Welcome to Tuesdays with Chel.
Each week Chel Micheline of gingerblue dot com will offer her perspectives on our Bliss Habits. Please enjoy the wisdom and clarity she offers.
“There’s no backward and no forward, no day other than this. You fill your cart as you go, and that’s that.”
– John Burnham Schwartz
In celebration of Whimsy week here on Bliss Habits, I decided to turn to the expert: my six-year-old daughter (see photo above).
Gracie a *very* happy girl, and also very thoughtful, and I wanted to see how she went about her time, the decisions she made… I wanted insight on her “process”, so to speak. Sometimes I really wonder if my control-freak habits are the main block to my happiness. But Gracie is quite organized and she still manages to be whimsical and joyful. I wanted to see how she did went about her business, if maybe I was missing something obvious.
So I sat on the couch and pretended to read a little bit and watched Gracie out of the corner of my eye.
Gracie started by lulling about in the corner of the living room where all her toys are. She wasn’t bored, she was just entertaining her options, thinking about what she wanted to do. Feeling things out, in a way. She poked through a few bins of toys, picked up a kazoo and blew into it a few times, put it back, and finally decided to play with her Barbies.
The Barbie dolls had big long discussions about Something Important (they always do), and then Gracie dressed them to the nines and piled them into the Barbie Jeep and motored them across the living room floor.
Gracie and the Barbies ended up on the other side of the living room. For a while Barbie and her friends kicked around a ball (a small cat toy that was repurposed into a beach ball for Barbie) and then Gracie took an interest in the basket we use to keep all our extra blankets and throws in.
Gracie climbed in the basket, tucked herself in amongst all the blankets and draped one across the top, creating a perfect cozy fort for herself. She hung out in there for a couple of minutes, and then I saw her arm reach out and grab around for something to read. Her arm landed on a box for a Wii game and so that disappeared into the fort.
After a while I guess she got warm (or bored), so she climbed out and started playing the Wii game that she had been holding. After a little of that, and switching to new games, (and me leaving the room for a bit to go into my art studio), she wandered into the art studio, sat down, and began coloring.
After a while she asked if she could do what I was doing (painting and stenciling) and I set her up, and we both quietly did our thing for a little while. After a bit, she put the paints away and tucked her chair back under her table and announced she was going to use the bathroom. She didn’t come back- I later realized she had gone from the bathroom to her room and was reading a book and scribbling in her journal.
So what’s all this got to do with Whimsy?
I think at some point I got it in my head that being whimsical required more than I was always willing to give it. T’s always seemed like being whimsical required some sort of Big Decision, or just a focused energy, enough to act on a “whim” after it arises deep inside us.
And as much as I’d like to be more whimsical, there are days when I just don’t want to make Big Decisions and there are days when I have no extra energy to focus on being whimsical.
By watching Gracie just “go with the flow”, I realized something really important- whimsy can occur simply by doing what feels interesting. Investigating options. Seeing what arises. Following the gentle flow of what’s happening. There doesn’t need to be any decision making or extra energy involved. I can be more whimsical simply by mindfully going about my day, seeing what arises and what piques my interest, and gently following it (or not). That’s all it takes!
Gracie didn’t set out to play with the intention of being whimsical- she just followed her interests. I mean, that what six year olds do, right?
When she went from playing with Barbies to building a little fort with the basket and blankets, it wasn’t a conscious decision on her part. She didn’t weight the pros and cons of each activity and decide what would be a better use of time and which would have more bang for the buck. The idea of a blanket fort just appealed to her, she explored it.
So what would happen if I did a little more of that every day? Not necessarily setting out with the goal of being whimsical, but instead just following the gentle flow of time and interests, and seeing where the day takes me. I think it might be worth a shot.