PERMISSION TO PLAY : Surprise : #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!

Gracie at Disney in may
Gracie at Disney in May, 2013

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”
– Boris Pasternak

As you may know, my family and I live just a few hours from Walt Disney World. In addition, Disney offers Florida residents deeply discounted passes to all the parks, so we go there often. I grew up in NY so trips to Disney were a special treat so going with my own daughter is pretty meaningful.

The first time we went to Disney, Gracie was about 18 months old. We went on the “safe” rides- gentle, sweet, colorful, and no height requirements. Each time we’ve gone, and as Gracie has grown, we’ve added to the selection of rides that we go on as a family.

When Gracie finally reached 40″ in height, several “bigger” rides became available to her. One of them was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is a pretty lightweight roller coaster that simulates an old West train thundering through some coal mines. Of course, for a little kid, no roller coaster is “lightweight”. But my family has always adored Big Thunder Mountain so we figured it might be something she might enjoy, too. Even my parents, who like to treat Gracie as if she is a delicate flower, encouraged her to give it a try, assuming she’d love it.

WRONG. Gracie HATED Big Thunder Mountain the first time she rode it. And she didn’t want to go on it ever again. EVER AGAIN.

We’ve been to Disney several times since then and we’ve asked her every time if she’d like to give Big Thunder Mountain another try, and the answer was always “no”. The interesting thing is that some of the other coasters and fast rides- rides like Splash Mountain and Goofy’s Barnstormer, Mission Space and Test Track – have become some of her favorite things at Disney.

The last time we were at Disney, back in May, Gracie hesitantly agreed to give Big Thunder Mountain another try. She nervously walked with us up to the ride, and hesitantly got into the little train that we were directed to. She just didn’t want to ride up front. We all took a deep breath at the little train shuddered forward and the old-timey-cowboy warned us to “watch our hats”.

A few minutes later, the right shuddered to a stop and we disembarked, keeping a close eye on Gracie. She To our complete surprise, after skipping off the ride with a big smile on her face, Gracie loudly announced to us that Big Thunder Mountain was now her *second* favorite ride at Disney.

In fact, she surprised us at the end of the day when we gave her “last pick” of ANY ride at the park, and she wanted to go back to Big Thunder Mountain, having decided it was her absolute FAVORITE ride. More than Splash Mountain, more than Peter Pan. And she loved Big Thunder Mountain even more the second time around. It was completely different for her. It was fun and funny and exciting and *not* scary. It was small.

Gracie and I have been talking about it a lot- why all the sudden something that was so overwhelming and scary and intense and uncomfortable for her is now something she enjoys and doesn’t think is a big deal at all. I finally explained to her that the ride isn’t growing- *she* is. The ride has been the same the entire time. And that the ride suddenly seems much smaller because *she’s* gotten bigger. And that someday some of the other rides that scare her will seem a lot less scary, too.

It made me realize the same can be said of life.

We may be done physically growing, but every day our souls and our hearts grow and expand a little bit. And sometimes, things that seemed completely out of our league just a short while ago are suddenly manageable and even, perhaps, *enjoyable*.

Here’s the lesson: don’t underestimate your own ability to surprise yourself. Something that seemed daunting just a few weeks ago may suddenly be completely different today, simply because in that period of time your soul has been growing leaps and bounds.

And your soul will continue to grow, every single moment of your life.

So take a little time to surprise yourself this week. Think about something that wasn’t comfortable or safe or manageable or something that was too big or overwhelming a short while ago. See if that thing isn’t suddenly within your grasp. If it’s not, come around to it again in a few more weeks or months. We have dreams and ideas for a reason.

As for me, I’m going to give the “going back to school” thing another look. When I looked into it a few weeks ago, the financial part of it scared the crap out of me, and I backed away. Maybe it’s time to take another peek and see if it’s slightly less imposing now that I’ve had some time to “grow” since then.

They key is not to give up. You just never know when you might surprise yourself.

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.

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