Tag Archives: Recreational Branch

The Playground of the Soul

(Taken from Chapter 12 of Soul Health:  Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

To share laughter is to connect with Soul. ~~ Alison Stormwolf

012Play is a great way to connect with others. Laughing and having fun not only helps us to bond more deeply with other people, but also to enter a deeper understanding and connection with our own soul. Laughter unlocks our resistance and releases inhibitions, thus opening us to close connections that might not arise without this mutual joy.

The soul craves connection. It wants to be understood, heard, and embraced by those who can appreciate and honor it—oneself, especially, but close family and friends as well. Only then can the soul itself play. It wants the freedom to revel in whatever elicits its joy, experiencing every aspect of fun and elation that life has to offer. However, as we all know, there are times when life could not offer less fun. Those are the times when a playful connection with our own soul and others’ is most distant, yet most vital.

Just like any playground, the human condition can create bumps and bruises amidst the fun and laughter. Yet even in the worst of times, it is often our ability to see the humor in our situation that allows us to muddle through it. Finding joy in the midst of darkness allows us to soften the impact of life’s challenges and open us to the possibilities that something good could come from our pain. The key is to understand yourself well enough to know when you need a good dose of fun, or when laughter will be your own best medicine.

Exercise

What is fun to you? Stop right now, and list ten things that you do or could do on a regular basis that would be fun. How difficult is it to create this list? Who do you have the most fun with in your life? How often do you spend time with these people? Who would you invite into your personal playground if you could?

What relaxes you? Stop, and list ten leisure 12 Dec pic2activities that you do on a regular basis. How difficult is it to create this list? Who do you relax with the most? How often do you take time to relax with those who make it easy for you to do so?

Answering these questions will help you to create your soul’s playground. By identifying what and who helps you strengthen your recreational branch of health, and by committing to doing what enhances it, you will give your soul reason to sing. You will also enhance its evolution.

No one can deny that they feel the most radiant and alive when they have had a good dose of pure fun. Our driven culture often dismisses and even denies how important simple joy is to our health, yet the lack of it drives many of our vices and unhealthy behaviors. The reality is, if we tuned into our inner joy more often—regardless of our daily struggles— our soul health would be much brighter. Instead, we keep losing sight of the inner light and are frantically searching for other ways to soothe our discomfort.

What do you need in order to commit to joy?

 

  (To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at          www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

 

Exploring Fun as Essential to Soul Health

Fun is vastly under-rated, and most people feel like they “fail” at creating more time to laugh and play. With clients, I often suggest creating a list of 5-10 things they can do for fun that they can integrate into their lives on a regular basis. It is rare that they return with a full list, noting that they just can’t name that many things that make them laugh. With this in mind, I taped the following vlog to help you get back to the basics of a fun and leisure. (It looks like I’m meditating… but YouTube has it’s own fun by choosing the still-shot it uses for the start page– always comical!) Take a look:

To get a bit more info about how to integrate fun, read the excerpt from my book below:

(Taken from Chapter 12 of Soul Health:  Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

Like the other branches of soul health, the recreational branch consists of many elements that you might never have considered. Your ability to recognize the differences among fun, leisure, and life balance, to understand your beliefs about them, and to identify your general outlook on life all help you feed your soul. Most importantly, your willingness to create a strong recreational branch can fortify and boost your resilience in handling more stressful or challenging aspects of the human condition.

Fun

What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.  ~ Yiddish Proverb

03 Mar picThe word “fun” means “to behave playfully.”  And when we do so, it clearly does our soul good. There is nothing better for your soul than an uncontrollable belly laugh that brings you to the point of tears and leaves your sides aching, your energy spent. No other experience feeds your soul more than these hearty bouts of mirth, and no other experience leaves your soul more content.

One study shows that the average four year-old laughs three to four hundred times a day, while adults average fewer than four times a day. When I share these statistics in workshops, a sad, desperate sigh usually fills the room and most agree that they do not have enough fun or laughter in their lives.

No matter how you look at it, fun is under-rated. Research is clear that laughter, itself, produces multiple health benefits including a decrease in blood pressure and stress hormones, an increase in endorphins (natural pain killers) and immunity to illness, and fewer physical effects of stress altogether. Thus, if you have a lot of fun in your life, you can bet that you will be healthier than those who have lost their joy and therefore have more emotional and physical ailments. Not only does the fun in your life heal your body, it also soothes your soul.

  • When was the last time you behaved playfully rather than acted for a purpose other than fun?
  • What fun are you leaving out of your life?
  • Are you resentful of others who seem to have more fun than you?
  • Have you forgotten what makes you laugh?

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, orwww.barnesandnoble.com)

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.