The phrase “work hard, play hard” is usually taken to mean that work and play are two very separate things.
But, what if they were able to mix? What if we brought our playful, fun selves to work? What if we got the chance to be silly and funny, while still being successful and productive? What would that be like?
Often we make things harder on ourselves than they have to be. Work can be like that. Of course there are times where we have to “work hard” and be serious, but there are also opportunities to “play hard” while working hard.
Think about your day, the conversations you have, the meetings you go to, the pauses you take, the time you can make for little drops of joy.
Turns out people are drawn to playful energy. It elevates the mood, elevates the corners of everyone’s mouths (aka makes everyone smile), and my guess is that playfulness actually increases productivity! And overall quality of life.
So bring your ability to be playful wherever you go! Tell a joke. Smile. Make a silly face. Talk about a time where you did something ridiculous. Ask your coworkers what they like to do for fun. Wear a silly hat to work. Do whatever you got to do, to make work and play coexist. It will be the best mix you ever make!
This past weekend I, along with some friends journeyed to the Mohonk Mountain House, in New Paltz, NY, Once there, we basked in the beauty of the nature that surrounded us, and spent most of our time "doing nothing" / sitting and enjoying the present moment. The yoga, meditation, and stretch classes we took enhanced our deep appreciation for being there, relaxed, and fully present.
We played board games, drank tea, and sat on numerous couches the had fire places close by…
Looking back on this experience, there were two important lessons I learned:
1. Balance: Multitasking vs. Uni-tasking
Over the course of the weekend, I felt more present and relaxed there than I have in a while. I think that’s probably because when we did something, we did ONE thing. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back I know that was one of the reasons for the presence and relaxation I experienced.
So often we do more than one thing at once, so I left with an intension: To spend more time doing one thing at a time. It’s been a few days, and so far, so good.
Try: Balancing multitasking with uni-tasking (I may of made up that word). Choose a slot in your day, (it can be one minute! Or an hour! Or more! Or less! – It’s up to you) where you will practice doing ONE THING AND ONLY ONE THING. Give yourself to it fully, and see what happens. From my experience, if you practice this daily, it will enhance your creativity, productivity, relationships, and overall quality of life.
2. Wonder: Making The Usual Unusual
During my time away, I became fascinated by the barren trees/their branches. There were so many different kinds/shapes! Everywhere we went, and every view we took in, there they were, the trees, and their beautiful and unique branches! Branches unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Now I know you might be thinking… branches? Who cares about branches… but these very branches taught me a very important lesson. These very branches have changed the way I have been going about my day... and so I am so grateful to those branches.
After spending so much time around the trees, my first day back in New York and I couldnt stop looking at the trees as I walked to work. I always walk the same way, yet never noticed and appreciated the trees and their branches in the way that I did that morning, and continue to do. It's amazing how experiences make us see things in a completely new way, and can spark and unexpected form of wonder. (See post on cultivating Wonder)
Try: Paying attention to something you never paid attention to before! Find your own form of “Branches!” Try looking at the usual with a new set of eyes, making it an unusual experience.
Photography by Chris Cawley
Last month I was fortunate enough to be a part of an amazing event. My friend Sara of Culture Island and I put together a vision boarding workshop, to benefit Project Art, and to get everyone thinking about what they would like to invite into their lives in the new year. It was truly a magical night, and I'm so thankful for all those that came out + all those that helped make this night possible (Sara, Georgia, Grapeful, and Chris)!
To read a full recap of the evening head on over to Culture Island: Click Here
Did you know that Central Park is 843 acres? Me either!
Situated in the middle of a New York City, a city that around 8.406 million people call home, Central Park acts as an oasis. Its benches hold those on break from work, or watching their children play. Its trees, grass, and flowers are a sight for sore eyes, used to seeing mostly grey most of the time. Its playgrounds, sports fields, and ponds are a place where laughter and joy are most likely found. Whether one needs to take a stroll, a bike ride, a run, or a seat, Central Park is there for them.
Today, as I walked through the west side of Central Park, I took time to marvel at the peace. I noticed the trees, the grass, the green, the people strolling (and running!). I saw smiles. I saw people holding hands. I saw a park holding space for people/me to wander, explore, and play.
Later, as I thought back to my time there, it dawned on me that we can learn a lot from Central Park’s existence. It’s filled with ease, yet surrounded by hustle and bustle that never stops!
What we can learn from Central Park:
If Central Park can exist with the entire city (that never sleeps) around it, so to can we, find calmness/equanimity* within all that is happening around us.
Some ways that we can "be the park:"
1) TakIng a few minutes a day alone in a quite place to: do nothing
2) Practice staying calm within chaos by taking a break/throwing yourself a 30 second dance party and/or finding your own personal chaos coping tool
3) Knowing that no matter whats going on, you have a choices! Choices about how to act, react, and be in challenges.
4) Being a person that people can turn to when they need an oasis.
*Mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.