They say that you teach what you most need to learn. Now before you ask, I don’t know who ‘they’ are. I’ve just heard it said many times over the years. Today, I’m going with what ‘they’ say. And what I need to learn today is how to let go and have fun. My husband, Tim, and I are on tour, both physical and cyber, for our new book, It Happened On Maple Street. The book is our true love story. It’s also a domestic violence recovery story. We’re hoping to reach out to other woman living in the silence that held me hostage for so long – to spread freedom among them.
I’ve never been good at just doing things to do them. I have to have a reason for every thing I do. A purpose. A goal. Comes from my father. I got most of my real education, my loving and giving from my mother, but my father gave me some gold keys. And one of them was this goal and purpose thing. In his book I was allowed to do pretty much anything I wanted to do as long as there was a goal. A purpose. (Of course that goal or purpose had to meet with his approval when I was growing up.)
I’ve also done a lot of studying on goals and motivations. On internal drives and soul searching. On self honesty. I understand that every one of my actions is driven by an internal need. Hunger drives the need to eat. Cold drives the need for shelter. Fatigue drives the need for sleep. Loneliness drives the need to reach out. Children drive the need to mother. The voices in my head drive the need to write. And because I know and believe that everything is driven, I can’t seem to do anything without looking for what’s driving it. I’ve made some key mistakes in my life that brought about heartache beyond my worst imaginings. I cannot afford to make those kinds of mistakes again. I have to understand what drove them. And I have to watch what drives my future actions to make certain that I am not again driven where I do not want to go. I want to make certain that I know what I want and need and that I drive myself there.
Great in theory. Perfect in theory. And right now I need some R&R and I don’t know how to be aimless.
So here’s what I’d teach on the topic:
- Find little things that bring about a feeling of fun. Burning a candle all day long because I like the scent without worrying about wasting the candle. Or even paying attention to it burning away. Indulge in the decadence of some M&M’s during the day for once. Take a hot bath when you don’t need one, or when it’s not the end of the day and you have to relax before bed.
- Climb a tree. This one stands alone because there’s very little productive value in it. Climbing a tree used to have purpose, when you had to watch out or the enemy, or look for your cattle, or pick fruit. But in today’s world we use technology to protect ourselves against our enemies; I have no idea what they do with cattle but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t often involve climbing trees because I don’t ever hear of cowboys in trees; and we have long armed tools with cups on the end that pick fruit just fine. Which means that the only reason left to climb a tree is just to do it. Last year, while Tim was working in the garage on a one-man project, I climbed the tree at the side of our driveway. I went all the way to the top. I felt stupid. And I laughed out loud up there, too.
- Go with what feels good, not with what sounds good. Let your feeling choose your activity, not your mind. All of us still have the child once were inside of us. Let that child out. Let her play. No judgment. If she wants to sit on the ground and put her fingers in mud, then let her do it for a bit. (I wouldn’t make a daily habit of this, but then if it were a daily habit, it would become a goal with the purpose of letting your inner child out.)
- Lay on the ground with arms and legs spread, angel fashion, look at the sky, and wait. The idea is to free yourself from everything in your life that calls to you. You aren’t even holding your own weight. You’ve given it to the ground, to the earth. And the sky you’re gazing at has no limits.
- Make silly noises. (I’ve actually done this and it works. Of course, I have only my dogs as evidence of that fact.)
- Make of ‘to don’t’ list. For whatever time you’ve allotted for aimless fun, instead of a ‘to do’ list, make a ‘to don’t’ list. Put on it all of the things you can’t do because they have goal or purpose. The idea is to allow free thought to guide you to a more free place, to some space where you’ve turned everything over to the waiting room. It will all be there waiting when you get back from aimlessness.
- Tease the voices in your head. It’s harder for someone to discipline you if you’re teasing them. Teasing helps people lighten up. This works for the voices too. (At least in theory.)
- Turn the music up loud and dance. Make your whole body move in non-choreographed motion. Not only is this freeing, it engages your right brain enough that your left brain (the thinking part of your brain) has to take a back seat.
- Color. Either in a coloring book, or on a blank sheet of paper. The idea is simply to choose the colors. See the colors. Make the colors appear, not to create acceptable beauty. It can be a form of free expression.
- If all else fails, get a bottle of your favorite wine, pour a glass, and drink.
This post is brought to you as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. For a complete tour schedule visit www.tarataylorquinn.com. All blog commenters are added to the weekly basket list. Gift Basket given each week to one randomly drawn name on the list.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, or if you suspect someone is, please contact www.thehotline.org, or call, toll free, 24/7, 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). The call can be anonymous and is always confidential. There is not one second of life that is worth wasting.
Next tour stop, Monday, May 2, Home Based Business Moms: http://homebasedbusinessmom.com/
To get your copy of It Happened On Maple Street, visit your favorite bookseller, or www.maplestreetbook.com.
Don’t miss The Chapman Files! Still available at: Amazon
Tracy here: I have 1 copy of It Happened on Maple Street to giveaway to one lucky commenter! Comment on this post with your email address sometime between now and Friday, May 6 @7:00pm (pacific) to enter. Good luck!