|Being The Pink Dog of Happiness|
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.