Are we afraid of fun?

Monday’s post about Dyngus Day caused consultant John Boisvert to muse on the concept of fun and pose this question:

“Does fun and celebration get forgotten or is it frowned upon or do we feel uncomfortable using the time to celebrate?”

My short answer is YES.

Especially in the adult world, and especially in the corporate world, things get busy…and busier….and busier. There is an increasing strong illusion that is cast over us that we have less time. I’m very familiar with this dark spell. And play, something so natural to us early in our lives, gets put aside as ‘more practical’ activities take their place.

And I can tell you first-hand that play gets frowned on. There’s usually someone on a planning committee that thinks team building is stupid, useless, a waste of time. They feel there’s no point to it, and there’s no point to fun if it’s not directly positively affecting the bottom line. I have this person inside me too (you probably do as well). I notice putting a higher priority on play that also gives me something else – a workout, an insight, or something practical gets done. It’s easier to enter play here – it feels safer.

And yes, we feel uncomfortable taking time to celebrate, to complete. I even notice this while doing yoga. The final pose is shavasa, a resting pose. In many ways this is the most important pose of all, as it allows for integration of all of our work. Yet, especially when doing yoga by myself – which is just about every day – that’s the hardest battle, to take that time.

When people live out the mythic Hero’s Journey, – and we all are – the crucial last step is often forgotten. This is when the hero takes what she has learned and brings it back to the larger world – to her community and shares the benefit of what her challenging experiences has given. Yet, this integration and celebration is what we long for. Think of the satisfaction that comes at the end of a story, of a movie, of a book, when the crisis is resolved, the adventure is over, and friends and loved ones gather together for a celebration. Now imagine a wedding – yours or someone you care about – where the celebration is skipped. You get married and then, “okay, the 30 minute wedding break is over, back to work.”

We are afraid of fun. Or at least some fearful part of us is. If life is a looming battle to be fought, there’s no room for play. Play seems dangerous. This resonates with me. I know this part of me. And if I can feel this, as a person who has dedicated his professional life to both helping others play and playing music, then I’m betting you can too.

But we’re also not afraid of fun. The bigger, larger part of us, that knows we are safe in the world, is in fact drawn to it, as sure as a magnet is drawn to iron. Our innovative, inquisitive selves are drawn to it. And our true productive selves are drawn to it too, not only for how it refreshes a stale day, but the insight and fresh view it provides.

What do you think? Here’s John’s question again – “Does fun and celebration get forgotten or is it frowned upon or do we feel uncomfortable using the time to celebrate?” How do you see fun and celebration living in your life and all of our lives? I’d love to hear what you think.

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