Play and Pay it Forward
Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.
I have to confess. The main reason you are receiving July’s newsletter so late is because I have been playing a lot lately and haven’t been able to write. My dear friend, Jurian and I taught three different programs back to back the first 10 days of July and one of the main themes was to invite the element of play back into our lives and our practices.
So after the workshops, I carry on with the theme of play by hanging out with many of my friends and going to a variety of events such as: Monster Truck Jam, Balkan Music Concert, Big Quiet Meditation and Modern Dance Performances. I have been deeply immersed in the spirit of play.
Play is such an important activity that children do. It is not just because it is fun but there is a fundamental need in children to use play to try out life. As kids we use play to learn about relating in community, building friendships, using our imaginations, trying on roles, and testing out boundaries. Through play, we transcend time, we enter into a reality that is based on make-believe, trust, discovery, and moment-to-moment living. However, when we grow up and life takes on a more serious note for us, and we sometimes forget the pure joy of playing. There is something very magical when adults come together and play. We become kids again, we relax, and we let our silliness run the show and we forget about the imaginary walls we build to protect us from others. We relate to others again and we take risks acting out of our imagination and letting go of the structural lineal rational thinking.
I recently was introduced to this term “Paying It forward” by my assistant when we were brainstorming for a vision quest exercise to do during one of the workshops. The idea behind paying it forward is that you do a good deed for some strangers just for the sake of doing it. Michael, our assistant, inspired by the movie Pay it Forward told us that there were incidents of people who left extra money with the cashier at Starbucks to cover the drinks of the next few people in line. After many discussions, we came up with the idea to ask our participants to go out and find some strangers to practice paying it forward that which they want more in their lives. For example if one wants more connections with people, he/she will create ways/circumstances that the strangers they approach will feel a sense of connection with themselves or others.
So here’s my curiosity. Can I pay forward the awe and innocence, joy and delight, relaxation and relating, kindness and caring that I feel when I play? Is there a way I could pay these feelings forward to help light up or delight someone’s life? When there is such unrest, distress, and pain in the world, perhaps the power of small generosity and good deeds that we do for each other would act like a balm for the soul that is more lasting and powerful than we imagine. Perhaps a simple smile or holding a door for someone is a reminder to us that such small kindnesses is what we humans do to look after each other. Jurian called me earlier today and told me with such delight that she had an encounter with “Pay It Forward.” She was standing in line to buy coffee and a stranger before her paid for her coffee. I was ecstatic when she told me this. So is there a way, you can play and pay it forward in your community. Go out and play!