Tag Archives: DrKatherineTKelly

A Confession of Fun: How Play Enhances Soul Health

I’m embarrassed to admit what you’re about to read….. I forgot the importance of play. Literally and figuratively.

Sunshine for your soul quoteYears ago, I said that my first book would be about adult play. From early in my life, I observed that the adults around me didn’t have enough fun. They balked at the idea of being goofy, avoided laughing just for the sake of laughing, and undoubtedly worked far more than they played. Somehow we got the idea that we were lazy or irresponsible if we allowed joy into our lives. Instead, we’ve instilled guilt into those who choose to enjoy fun and leisure and came to believe that those who “indulge” in too many joyful activities are behaving badly through such reckless use of time.

This awareness stimulated my mission to write a book about how adults need to have more fun in order to live more radiant lives. I did presentations in graduate school about the importance of play, I bought Play Dough and Slinkys for workshop participants, and I read all of the research I could find on the positive benefit of fun and leisure on our physical and emotional health. I did what I could at the time to illuminate the fact that fun was a key aspect of our everyday experience as humans—one that is healthy and also second nature for anyone experiencing the human condition.

Then I got busy. And I got stressed. Life took over, and throughout the completion of graduate school as well as in the early years of my career, the notion of sending the message of fun got lost… just like in most adults. I forgot my mission.

Branch with border

Even when I was creating my “whole” health model, the fun and leisure branch of  health was overlooked until I had a conversation with a client about the different aspects of wellness. In the middle of the session, it dawned on me that the branch that I had once so strongly endorsed had been swept to the shadows. Right at that moment, I realized why the system felt incomplete, and soon after the final link of the soul’s influence on each aspect of our existence clicked as well.  Our soul—the voice of our inner truth—rules our lives so much that it seemed inadequate to call the model anything other than The Soul Health Model.  Fun completed the model and raised it to the level of evolution instead of remaining an inessential element of the human condition.

Sick Tree aka SoulAFun feeds our soul, and no one can convince me that the healthiest person on earth omits this essential ingredient from their lives. In fact, I would go as far as to say that humor saves lives.  Research is clear that laughter decreases stress, helps us fight illness, improves our outlook on life, and much more. Without the nourishment of fun, our souls can starve, wither, and most definitely lose that radiance that is an inherent right for all of us. But with healthy and frequent doses of this elixir of life, we can remain buoyant even when life tries to dunk us under.

I’m curious—have you forgotten fun? What do you do for to play? What feeds your soul? Are you lacking humor? How do you use laughter to lighten even the heaviest situation? When was the last time you intentionally scheduled fun into your life?

I would love to hear from you and also hear any specific stories of the use of laughter that show the powerful healing that can take place when you have allowed yourself a good dose. Email me at evolve@drkatherinetkelly.com. I plan to compile a list of “reminders” for others who have forgotten their own way down the fun and leisure path.

Twitchy Without Travel: Confessions of an Adventure Junkie

 DSC00982If there’s anything that makes me uneasy, it’s a blank travel schedule.  Seriously!  I start to feel anxious, sometimes a little depressed, and get an uncomfortable sense that something is missing.  I call it “twitchy”—a feeling that isn’t calmed until I actually have at least one trip on the books.  I’m always pondering where to go next, whether hitting the road, flying the friendly skies, hiking in a national park, or floating on a giant hotel somewhere in the Caribbean.  It’s in my blood.  And I have no intention of trying to ditch the habit.  I simply need my fix.

I experienced my first taste of transformational travel quite by accident.  My best friend and I went to the Grand Canyon the summer after my dad died, which was also the year after her sister had passed away from a long struggle with Leukemia.  We both held hectic college and work schedules and decided to take a break to head to the Four Corners region and head down to the giant hole in the ground.  Needless to say, we had an amazing trip!  The drive gave us time to laugh, talk, and air out our souls, while taking in the interesting topography along the way.

