Author Posts

February 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

When I feel tired or wrapped up in my “to-do” list, I find it really hard to play.  Work colleagues and family alike would agree that sometimes I take life too seriously.  Whenever I’m feeling tired, grumpy, and not very playful, there is one game that always snaps me out of it.  Tickle monster involves chasing whomever is willing to be chased and tickling until there are guffaws, belly laughs and pleas to stop the tickling.  I highly recommend this with kids and adults alike.  Be the tickle monster and let yourself be tickled.  It is almost impossible to be grumpy or serious when playing tickle monster.

What playful activity snaps you out of a bad mood?

March 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Thank you for your post, Laney.  It reminds me of a great quote I recently heard from Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play: “If you’re having a bad day, try this: jump up and down, wiggle around…you’re going to feel better.”

I am fortunate to live with a labrador retriever, so it’s nearly impossible to stay grumpy when I’m interacting with him.  He pretty much exudes joy and presence on a continuous basis, and his energy totally rubs off on me.  So, if I’m feeling irritated or taking life too seriously, he’s often my go-to!

A few months ago, I also picked up a clown nose at a Cirque du Soleil show.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it (e.g., give it to somebody else as a gift or keep it myself), but one day, I decided to put it on in a moment of silliness.  While I wasn’t in a bad mood at the time, it definitely added more levity to the moment, also impacting those around me.  I’m now reading a book entitled, The Dude and the Zen Master, by actor Jeff Bridges and Zen teacher and activist Bernie Glassman.  Bernie writes: “I always have this red nose in my pocket, and if it looks like I’m taking things too seriously, or the person I’m talking to is taking them too seriously, I put a nose on it.  It doesn’t matter what we’re going or talking about, it doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree, the nose changes everything.”  As Jeff Bridges goes on to say, we all need a “nose hit” from time to time!


March 6, 2014 at 12:15 am

This is interesting stuff.  First, let it be known that I am a very playful person almost all of the time.  I can keep it together if I need to and I was never the kid in class who was always cracking people up, but I act goofy most of the time.  When I met my husband, I found that on occasion he would get very quiet or distant and it made me uncomfortable.  Not the kind of quiet that indicates deep thought or distance that indicates distraction, just hard to read and unreachable.  I would ask him, “What’s wrong?”  constantly, and it drove him crazy.  He would tell me that nothing was wrong, but I just didn’t believe him.  I could feel something in him had changed in those moments.  This went on for a few months when he took it upon himself to show me that he wasn’t grumpy, just quiet, by talking in funny voices.  The funny voices thing goes back to my Grandmother who taught my mom that talking in funny voices was an additional way to communicate something other than what you were saying.  Add a goofy voice to an otherwise innocuous statement and it becomes entertaining.  My mother taught me and I was teaching my husband.  It wasn’t anything we ever talked about, it just happened.  He began mimicking my funny voices and as soon as I heard them I understood that he wasn’t being cold by being quiet, that was just “his way”.  Obviously “my way” is a lot funnier.