PERMISSION TO PLAY : Serenity : #p2play

playchallenge

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!

passiflora in my garden
passiflora in my garden

These are days, you’ll remember
When May is rushing over you with desire
To be part of the miracles you see in every hour

You’ll know it’s true
that you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you

These are the days you might fill with laughter until you break
These days you might feel a shaft of light make it’s way across your face and
When you do you’ll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
It’s true, you’ll know how it was meant to be
Hear the signs and know they’re speaking to you, to you.

– 10,000 Maniacs

My four years of college were filled with lots of ups and downs- memorable things, good and bad. Lots of BIG moments to remember forever and learn from. But there’s one memory of a *small* thing, and whenever I think about serenity, it’s one of the first things that pops into mind.

When I was a freshman in college, Friday nights were usually “going out” nights. A group of us from my hall would leave the dorm around 9 or 10pm and go out for the night, doing anything from movies to parties to shopping to going to a concert- whatever was going on and sounded good.

However, one Friday in the fall of my freshman year we all wound up staying in for the night. The clocks had turned back for daylight savings, and the weather was unseasonably cold. We all had stuff to tend to- homework, personal things, laundry, etc. Or so we said… looking back on it now, I think the truth of it was that we were all just bone tired and homesick.

It had been a cold day, and I had been exhausted from the second I rolled out of bed that morning, so as soon as I came home from my early morning class, I crawled back into my warm bed and went back to sleep. I was only planning on taking a brief nap, but when I woke up, I was surprised to see it was dark out, and realized that I had slept the afternoon and some of the evening away.

It felt good, though.I had left a little lamp on so the room was bathed in a soft glow, the windows were fogged up from the heat in the building coming on. I was warm and well-rested, and I just felt refreshed.

I napped for a tiny bit more, and then I finally got myself up and padded down the hall to see what my friends were up to. Everyone was quietly doing their own thing, so I decided to head back to my tiny little dorm room in the back corner of our part of the dorm and take care of a few things.

Instead of turning on all the lights, I just kept the tiny lamp on. I loaded my CD player with two beloved, new CDS (10,000 Maniacs “Our Time in Eden” and REM’s “Automatic for the People”) turned the volume down low enough not to disturb the hush that was over the dorm, and spent an hour or two tidying my room, stripping my sheets, gathering laundry and throwing it in the washer down the stairs, sipping hot tea, and chatting with friends who would pop in to say hello. And just *listening* to the music. Stopping and really hearing the songs, and loving them all so much.

For dinner I had a bowl of Rice Krispies at my desk, and I flipped through a magazine I had just received in the mail. At some point I took a hot shower and put on fresh, clean pajamas and a favorite, soft sweatshirt. I remade my bed with clean sheets, and turned down the covers in anticipation of a getting back into it.

It was just a cozy, serene way to spend a fall evening.

I think it stands out to be because it was so good, and it FELT so good, but nothing really happened. I didn’t do anything to make the evening turn out the way it did, it just sort of came together on its own. There was just great music, a sense of “okay-ness” in my body and soul from a good sleep, the awareness of the weekend ahead (two days off- bliss!), a cozy, warm room with fresh, clean sheets and a stack of clean laundry all folded and put away, and that was it. But that was *enough*. That was enough to make such an impact on my crazy college life that I remember that night as being one of the best I spent in my four years of college.

It was a bunch of simple things coming together in just the right way, at exactly the right time, and it restored my soul.

I have been thinking of that night a lot lately. As I kind of “check in” with my inner child for the whole “Permission to Play” challenge, this memory keeps popping up for me. I remember that when I was younger, the simple things were enough to bring about serenity.

Listening to a good CD from start to finish- and JUST listening to a CD. That was enough.

A nap after class.

Cereal for dinner. (A big bowl of cereal, that is.)

Taking a few hours to read a book.

Tidying up enough to feel cozy and accomplished.

Being warm and comfortable and well-rested and feeling happily “tucked-in”.

The truth is that these things are still available to me today. Abundantly available, in fact. My preferences may have changed, but the basic building blocks of serenity haven’t. It’s just about simple, nurturing things coming together and then *being* present for that moment, and receiving it as it unfolds.

Opportunities for serenity, for cozy moments of okay-ness, are all around us. We just have to go with the moment when it presents itself.

Take advantage of some down time. Leave the lights down low. Have a simple dinner one evening. Put on your favorite music when you can. Just *be* in those moments. Let yourself feel okay about being in those moments.

What are your serenity “building blocks”? Do you have a memory of a serene moment that has stuck with you for a long time? I’d love to hear about it.


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:

playchallenge

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

<a href=”http://blisshabits.com/tag/permission-to-play/”><img alt=”playchallenge” src=”http://blisshabits.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/playchallenge.jpg” 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 gingerblue.com (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.



6 thoughts on “PERMISSION TO PLAY : Serenity : #p2play

  1. Oh Chel…I’m feeling more at ease just reading about your memory! What a delightful time…and yea, how easy to forget that the same is available today. Thank you!

  2. I am blissed to have huge windows in the living room looking out on a panoramic view of foothills backdropped by Rockies. A new sunset every night requests observance in a moment of stillness. Everything else disappears. You really can’t stop yourself from watching.

    A long standing time of serenity comes from my stays at a friend’s cabin on Shuswap Lake. I loved nothing better than getting up earlier than everyone else to sit in a big Adirondack chair overlooking the glass smooth lake and listen to the silence.

  3. This was sooo NICE, Chel! I try to return to that place, where a string of “simple things” really life me in a gentle but powerful way–like you were saying. Taking one thing at a time, as much as I can. I’m big on down time, so I sip it long. Some serene moments are each summer my hubby & I like to go to a favorite beach. It’s a protected beach and not usually over-run with people, even in summer. We sit side by side–often in companionable quite, waves crashing, sun-soaking, seagulls wheeling & crying overhead… magic moments I like to remember during the rest of the year or when times get busy. :o)

    • That sounds wonderful! I’m trying to actively create (and be aware of!) little moments of bliss and serenity in my current life so that i can simply immerse myself into similar behaviors and choices and access tranquility when I most need it, especially now that summer is here!

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