Your Real Work is Play
Years ago I had this recurring fantasy during a rough period in my life. Closing my eyes I'd picture myself older, moving slowly back and forth in a Cracker-Barrel-style-rocker on my front porch while the birds entertained me. What I really wanted to do was fast forward through the muck to an indeterminate age when I finally had everything figured out.
Nearing age sixty with friends who are in their eighties and nineties, I'm still not sure what age I thought that would happen.
No one I know has reached it.
During that tough time there were many things I did to escape, some not so healthy. The one constant was my practice of yoga. Not unhealthy, but it was fun for me. The comraderie, the physical challenge, and the way it made my body feel were all enjoyable. The best benefit was the break from ruminating thoughts. I didn't see it as work.
It was play.
Only now I also know that during all those years of practice, something unexpected was happening.
In Austin Kleon's book, Keep Going, he writes about ten things to keep you going.
Number three on his list is:
FORGET THE NOUN, DO THE VERB!
He says: "Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb."
In my fantasy I wanted to skip all of the worry and hard decisions. But I kept showing up - on my mat in movement or meditation, in community or alone. The practices started showing up in my life and the alchemy was a type of becoming.
I became a Beginner.
Not old, not young, and not someone who wishes parts of their life away. Rather I am someone who starts over again and again; forever curious, always a learner, sometimes a teacher.
I keep doing the verb because as Louis Armstrong said:
"What we play is life".