Truth time: I lean towards being a little serious. Don’t get me wrong, I love having fun. My childhood was full of silliness, imagination, storytelling, and fort building. But the degree of play ranged.
When I was with people I didn’t know well I only allowed myself a small amount of freedom of expression. I monitored myself to be sure I fit in. When I was at home with my family or with my best friends, well, that was a different me. That was the untamed me, the true me.
When we don’t feel safe we can’t be free. Back then, I was afraid people I didn’t know would judge me, so I didn’t allow myself to be truly seen. When I was with people who I knew loved me unconditionally, I allowed myself to explore and experiment – with my personality, with my creativity, with my heart and soul.
In order to discover ourselves, we have to be able to play. We need to feel safe enough to let go and explore who we are. That’s what play is. It’s about freedom. It’s about exploration. It’s about living outside of the lines, and the lines are those things our minds draw in an attempt to keep us safe.
Several years ago, a time when my spirit was suffocated and my imagination on lock down, I found myself in a dance class. The class was designed to find freedom by exploring the way your body wants to morph within a simple movement. It was a liberation from choreographed classes where you attempt to mimic the movements of Beyonce’s backup dancer who just so happens to be teaching your class while she’s off tour (sorry, my hips don’t know how to move like that).
This class was different. It was a breath of fresh air. We were moving our bodies. No pressure. Easy breezy. And then, out of nowhere, the teacher tells us to switch up our movement every time she says so. “Now. Now. Now. Switch. New. Do something different. No, different!”
I’d moved from the initial free-flowing-no-pressure movements to complete panic. What?! My body doesn’t know of any other ways to move! I had shifted from my body to my mind, and I didn’t know how to go back. I was inside the lines, in a room of strangers, and instead of feeling playful, the safety sirens were going off. Loud!
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the first of a series of events that would lead me to a practice that would change my life. The dance class, while initially painful, gave me a taste of the joy and freedom that comes from getting out of the mind and into the body. I just didn’t know how to sustain it yet.
And then I discovered Breathwork. I worked with a teacher who guided me through a simple breathing pattern while I listened to music. It was a practice I continued for a year until I found myself training to be a Breathwork teacher myself. The breath was the tool that taught me how to get out of my mind, into my body, and connected to my intuition.
Remember how I said I leaned more toward the serious? Well, Breathwork opened my heart up. The way I felt in my body changed. It felt more open. I found myself smiling more. It reconnected me to my humanity, to my soul, and to the people in my life. It helped me hear the calling of my soul again, and what I discovered was that it was craving play.
That’s what happens when we’re disconnected from our bodies and our breath. We lose touch with our intuition and our creativity shrivels up. Our souls cry out to be heard. All. The. Time.
Really. All the time. Whether you’re listening or not. So when you do finally wake up to listen you might discover this truth. You might feel the relief of a soul that has been aching to be acknowledged for a lifetime and is finally heard.
I had been cut off from my intuition for years. Years. I’m not a painter, but I started to paint for three hours every Sunday. I’m not a dancer but I started to dance. Yes, I went back to that class and started to move. Boom, boom, boom. New movement, new movement, switch, switch, switch. I was open and free, and it was fun.
There is something we desire in each moment, and the answer is in our bodies and in our breath. These two things, give us access to wisdom most of us don’t realize is there. When you move the excess crap, the fears, the concerns, and the stories, you get to hear your soul, and it’s telling you what you need all the time.
We all want to feel more freedom. We live in a time when most people struggle with some form of anxiety or depression. Our minds are wired for the negative, and we are desperate for something to lighten things up. Use your body to change the way you feel.
Take a dance break in your bedroom and just let your body do what it needs to do. Pick up a paintbrush and unleash your soul’s longing. Use your breath to open your heart and connect you to what your intuition is pointing you toward. The more deeply you connect to your body and breath, the more free you’ll find yourself feeling.
Take a moment to pause, breathe, and ask yourself what your soul needs. Be still and willing enough to receive the answer. What do you hear? If the answer is nothing, get your body moving and ask again. I’m curious what you’ll find. If you care to share, leave me a note in the comments below!