DSCF6430

I will never forget the sound of her gasp as my friend saw the Grand Canyon from the passenger side window for the first time.  It was my turn to drive, and I’m glad it was—because hearing the absolute awe in her voice was just as memorable as seeing the canyon for myself.  We treated ourselves by taking a helicopter ride through the canyon, getting a close-up view of the steep walls, the Colorado River below, and the seemingly teeny lodges perched on the rim.  What was most notable about the trip, though, was how rested and restored we both felt as we drove back home.  Both of our souls had been filled—and fed—in a way that nothing else had done following the loss of our loved ones.  We had both been transformed by a three day visit to one of the wonders of the world.  With 6 visits to date, the Grand Canyon remains both my favorite national park in the United States, and also my most cherished place to clean out the human condition and restore my soul.

A transformational travel junkie was born!

DSCF5455What transpired next was a variety of adventures both in and outside of the U.S.  From Niagara Falls to the Everglades, Alaska to Florida, and everywhere I could stop in between, I went to every place that I could find an excuse to visit.  I traveled to Europe, both Central- and South America, and various islands in the Caribbean.  I set a goal to reach all of the natural national parks (27 of the 56 so far…), visit all the major cities, and take as many road trips to unique places as time and money would allow.  I’ve driven Highway 1 up the coast of California, the Overseas Highway down through the Florida Keys, all of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and many other scenic roads and major highways throughout the country.  Years ago I decided that every adventure I had would include an element of reflection and spiritual enrichment, which isn’t that difficult given all of the magnificent features that this world has to offer.  I always take my journal and as a result of some dedicated time away in majestic surroundings, I always return home with a new perspective and heightened mood.

The fun of my work now is that I can take it on the road!  As of next month, I will be working with Cross Country Education to do nationwide continuing education workshops throughout the country.  No better way to see more of the country than to make it part of my passion of work as well!  Not only will I be able to teach others within mine and related fields, but I will be able to nourish my travel bug at the same time.  Not a bad gig.

Most exciting is that I am now creating transformational travel excursions for others as well.  Yes!  I have found yet another way to make my work another form of play!  As the author of Soul Health, I am well aware of the need to “align” one’s life with what feeds their soul in order to create optimal living.  And because travel has fed my soul so well, I am well-nourished and able to provide transformational travel for others.

AZ UT Trip Galaxy 360

There are many research studies which show positive health benefits of travel.  Those who take time away are shown to have both better mental and physical health than those who choose to “bank” their vacation time.  This statistic is a bit scary since only 38% of Americans use all of their allotted hours away from the office.  Studies also show that when we experience awe and wonder, we also feel more connected within, to the world, and to all others.  So, if travel can be such an uplifting experience, why not pair it with a transformational adventure designed specifically to help you learn, heal, and evolve?

Life, itself, is an adventure.  But when we consciously choose our travel destinations and journeys to enhance our growth, we open ourselves to a level of evolution that nothing else can stimulate.  I know for myself that it is difficult to reach this awareness in the day-to-day grind.  So, it gives me great pleasure to create transformational travel experiences for others.

Soul Health Travel is simply an extension of my passion to help people evolve beyond their previous ways and align their lives for optimal living.  When we feed our souls through travel, we provide the essential “nutrients” for not only optimal alignment of our human lives, but also for our soul’s evolution.  What could be better than visiting a magnificent sight while also growing our soul?

For more information, visit www.soulhealthtravel.com.  I’m excited to take care of the details so you can fully take care of you!

The Soul’s Tempo

I learned a new word yesterday.  Entrainment“the process by which different rhythms fall into synchronization with each other”.  Like many, the word is used in various ways and by many different fields of thought.  Nevertheless, all definitions tend to lean toward the idea that everything has a rhythm and depending on the strongest of these rhythms, they will all fall into sync in one way or another.metronome

Oddly enough, I learned this word as a result of my body falling… well, actually, crashing into sync with my soul.  Per usual, I’ve been on the treadmill of life… seeing my typical full load of clients, doing classes, workshops, and various talks, developing and scheduling more classes, workshops, and talks, checking in on ailing friends, helping friends prepare their home for sale, making attempts to keep up with my own housework, paperwork, yard work, exercise, self-care, etc.  I felt myself getting worn out mid-week, and tried to have a relaxing evening at home at the end of it.  However, deep down, I knew I needed a  bigger and deeper break.  I needed to let my soul catch up with the rest of me.

