It feels difficult, frivolous even, to be writing about playfulness in the midst of all the suffering we are witnessing and experiencing in the world at the moment. Finding a balance between wanting and needing to engage with what is happening- to make a difference in helping to change things for the better, versus maintaining our own resilience and sanity in the face of it all, is no mean feat.
When I started this blog, I saw that adopting a more playful attitude as I go about my day-to-day activities could be one way of boosting my own staying power to cope with life’s ups and downs. I wondered if there were others who were also making a conscious effort to do the same? I thought about the boom in sales of colouring books for adults- a seemingly childish pastime rebranded under the banner of ‘mindfulness’ as a way of helping adults deal better with stress. Focusing on one thing at a time can be soothing to the brain, but colouring books also take us back to a simpler time when all that mattered was staying in the lines and creating something pretty on a page.
There are other things from childhood that can transport us back to more carefree days. At times when I’ve felt in need of reassurance, I’ve found myself turning back to favourite books that I enjoyed reading as a child. ‘Ajax the Warrior’- the story of a brave Dingo in the Australian outback- conjures up memories of my barefooted childhood Down Under. Dr Seuss’s ‘The Cat in the Hat Came Back’ takes me straight back to many happy hours spent in my primary school library soaking up the magical words and pictures. Sometimes, the right book will make itself known at the right time. In her wonderful blog about living and loving 8 years after the death of her husband, Elaine Mansfield shared her delight in discovering the award-winning children’s book, Miss Rumphius , the story of a “Crazy Old Lady” who scattered wild lupine seeds everywhere she went in an attempt to deal with her own pain and to make the world a better place for her neighbours.
Having poured over the amazing illustrations and simple words, this book, created for children, has become one of my new favourites. It reassures us that despite all the pain in the world, we can’t ignore the small differences we can make which, over time, can add up to really bold steps leading to the creation of a more healing, kindly and peaceful environment in which we can co-exist.
What seeds have you sown today to make the world a more beautiful place? What books or activities from childhood can you rediscover to bring you a sense of comfort and solace in times of need?