Do you remember the feelings of pleasure, fun and light-heartedness when you let yourself PLAY… when you’re free from expectations, justifications or self-criticism no matter what you do… where you’re simply in an open state of joy?
Kids do this naturally, but adults… hmmmm?
It’s harder to give ourselves permission in this culture of endless to-do lists, productivity stress and need for money, wealth and external success. And it’s very easy to push play to one side with the mantras of “I can’t because…”, “I should be doing _______” or “I have to _______” (fill in the blanks), or the familiar old chestnut of “I don’t have time.”
Yet play is relaxing, healing, boosts your mood, increases energy, prevents burnout and releases stress. It stimulates the mind and imagination, triggers creativity and innovation, improves brain function and helps you see problems in a new way. Having fun with others can foster empathy, compassion, trust, teamwork and intimacy. And play puts you in a state of being that directly connects you with Source energy, opens you to all kinds of new possibilities and expansive ideas that can download in a flash of inspiration. Play also gives you permission to dream bigger, explore and experiment without limitations.
And what’s more, you can’t do play wrong or make mistakes. It offers us the freedom to be wild and uncontrolled for a while, to have experiences that are free from our own or other’s judgements, where we learn what we like and don’t like, what works for us and what doesn’t, and what fills us with energy or depletes us.
When you give yourself permission to play, and stay consciously aware through the experience, you get to discover more things that ignite your passion and spark your interest, and maybe even get hints as to your purpose if you’re searching. You experience more real and open connection with others who you play with, more fulfilment and satisfaction from life and more wholeness of being as you get to explore and find yourself outside of your usual routines, practices and habits.
It’s a very powerful state of being!
Letting go of the ‘should‘ and ‘have-tos’
I played much more before I started working for myself… but then I got serious.
I spent too much time trying too hard to get ahead, doing things the ‘right’ way, and worrying when I didn’t make it work. I thought it too frivolous, distracting or indulgent to take time out of my work to do many fun things that didn’t logically appear to move me in the ‘right’ direction.
I felt I had a responsibility to show up and be of service. So I strived along the linear path towards some arbitrary point of financial or business success that somehow never really lit me up anyway because, although I didn’t realise it at the time, it wasn’t what success really meant to me, and was really just another form of conditioning, another ‘should want’, that had become my default in the absence of more aligned business goals.
Perhaps you can relate?
But more and more over the last three years, as I’ve let go of a lot of the shoulds and have-tos, I’ve been following my heart to live in a lighter, more intuitive and playful way again. Lately I’ve been through a process of unravelling what I was ‘supposed’ to want from what I really feel success is for me, and being aware of what I really wanted to experience in the moment, which often involved making stuff, doing something creative in the garden or going for a walk. And as I observed myself I got much clearer about what has true value and meaning to me.
I’m learning that I don’t need to follow the rules. In fact, when I find myself stuck and out of flow, it’s usually because I’m trying to do things the expected, default way, and when I catch myself doing it again (it’s taking quite some time to break the pattern!) I know I have to tune into my heart and take some time to really feel into what I want to experience, and then FIND MY OWN WAY of doing it.
The ‘how’ usually shows up soon after.
It’s a challenging path, but as I learn to trust that I can live this way I’m finding a lot of gifts. I’m happier than I have been in years (even when emotionally difficult things happen), with less stress and self-imposed pressure, so I feel lighter and freer. It’s deepened existing relationships and brought me wonderful new ones, bringing more connection, amazing support, valuable friendships, love, appreciation and acceptance. It’s given me breathing space to let in new ideas, creativity and opportunities, sparking renewed excitement. I feel very grateful and abundant having manifested the most beautiful, light and energetically expansive home in a gorgeous Cheshire village that is perfect-for-me-right-now, and it has opened me up to so many more possibilities.
And although my way of doing things won’t work in exactly the same way for you because you’ll have different priorities and want different things, I’m certain that we are all here to find our own ways that are unique to each of us. When we follow our own truth we can enjoy life as a meandering journey to wholeness, where we feel good NOW, rather than striving down the linear path to a conditioned idea of ‘success’ that devours our precious time, is tied to working hard, is somewhere in the future, makes us feel guilty when we don’t put it first, and always tells us we have further to go before we can have it.
Do you wonder what more is possible for you?
Are you curious about what life would be like for you if you really lived playing full-out, and said yes to experiences that would energise you, grow you, inspire you and fulfil you, rather than deplete and diminish you?
Would you like to take part in a shared adventure, where you could try something different and explore new ways to cultivate what has true value and meaning to you?
Do you want to build skills and learn tools that help you grow, feel more authentic, reclaim your personal power and develop life-enhancing beliefs?
