Playing at Love

When we’re little, with an innate sense of exploration, our curiosity generally overrides our sense of caution. The word “careful” is just a parental warning about some unknown concept called consequences. 

 We swing ourselves up to where the branches are flexible. We grind along handrails on 3″ wheels, bike over mossy rocks and jump off of almost anything we can climb on. We hold our breath until we’re dizzy and we test our physical resolve constantly with furniture gymnastics, science experiments, and flashes of indecision.

And then we get hurt. 

Like a vaccine in a syringe, fear seeps into our system. Our lenses become clouded with visions of broken bones or cuts and bruises. We begin to slow down or perhaps navigate the jungle gym with a little less enthusiasm. We’re much more careful about running through lawn sprinklers or splashing endlessly in the deep end of the swimming pool.

Pure abandon is left somewhere between our childhood home and our last trip to the emergency room. Free and alive is replaced with an awareness that we may be more fragile than we can even imagine. Sooner or later, we take on the responsibility of playing safe. 

Playing safely is the same as loving moderately. So we may be convinced that we can shield ourselves from pain simply by avoiding it or wearing emotional armor.

Risk means loss. Loss of enjoyment, loss of freedom, loss of life. So we guard ourselves against pain. We don’t share who we really are because it could mean rejection. 

We easily forget all of the many times that we were able to have love, make friendships, indulge in sweet romantic moments and put our focused consideration on the one or two or maybe several times that we perceived or experienced pain. 

Suddenly the world is no longer worthy of our exploration. Suddenly we take what we can get as long as it doesn’t require shifting out of comfort. We settle for relationships that don’t challenge our status quo and we don’t get to play full out.

The pain of Love can be difficult when we experience rejection, but it’s excruciating when we choose not to take any risk at all. Love is play. Sure we may get hurt AND we may also experience exhilarating aliveness and connection. Love is not a risk-free proposition and, if not to give and receive love, what else could you possibly be here for? 

Wishing you Love & Life,

Coach Candice

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