Something is beginning to happen. Yesterday, you began to explore the ways you play. You looked at the ways you did so as a child, and considered other ways you would like to now. In yoga there is a concept of Lila (also spelled Leela) – the play of life, or divine play. It is a concept that all that exists is the outcome of play. We could consider that through play we find the way we best engage with the world, and share our greatest talents. I think this relates to our traditional concept in western culture, which Shakespeare so aptly describes when he wrote “All the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players.”
Did you ever see that movie with Maggie Gyllenhall and Will Farrell, Stranger Than Fiction? There is a fantastic scene in there that demonstrates what I am going to suggest you consider today.
If you decided not to watch it, Maggie’s character, Ana Pascal describes how she was going to Harvard Law School, but somehow her love of cooking for the study groups brought her true talent to the foreground of her life, leaving her with a D average and a clue as to how she was going to change the world. These types of accidents happen so commonly, I imagine you could tell me a tale or two about someone who “fell into” a new role that was so clearly them, even the way they did other things dripped with the signs of their gift. We all are like that. Did you know it?
I know a lot of artists, and I haven’t asked them permission to share their tales of finding their form of art, or I might recount them here, but many went through a variety of modalities before finding their personal niche. I have known a few physicists, too, and they are incredibly similar in how they were just bursting with curiosity and the desire to find the right application of that intensity. It can take a few tries to find what play works for us.
So okay – you are on the path, albeit loosely. How does sharing come in? Share your play with others. If you are exploring cooking, cook with or for others. Hold a recipe swap at your next potluck! Make it so it is not about you, but you get to see how you play with others. Because, we know that the fruits of our work cannot be for ourselves. We derive so much more joy from the sharing.
What about the sciences? Volunteer at a science museum, or for the science classes at a nearby school. Get a telescope and invite nieces and nephews over for a meteor shower. If you are working with the math, come help me! Just kidding – offer to work at the local tax support hub in the new year or look for aid agencies that may need math support for children or adults in the area. Honestly, math tutors are really needed. See how you do with doing math together.
What about other seemingly solitary interests like writing and singing? I think I have known many writers who felt it was sharing to go write at the coffee shop. Actually, when I was waitressing, there were several writers who would come to write. I tried to leave them to it. Knowing how important not breaking a thought is. There were a couple who felt I should stop working to sit and read manuscripts or listen to them read to me. That, honestly, was sort of rude, because it made me a captive at work instead of letting me share in the gift. No – I think writer workshops and literary groups are something that serve that purpose better. You may have special friends whose nature is also writing and who may be able to start such a group with you. But writing someone a story for a birthday, or gifting the family with the family story is something altogether different. It is a truly unique and appreciated gift. It still seems solitary in nature, but that is really the nature of this talent.
For some people, the talent or gift is so subtle or groundbreaking that they cannot have a clue unless they see themselves in groups. If you are still wondering what it is that you possibly have to offer – throw a party. Or create a gathering somewhere. Start taking time to visit places you’ve never ventured before and push yourself to meet 5 people on your trip. I am not necessarily talking about going to a new city, but to a store you would normally never enter. You may have to do these things often to get any real clues, but the group of people you meet will tell you something. If you are shy, this can be particularly difficult. But what you do, more so – how you do it – will tell you something about what you offer. Take pictures on your trips (okay, not in the stores, but…) create collages. Invite friends over to tea to tell them about your adventures and solicit feedback about what rhythms and repeating patterns they see. Take them with you.
All of these things are sharing. Sharing your experience of life – but also sharing how you experience life with others. This richness is what makes us all sit up in our chairs and listen when you share your tale, your talent, and your story.
Yoga Pose of the Day: Garudasana – Eagle Pose
Yogic Concept of the Day: I share my play with others.