of ice cream or a new toy can't be fun.  But at the end of the day how does it make you feel, that's the question I've been asking myself.  Do I feel nourished and restored or do I just need more? Do I feel joyful and revived or a little dirty?  Am I  on the prowl for something else? Or do I feel a little used and empty after that last new sweater or the eggnog latte?  Those are the the little elf questions that have been popping up and asking me to look at the details that make up my life.

An ocean of fun at Tofino, BC

Our culture is so busy convincing us of all the things we need to have and do to have fun, messing with our heads and hearts in sly marketing kinds of ways.  Just today as I waited to watch a Ustream teaching, a kindle advert told me that if I liked to read, I'd want the new kindle. It showed me happy pictures of young women with cats on their laps, cozy sleeping partners nestled beside them.  Surely my life would be more fun with a kindle?  And if I didn't buy a new kindle was the implication, I didn't like to read? Fun it seems has been hijacked, kidnapped, gagged and tied by the advertising industry, made into a thing, a lifestyle.  They have sucked all the life out of fun and put a price tag on it (whoops, that little rant was no fun was it?) Note to self, the truth is not always fun. Back to fun.  Are we having any yet?

When I took the awakening joy course, James Baraz asked people to do things that were fun for them.  Hmmm, a lot of us had to stop and think about that.  How do I have fun?  What do I regard as fun? Do you have some fun everyday?  I think often I am so busy getting done what needs to be taken care of, that I forget about fun.  I often choose work.  I like to cross those things off my to do list and fun isn't on it.  I have even watched myself doing things that I think should be fun and realized for whatever reason, that I'm not really having fun, I'm not fully engaged.  I'm half there, watching myself, watching others.  I might be noticing petty annoyances (it's cold out) or thinking about the next thing I have to do.

Fun Spots Tofino BC

I once heard a yoga teacher make an interesting comment.  She said something like, "I pretty much resist everything, except lying on the couch drinking a latte."  And I could identify with that!  I could see how I look forward to things until it's time to do them and then by some strange twist of mind, I'd rather stay home or do something else.  I read some research a while ago that made me realize I'm not alone.  People expressed the most happiness when "planning a vacation".  Not actually taking the vacation, but planning it was the fun part.  Hmmm.


So I realized a couple of things.  Culturally fun isn't valued for adults.  And many of us don't really know what is truly fun for us, what feeds us and nourishes us.  I'm not talking about fun substitutes, you know the tofurkey of fun, nope I'm talking about the meaty, luscious, drippy stuff that makes us smile from the inside out, leaves us feeling full and satisfied, corners of the mouth turned upwards.  And to find that thing we have to be like the Sherlock Holmes of fun, snooping around for signs, just the smallest ones, for those mid afternoon shafts of sunlight across the floor, the handful of paint chips we surreptitiously collected at the hardware store for no reason at all other that we like those colours.
A little Buddha 6"x6"

The more I explored the idea of fun, the more I realized that like so many things, it was an attitude of mind, something that comes from the inside and radiates out, not the other way around.  If you spend time with children, you probably know about fun.  They don't need much, a couple of fingers to turn into a spider, a cardboard box that becomes a house.  Fun is everywhere if you know "how" to find it.

You know how people pick words that they want to focus on for the next year, important words, weighty, thoughtful words like silence and love.  I've never been very successful with that. My words usually crinkle up and dry out by the first week of January.  Some years I find them all mouldy and sour under the couch.  But maybe FUN could be my word for 2014.  Maybe at the end of 2014 if I explored fun with enough gusto I'll have a great big freeway of neural pathways with on and off ramps that flash the word "fun" in big neon letters.  Who knows, but it could be fun.  I'll keep you posted.  And if you really want to have a little fun, watch this bonus video below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCyw3prIWhc

21 comments:

  1. The Tofurkey of fun! This will have me giggling enough to fill my fun quota for the year!

    It's important to have fun with everything and lately I admit I've been slacking off in that regard. So back to the drawing board to purge all the plans, dismiss all the dismal, and on with the fireworks of fun!

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  2. fireworks of fun, sounds like a good way to start the new year! and a grandkid, that sounds like lots of opportunity for fun!

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  3. thanks for the bonus video, carole... that *was* fun. : )

    i think that having fun is a radical act; a form of civil disobedience. and even *thinking* about that is fun to me. ; )

    xoxo

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    1. You are fun! And your people are fun! And I do like the idea of fun as a form of civil disobedience! And your right it brings a smile to my face.