And if yes, what if you could experiment with bringing more of this attitude into your life in a safe space, with other wise, intelligent, creative, supportive and inspiring women like you?
How might life be different?
Well, I’m curious about doing this for myself, so I’m designing an online community as my own experiment to find out…
The Conscious Dabbler community is for like-minded, like-hearted women to come together to explore ourselves and discover who we can be by trying lots of new things, breaking out of routines, stretching ourselves, starting new helpful habits, having fun, making things, getting creative… being mindful through whatever activity is chosen… and then sharing what you discover to inspire or inform others.
It will be a community membership site hosted on a new-ish platform called Mighty Networks. It’s not social media, so that means it’s free from all the usual algorithms, data mining, advertising, censorship and distractions popping up when you go to interact with the other members like on other platforms, so you’re only going to be seeing things about this community. As such, it allows for deeper, safer, more meaningful conversations and connections outside of the quick-fire, shallow-interaction world of Facebook, Twitter and so on.
I want it to be a space where we can do things differently, experiment and decide on our own personal adventures, areas of play and curiosity. You’ll have encouragement and support to follow your heart and share the twists and turns of the meandering path with the community, and invite others to ‘dabble’ with you if you’d like company or accountability.
You might like to develop new skills and interests, rekindle passions or discover new ones, do a workshop, start that course you bought six months ago, or that thing that you always wanted to try but it was never a high enough priority, or you could set intentions for creating positive habits that you’ve wanted to begin for ages but haven’t got around to. Or you could simply carve out time to idle and potter, nap, rest and pause from the busy-ness of life and do whatever you feel would care for your body, mind and soul.
It’s a place that invites your inspirational and wise inner child to come out. She can show you how to be more playful, innocent and free of judgements, expectations and preconceptions. This helps us to develop an attitude of childlike curiosity which fires the imagination and opens up our minds to much greater magic and possibility for our lives.
In this playful container of self-exploration you might surprise yourself with what you find. Maybe you’ll discover new likes and dislikes, unexpected strengths and talents, compassionate acceptance of weaknesses and how you can laugh at the things that don’t turn out so well, but you learn from along the way.
It’s my greatest hope that each woman will begin to expand her perception of her own personal value, her sense of worthiness, deservedness and what success looks like – on her own terms, in her own way, based on what has true value and meaning for her, so it is authentic and life-affirming, rather than an arbitrary material measure of success, which only honours a small portion of who she is.
It’s about expanding ourselves and our experience of life, having a community championing us and cheering us on to go for it, and investing our energy in the endeavours that make us feel lifted, vital and alive, which in turn ripples out good vibes to the rest of the planet.
It’s a place to ask ourselves…
- Who are we outside of the linear paths we’ve been conditioned to follow that have constrained and restricted us for so long?
- Who are we beyond the self-judgements, limitations and guilt that comes up whenever we choose to put our own lives first?
- Who are we when we choose to dream bigger, expand our ideas of what’s possible for ourselves, and have a community behind us wanting us to succeed?
I’ll be sharing more soon as I bring this together.
It’s taking much longer to create than I imagined. In the last week or two I’ve noticed myself slipping into my old programmed ways, berating myself that I should be further ahead by now, and working hard, where I am constantly ‘on’, rather than creating time to engage in any dabbling or play like I was doing just a few weeks ago when I was in full flow.
As such, I’ve been manifesting weird wifi outages, unexpected emergencies, distractions with technical problems, and I even had an anxiety attack that knocked me out energetically for a few days! The blessing in that was that it gave me the space to feel into this pattern that is so deeply entrenched within me, and most of us collectively. I’m becoming more aware of it and I’m catching it faster, but clearly this is a case of ‘teach what you most need to learn!’
So this community is absolutely going to help me do that!
I’m learning that I have to create this community space by practicing the same ethos that ‘conscious dabbling’ stands for – scheduling time out to dabble, follow what feels good and bring the attitude of lightness and play to what I do choose to do so that it fills me, rather than depletes me.
Having spoken to a lot of women over the past weeks and months about my concept of dabbling I know I’m not alone in wanting to break free from this powerful conditioning – and as unlimited creative beings we absolutely have the capacity to do that.
What spurred me on with the idea of creating a community to do this together was knowing from experience that shifting beliefs and conditioning is easier in a group. But also, seeing smiles light up peoples’ faces at the idea of having permission to play made me realise that dabbling could be good for us on so many levels.
I have a clear vision with a loose plan, but I have no idea how this will go. And while I might be the vision-holder for it, it’s not all about doing things my way and I’m open for collaboration. I see this as a shared adventure where we can co-create something magical together.
So if this resonates with you, you fancy an adventure and you’d like to be one of the founder members of our community, please leave a comment below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk to you.
Until next time!