I woke up the day before with a slightly scratchy throat.  But, despite feeling wilty, I elected to continue the plan of running errands and shopping with a friend for some items that would hopefully help her to sell her house.  I felt fine while I was out, but by the time I returned home I could tell that my body had overstayed its welcome and my soul was starting to take over.   I spent the evening fluctuating between chills and fever and I awoke in the morning to feel like a small truck had run over me—very fatigued, fever burning, continued scratchy throat, full-skull headache.  I got up long enough to feed and let the dogs out, then headed straight back to bed, where I slept for 3 more hours.  In the midst of my second wave of sleep, I was aware that I was burning off a fever, but dove deeply enough into my slumber to not be fully disturbed.  The second time I got out of bed I felt a bit better, but clearly I wasn’t out of the woods.  I went into the sunroom and stared out the window for a while.  Then I turned to look at the stack of books beside me.  About a month ago, I had started reading a book called “Timeshifting” by Stephan Rechtschaffen, the founder of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.  The title drew me once again and I lifted the book and sat reading several chapters as it resonated with what my soul had been trying to tell me throughout the week:  slow down, notice, reflect, rest……

In one chapter he wrote about entrainment and how we tend to fall into the rhythm of those around us regardless of whether it is our own natural rhythm.  The energy of a city has a different energy from a town in the country and the rhythm of the different lifestyles are entrained in the individuals from these respective homes.  As a physician, he spoke of his own shift from an entrained life in a busy medical practice to the more relaxed rhythm he created when he founded Omega– the center that I call the “Camp Hiawatha” for adults as it is a learning center in the Hudson Valley where you do, in fact, feel transported back in time.  The word, entrainment, though stuck with me throughout the day—even after I returned to the bed for yet another extended period of sleep.

Like so many, I had been ignoring my soul.  I was dismissing the message deep within to stop the race against time and just be.  My shtick is to encourage others to listen to their body, mind, and spirit to hear the cues that will guide them to their optimal health—their ultimate experience of life.  And yet, I fell prey to the entrainment of the American Way…. to the rhythm I despise just as much as I embrace.

thermometerMy body rebelled because I was out of sync with my soul.  I knew immediately that my symptoms were a message from my inner ally.  If I wasn’t going to slow down on my own, my soul would have to take over my body in order to make its point.  And, boy, did it!  I can’t remember the last time I had a fever, but I surely knew to listen to my body and get the rest I needed.  I gave in, slowed down, listened, read a much needed bit of information from a nearby book, and now my body only has remnant reminders that I was down for the count.

What would happen if we lived our lives fully in sync with our soul?  I am certain that the rhythm of my own is often outrun by my ambitions—less so than in the past, but like today, I occasionally still find myself missing the beat.

If in sync, what messages would be hear—or at least hear more clearly?  How would our lives be different?  What turmoil would we outsmart?  What obstacles of our evolution would we avert?

The soul has its own tempo—one that often doesn’t match our human lives.  Oddly enough, everyone I know yearns for a slower, more balanced experience of life, yet few discipline themselves enough to have it regularly.  Some of us might know when we aren’t following our desired rhythm, but due to the entrainment of our society, culture, or other influences, we often fall in sync with everything but the cadence of our soul.  I am usually better than most at listening, but today I am reminded of the importance of that ultimate synchronization with our most treasured ally.

I accept that I am human, but my soul no longer tolerates when I become entrained in alien rhythms.  My soul knows what I need.  And I am once again humbled by its wisdom.