PERMISSION TO PLAY : Humility : #p2play


Welcome to PERMISSION TO PLAY! For late Spring and Summer of 2013, Chel Micheline will be hosting a creative challenge (a sort of  “summer camp” for your inner child here) at Bliss Habits every Tuesday. And she’d love for you to join her.

All you have to do is this:
Once a week, every week, make the time to HAVE SOME CREATIVE FUN– something that allows you to let go, drop the inner critic for a while, and just have fun.

Every Tuesday, we’ll do a little “show-and-tell” about our creative experiments- you are welcome to leave a comment or link up to your own blog post about your adventure. (If you want to know more about PERMISSION TO PLAY, click here.)  And since today is Tuesday … here we go!

photo by Maria Pavlova

“Enthusiasm is contagious- you can start an epidemic.” – unknown

One thing I can say about living with a seven-year-old (my daughter, Gracie) is that I have learned a LOT about enthusiasm. Most young kids are totally on board for ANYTHING that looks fun, no matter what their skill level or experience is with that thing.

Think about a toddler- if you give a toddler a little drum, or even a pot and a spoon, in almost every case that child will immediately bang on it and delight in the sound it makes. Most likely, that child will bang that drum over and over because it fascinates them, it brings them joy.

In fact, most young children believe that anything that appeals to them and brings them joy (like the sound of a spoon banging on a pot over and over and over and over) will naturally have the same affect on others. They assume that the more they bang the drum, and the more joy they feel, therefore the more joy *everyone* will feel.

So they bang some more. Joy for everyone!

When that child begins to beat on the drum, there’s no “inner critic” sounding off, tempering that child’s enthusiasm. There’s no emotional debate inside that child’s head, saying “well, I’m not really experienced with percussion so maybe I’ll leave that up to the experts…” or “I’m not very ‘musical’ so I’ll pass, even though that looks super fun.”

No. There is NONE of that. The only question is “is it fun?” and if the answer is yes, then all systems go.

If you spend enough time around a child who enthusiastically dives into something purely for the fun of it, it begins to rub off on you. Kids understand that, which is why they want to tell you EVERYTHING about certain activities or things or events they are excited about. Or they want to give you running commentary on a TV show or movie as its happening. Or they want to tell you long-winded, breathy secrets right into your ear that make very little sense. They want to share the magic. They want you to *share* in that magic. that is their way of giving back, of showing love. They share what brings them joy.

I believe that generosity of spirit, that desire to share the joy of something, is the purest form of humility there is. The only way a young child understands how to show respect and caring for others is by sharing what they know to be precious. They share half their cookie, they share a story, they share a hug, they share a song… that’s how a child shows love and respect. They share what they believe to be special and worthy and precious. If that isn’t humility- giving of yourself, sharing your life without reserve- I’m not sure what is.

Sure, maturity brings about more of an “aware” view of the world. Not everyone WANTS a hug, or to share our cookie with us. And we can’t go walking around banging on pots all day (although sometimes, when I am frustrated, the idea appeals to me…). But with maturity also comes a dampening of our enthusiasm.

How many things do we NOT do every single day because we believe we’re not any good at them and therefore don’t have the right to even try? If you are like me, it’s probably a lot.

We worry so much about what other people will think. We worry so much about failure. We worry so much about doing things wrong that we don’t take the opportunities to delight in just purely doing something for the hell of it, because it’s joyful and fun.

The sad part is, when we dampen our own enthusiasm, we wind up squelching others’ enthusiasm, too. Think about it… we all have that friend that jumps into something positive in a whole-hearted way, and we admire her for it. We support her. She inspires us.

Then there’s the friend that wants to do something but never commits. She has a million reasons why she doesn’t just go ahead and do it. That energy is not inspiring, it’s kind of a downer, to be totally honest. That lack of enthusiasm is exhausting and certainly doesn’t inspire.

Enthusiasm is infectious- if you do something for the joy of it, and share that experience with others, they get that spark, too. When you do something with joy and enthusiasm (even if it’s something you do terribly), and you SHARE that experience, you are truly doing a service to the world. You are planting seeds of inspiration in others.

Bottom line: Enthusiasm for your own life is a basic expression of humility.

This week I have been asking myself: when was the last time I did something because it appealed to me on some basic, primal level? When was the last time I did something simply because it looked fun? When was the last time I did something “out of my element” and share the results (no matter how appalling) with enthusiasm instead of hiding it away in shame?

What about you?

It’s never too late to join in. Simply have some creative fun and get ready to share it next Tuesday. You can leave a comment here or create a blog post over on your site and link it to Bliss Habits on Tuesdays. We’re even on Twitter: Kathy added a # to p2play to make #p2play for twitter! Share your creations there too! We are @BlissHabits (Kathy) and @GingerblueArt (Chel) if you’d like to copy us too!

Here’s a banner you can put on your blog:


the code for this badge (just copy/paste into your own blog):

<a href=””><img alt=”playchallenge” src=”” width=”200″ height=”142″ /></a>

Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.

2 thoughts on “PERMISSION TO PLAY : Humility : #p2play

  1. You said it all so well in that last line near the end, Chel… “Enthusiasm for your own life is a basic expression of humility.” This is a good one to remember and contemplate! :o)

    • I’m trying to embrace this every day this summer (it’s sort of become my summer mission!) and it’s not easy. But I think it’s a worthwhile process (at least, I hope it is!)

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