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  4. Fun is a strange word and possibly a strange concept. It's all hyped up to mean something other than what one is likely doing at the moment, something to look forward to but not something happening now. Something that perhaps fills one with a kind of glitzy goofiness -- like, oh boy, aren't we having fun now?!
    I think perhaps enjoyment is a better benchmark of our days than fun is. I probably don't do anything someone else would think of as fun -- I don't travel, I don't socialize really, I don't go out to meals or clubs or movies, I don't do any of those things the culture says are fun things to do.
    And yet my day-to-day life is filled with enjoyment. I enjoy my moments, I enjoy challenging myself creatively, I enjoy being with my cat, I enjoy sitting on the couch and just being. I don't know whether those things would be considered fun. But they fulfill me.

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  5. You are right, Connie, words can get strange. They can point toward or away from what we really mean. I know in "awakening joy" people had trouble with the word joy which sounds kind of like you describe fun, as too exuberant in a way, So yes if enjoyment fits for you, then enjoyment it is.

    And I do think what we find enjoyable or fun is very personal. It's a bit like the examined life or living with intention. As long as we're not all work and lists and suffering and distractions, that's what I'm thinking about. And a big yes to cats and creative pursuits and just being.

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  6. By the time one tries to analyse what "FUN" is, it aint fun anymore... :-) But do "ENJOY" your musings/philosophications!!!

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  7. ha ha, agreed, fun is for having, Bernard! As in photo taking, and poetry writing and bread baking. Some people have all the fun.

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  8. I had fun yesterday. How do I know that? I was smiling, giggling, totally engaged and excited.

    What was I doing? A dear friend and I were experimenting in the studio. Neither of us knew what would happen, but we were trying something new.

    That is the point of fun I think. To be totally in that moment. To feel lifted up. It was so much fun!

    For me reading or working alone in the studio, or walking by the ocean is fun in a different way. Also fun, uplifting and refreshing but none of the giggles of exploration. Both valuable.

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    1. yes, laughing and giggling are definite signs of fun! sounds like a wonderful time, "playing" in the studio. That's it in a way, doing something without a goal, just mucking about.

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  9. Hear hear ! I was told only the other I should take life more seriously ! Why ?

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    1. well you must be on the right track if someone told you to take life more seriously! They must have been envying your fun!

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  10. Love your "Little Buddha"! And your playfulness with words.

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  11. thanks Kris! and yes I do have fun with words, thanks for reminding me of that.

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  12. Yesterday I was taking a walk down the road near our house and came across the neighbour's Burmese cat rolling around in the leaves. Our neighbour soon joined me and we giggled about what fun it would be to roll around on our backs in the leaves. Of course we didn't succumb but I walked home smiling. The creeping-up-upon-you-unawares type of fun is my favourite. Sitting side by side (my husband and I) in church at a funeral when we both see the joke in something and know it is the wrong time to laugh and holding it in, shuddering with trapped mirth until sides splitting, tummy aching, tears rolling down faces we spew out of the church taking refuge behind a big bush, hanging on each other , allowing ourselves whispered laughter .... which is not easy let me tell you. That's fun! Leslie's spontaneous studio time with a friend is my kind of fun and walking along a hard beach, realizing I'm alone but safe, and feeling laughter bubbling up from the sheer joy of being free in the wilderness.... oh what fun! Thanks Carol, I needed to think about what fun is to me. Yes FUN should be your word for the year! Loved the video too.

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    1. great stories, Robyn! I think that's it, to have awareness of what is fun for us makes us more likely to end up in the fun zone! I also hear you savouring the fun experience which lets it really sink in.

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  13. what a wonderful conversation you have started - enjoyed reading all of the comments - it appears that fun wears many different faces and is very much individualized to meet each of our needs!! Happiest of New Years to you xo

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  14. it is fun to hear how everyone experiences fun! it helps me look for fun in new places. and Robyn reminded me to bask in the fun which I think makes fun more likely to spontaneously arise the next time! yes, best of 2014 to you, Jeane!

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  15. Ah, so true. Loved the Lady Pen thing - there are a few people I need to send that to ... Thanks for the fun and wishing you lots of it!

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  16. yeah, the lady pen reminds me of the essence of fun; a little foolishness, a little mischief, some surprise and few bits of goofiness.

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