The night clerk stocking shelves calls over to me with a big grin on his face, “Hey, Santa, I’ve been really good this year!” He proceeds to joke with me about how he hopes I’ll be rewarding his behavior at Christmas.
Similar to the waitress at the cafe who jokes with my son that if I am Santa, he must be an elf, right? And later, after forgetting to bring my tea, apologizes and with mock alarm exclaims, “Oh, no! Will you still visit me on Christmas Eve?!”
And the elderly lady, a cashier at the college cafeteria, whose eyes twinkle as she teases me good-naturedly.
With all of these folks who I may or may not cross paths with again, light-hearted banter follows their playful remarks. Brightening the day, even briefly, for all of us. Making me wonder when it is we lose our playfulness? And why and how?
Play invokes the imagination, sparking creativity. Helping us expand how we think, how we do things, how we view the world. It seems astonishing that something as full of vitality would be relegated to the sidelines for most adults, dismissed as immature or inconsequential.
I am fortunate that one of my dance mentors frequently urges us to approach the movement playfully. What a huge difference it makes! We dancers open up, take risks, explore new ways of executing the movement, which seems fresh, easeful and more alive. As do we.
As I’ve said innumerable times, we don’t need Santa Hats and other props to inspire playfulness. All I know is that every time I wear mine out in the world, someone responds playfully. And for one moment, amidst all of the stresses and challenges we all face, we connect in merriment. Ahhhhhhhh……
“You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity. Let out a little more string on your kite.”~Alan Cohen