The Things We Say and Can't Take Back

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When I was 14, I was in love with Heath Pozorski. He was tall, goofy, wore Cool Water cologne and had a bowl cut that rivaled any 90's teen heart-throb.

One day during 5th period lunch we were seated across from eachother at the lunch table. I remember every detail of that moment: flicking errant peas around the table after the trays had been cleared, the rabid butterflies that were multiplying in my stomach, the deep breath I took to conjure my gumption, the words "Will you be my boyfriend?" that dropped in front of me, and the specific way his nose wrinkled as he said "No."

I died a hundred tiny deaths of shame between "No" and the sound of the recess bell.

This was the first time I felt the gravity that is characteristic to "The Things I Said and Can't Take Back."

I was crushed, broken open, and tied into knots of embarrassment.

Until I wasn't anymore. 

I went through puberty. Learned to drive. Graduated High School. No fatal scarring, though I wouldn't have believed that at the time. In retrospect I want to give my little self a high-five for her moxie. She meant it and she said it-- even if the repercussions hurt. The Things I Said at the lunch table only served to make me bolder. If I lived through that...

Two decades later, the list of Things I Can't Take Back resembles a tiny library. There are things that we say and things that we do that are irrevocable. This comes with the territory of living. They change things. Break things.

Sometimes open and sometimes apart. 

In it's finest form, it's Wisdom form, these moments have taught me to be skillful in my speech. Like everything else, there's a practice for that:

Do they need to hear it? 

Do they need to hear it now? 

Do they need to hear it from me? 

Am I sharing from the truth of my experience? 

If all of these questions check out, then I'm cleared to say that really tough thing. It might be embarrassing, vulnerable, gnarly and uncomfortable, and I might not enjoy the result, but I know for certain I'll be able to stand by my words, and respect myself more for saying them. 

This is when The Things We Say and Can't Take Back have the power to break things open. Courage, tenderness, and perhaps even a window overlooking a less toxic path ahead. These are the moments I look back and high-five myself for. 

And then there are those that I don't.

In it's Neurotic form, the Things I Can't Take Back have taught me to censor, to stay silent. 

The shitty job I swallowed for too long, until "I quit!" in a surge of indignation, followed by the cold remorse of no backup up plan. The insults I've spit at those who've loved me as a way of pushing them back. Confessions of cheating that came too late and with half hearted truths attached. Lies I've told that can't be resealed. Admissions of "I don't love you anymore and here are the hurtful reasons why."

It's often when I'm embarrassed to share, not ready to deal with the fallout, or even trust that I can. Remember what happened when Pandora opened the box? Hazzari. Destruction. Irrevocable damage. Just keep the status cool. 

Eventually, though, my geyser blows, and the drill is always the same.

Hidden emotions and opinions are bloated, exaggerated, sharp, and when they're released they break things apart. Everything repressed becomes shrapnel. 

These are the Things that hurt and haunt. Despite their bases in truth.

I'm having one of those moments now which is why this distinction is fresh on my mind. And not the skillful "broken open" kind. 

A day after the fallout, it seems that the Things I Said only cracked the container--words can't go back in their box, afterall--but it could have very well broken it apart. An uncomfortably close reminder to pay attention to my speech. Artfully spoken honesty is an investment that never fails.

 

Playfulness as a Practice

*Playfulness as a Practice* : Originally published on The Interdependence Project Blog

Click here to view original posting

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I think there's something wildly playful about embracing how completely and compellingly alive we are. Have you ever practiced the mindfulness exercise of sitting in concentration and asking your senses to come alive, one by one? If not, I highly recommend pressing the power button on your computer right now and giving it a whirl. Right now. I totally dare you.

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Even in the stillest of rooms, colors, shadows, and floor tiles can pop when we invite them to. The noises of the street orchestrate symphonies when we deeply listen. Undetected scents emerge from the ether when we focus single-pointedly on tasting the air with our noses.

In a sense, we're playing with our space.
Simply by bearing witness completely with what is, the extraordinary IS-ness of the ordinary moment comes alive on our screen of awareness.
This is one of my favorite games to play, and play often. In public, in private, with friends, and alone. It packs up nicely and can be taken just about anywhere. No dice or avatars required.
I call it the tasting game.

I've always been delighted by the concept of play, and most recently intrigued by what an integral part it plays in our well being, learning process, and relationship to our world.
Plato said "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." Einstein called Play "the highest form of research," and studies have shown time and again that information and concepts are more readily absorbed and effectively retained when material is presented playfully and engagingly, via storytelling or hands-on interaction.

So, in a culture that lauds us for our work -- our gross domestic product -- it's interesting to see how we've compartmentalized playfulness. In many ways I feel like it's been skimmed off the top of our ordinary experiences an placed in the jar of "otherness" -- that thing we do or embrace when we're not being productive. It's also interesting to witness the form that jar has taken now that we're all adult-like and how many of us only crack open the Play jar when we need a distraction, a technique for avoidance, or an escape from reality.

I think that one of the beauties of practicing mindfulness is that it allows us to be receptive to what the world is offering; and when we're truly receptive to what the world is offering us, we have an opportunity to engage in the ordinary in an extraordinary way.

Wouldn't it be interesting if we all tipped the jar over and infused our reality with a little more sense of playfulness; even -- and especially -- the challenging bits? What if we set the intention to open our view a bit and look for the moments of play and spontaneity that are already there, waiting to be witnessed?
In fact, just to up the ante, I dare you.
I Double Dog dare you to intentionally create more Play as a Practice.
Starting with weekly assignments of creative engagement.

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This week, I dare all of us to engage in a Scenery Scavenger Hunt....
Directions:
-Choose a word,  image, color or texture that you connect with. {ie: bird, biscuit, lavender, bumpy}
-Keep your senses peeled through the week for your chosen focus.
-Every time you run across something that represents or reminds you of your focus, take a picture or make a note.

{For example: snapping a photo of Bowery and Bleeker with a note indicating you smelled fresh biscuits here, the stranger you met who's dog is named Biscuit, the storefront window of Moishe's bakery -- however your focus permeates your daily life.}

-At the end of the week, compile your experiences and photos.
-Create a scrapbook, either online or tactile.
-Give it a jazzy title, such as "My sweet week of Biscuit"
-Share it with a friend.

And share your experience HERE:

#Playfulness #Mindfulness #DailyPractice