Thirty-five years of helping young adults with their vocations, and the best quote ever for maintaining that important “follow your heart” theme comes the other day from a twentysomething, “Even if you’re wearing a damn banana suit every day; do what you love!” Thanks from Megan, my son’s girlfriend, for those wise words.
Speaking of wise words, one of my readers reintroduced me to my own this past week while reading my book, Giddy as Charged. The premise is how to reconnect with our sense of humor and use that to enhance our lives. I grabbed my copy off of the shelf and indulged in the refresher. I hadn’t read it since the editing process four years ago, yet the message was as fresh as ever. I decided that is time to tend more to that playful spirit, so I invite you to take a trip back to the sandbox with me.
When I was growing up, we had one in the back yard. Before the green plastic turtle ones, ours was framed in wood with built-in benches for us to sit on while playing. If they were occupied, we would just plop our butts inside if there weren’t enough seats to accommodate us all. There was a stiff blue and white striped canvas cover on it that slid up on two wooden planks to double as a sun shield. Magic happened there; no matter how many kids were gathered, arguments didn’t. There were no rules or roles (beyond master sculptors) or relationships, we intuitively just all got along for the express reason of having fun. We were busy using our minds and thoughts to create and share. We didn’t care about germs. If we found a clump left by an animal visitor, it was casually tossed aside by the sifter without mention. The most simple kitchen and garden tools were used; water to complete and nature offerings to decorate. The process was orchestrated by a soundtrack of perfect chattering banter; conversations of wonder, delight, inspiration, encouragement. And alternative plans if it started to rain. The sessions ended at dusk with smiles, the lowering of the lid and a promise to return the next day.
I subsequently return to the playground. I schedule a play date with girls to the Earth Spirit holistic fair and spend an afternoon with energy-filled hugging folks on a sunny day. I raise a glass this week to friends who opened an integrated medicine center and laugh out loud over why the potato masher always gets stuck in the kitchen drawer. I do battle with this until it settles back in and I declare out loud in victory to this utensil, “Hah, I win!” I enjoy signs seen from the shuttle on the way to work. On a truck next to us, “Chemistry improves the quality of life,” and below that a bright yellow warning triangle symbol followed by, “Danger, Inhalation Hazard!” Much more inviting, on the side of the animal hospital, “St. Patrick didn’t care for snakes, but we sure do. Erin Go Bragh!” And in the amused by technology department, I read about a phone app that you can download that will alert you when you are spending too much time scrolling on Facebook. Glad I deleted my account when I was still smart enough to figure this out on my own.
I proudly don the banana suit as I finish up the mission statement this week for Capture Life Writing before I send off the business card to the printer:
“Sharing emotional and mental wellness through the power of words, love, human connection and nature. Eradicating the current consensus concept of mental illness.”
Spring is almost here; a nature walk in the March snow under sunlit skies through The Sanctuary confirms. The red-winged blackbirds and robins are back. They are ready and so am I to focus on launching this part of me. In the upcoming months I will be unveiling the ways I am able to help others, presenting my story about and experience with emotional and mental illness in unique theatrical fun fashion and connecting people to those who will support them. I like to think that if Americans trust a man with messy hair who communicates by tweeting, they will trust a “crazy” woman in a pretend banana costume steering them away from anxiety, trauma and mental illness to peace and back to laughter once again by listening to and encouraging them.
Jump in that sandbox today, put on your own banana suit, smile at your friends and play in whatever form inspires you for joy!