When the snow came, I watched through the bay window as the neighbor children frolicked. They lie down in it and rolled across the yard, they scooped big armfuls up and dumped them on each other; they climbed the tree and knocked mounds of it from the limbs. When I took Bonnie out, I heard P say of her little brother, “He’s eating it!” Sure enough, when I peered around the side of their house, T was sitting in a snow garden, scooping bitefuls into his mouth.
Their excitement was contagious, and, if I hadn’t had an appointment, I may have joined in their play right then and there. As it was, I remembered the last time I made a snow angel, lost myself in becoming part of the landscape.
This is what the children teach me, how to lose myself. They enter fully into their play—touching, tasting, joining with their surroundings in every way imaginable.
This is one of the seven qualities of play that Dr. Stuart Brown mentions in his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul: a diminished consciousness of self.
In his book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, Wayne Muller calls this “beginner’s mind”. He cites Suzuki Roshi as describing this as “a condition of being able to embrace and accept a certain level of inevitable unknowing.”
In play, we make it up as we go along—lost in story, lost in the moment. I try to do this a little bit every day now, lose myself. It keeps my heart young, my mind agile.
Later that snow day, after I returned from all my grown-up things, the snow was still fresh and pristine in the back yard. I went out to see it.
And I took a spoon.
I’ve been invited to be part of a wonderful new website that celebrates the gift of motherhood. Being a mom is one of my favorite things. Will you check it out today?
Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us: