Last week my Facebook friend Marva posed an intriguing question. She first told a charming story on herself, that resulted in delightful giggles, even though she was alone at the time. Marva wrote, “My childlike enthusiasm and eagerness made me smile and hug myself.”
And then she asked, “What endears you to yourself?”
That is such a good question. She didn’t ask for a list of strengths, or what our best character qualities were. Nor did she ask what other people liked best about us. She dropped beneath those into the heart of joy and mirth.
“What endears you to yourself?”
Endears…the definition of which is to make dear. I discovered there is a more obsolete meaning to the word. In the late 1500s endear meant to increase value.
I have thought about my friend’s question for several days.
“What endears me to myself? What makes me dear to myself? What do I do that in my own estimation, increases my value to myself?
What makes me smile, giggle and want to hug myself, even when, or perhaps especially when, I am alone?
I considered several things…my creativity, my magical connection to the Divine, my intuitive and empathic abilities. Today, the answer rose, and I knew it was the right one. It made me laugh and feel lighthearted.
What endears me to myself, and makes me smile, giggle and want to hug myself, is my playfulness. As a child, and a first born at that, with tendencies to shoulder responsibilities and please the authority figures in my life, I could appear quite serious.
And yet…I had, and still possess, this wild, unbelievably vivid imagination. I created stories and daydreamed about alternative realities, disappearing up into trees and onto rooftops. I “fished” in mud puddles and sold mosquito larvae, thinking they were baby guppies. I played long and hard every day, in the company of other children or totally alone.
I am grateful that while I never completely lost my joy of playing, I am much more connected to that part of myself now, than I have been since childhood. Oh, my children gave me an outlet for imaginative play and my grandchildren provide that now. However, recently I have realized that I don’t need the excuse of being in the presence of kids to play. Playing is my birthright. It is who I am.
Seventeen months ago, in the midst of playing a month long game that I created for myself, I asked God…Do you want to play with me? That’s a bold question to ask the Divine. But I was experiencing amazing synchronicities and an invitation seemed to have been extended. The answer that came changed everything for me.
“Do you want to play with me?”
This whole year has been about playing, about creativity being birthed though play and tenderness being birthed through creativity. More times than I can count, I have burst into peals of laughter over my own playful antics, over my own ahas, and no one has been there to witness it. No one needs to be. This is about me discovering who I am at my core…and playing with the Divine, engaging with Life, expressing creativity, and learning and growing. And yes, it includes playful interactions with others, compassion, tenderness, and love…wholehearted, unconditional, big as the universe…love.
I am deeply grateful for Marva. What a soulful question to ask, and how beautiful to ponder it for a few days. My desire to create, to write, to share via a blog is an extension of my fondness for play. I will keep playing and making up games for myself and creating and sharing, because it both deepens my joy to do so and broadens it.
Being playful endears me to myself. And that makes me smile.