When I was growing up the emphasis was on work, on getting good grades, on filling your days with useful, worthwhile activities. Play was something you did in the time that was left over, in the few minutes at the end of the day. I tied my value to my productivity, to people pleasing and I believed the harder I worked, the more love I would get back.
Does this sound familiar?
Fast forward to the age of ten and I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The more work I did, the more I ignored my body and the worse I felt, until I became bedbound at the age of sixteen. My body had had enough, I had worked it to its limit and now it wouldn’t do anything – walk, move or even get out of bed. I couldn’t read or write, watch TV, listen to music or do any of the things I used to enjoy.
Now, when I had lost all else, I started to listen. I got still and quiet in my darkened room and I paid attention, because ignoring and overriding my needs, brought severe pain and illness. I listened to the call of my heart, to the desire for comfort and play and I took action. I did what I could. I began to see joy in the simplest things, because that was all my body could cope with. A beautiful
flower, a bowl of fresh snow brought in from outside, the way torch light through a crystal was transformed into dancing rainbows. I saw the beauty that surrounded me, beauty that before I had been far too busy and too stressed to see, let alone enjoy. I appreciated every new experience, seeing life as if for the first time and as my joy grew, so did my self-care and I began to recover.
Slowly, painfully slowly at times; but I began to escape from the dark and return to the light.
I started to look on the world in a different way. I could no longer take part in the “normal” way, the expected way. I had to get creative, adapt things to suit my needs, finding ways to explore the world and celebrate life without going out into it. Coming up with the idea of virtual vacations, holidays from home and parties in your pad, all so that I could keep living, loving and laughing.
The three things that give meaning to life, the three things I had never valued before.
Now I treasure them with all my heart and I fiercely defend their place in my daily life. I search for them, I make time for
them and I am happier for it. You can be too.
When was the last time you gave yourself permission to play?
To do something simply because it was fun and made you smile?
When did you allow yourself time to not be productive, to not be working, striving and forcing, to make your dream to come true?
We all need dreams, big, beautiful exciting ones that make us tingle with excitement and light us up with passion. We also need to enjoy the journey, to find the fun and beauty in every day. Stop right now and listen. What is your heart calling you to do? What one simple thing would bring happiness to you today? It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be life changing. You just have to listen and take action. Don’t override it. Don’t put it off until tomorrow or when you have time. Take action today. Now.
Enjoy it. Feel it and do it again. Remember all the little moments of joy add up to create a life that’s worth living – full of love and laughter.
Try it today, and let me know how you get on.
Claire Wade is a virtual tour guide and party planner at Live in Love in Laugh in.
Using her twenty years of experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she helps people who are ill and need a break, an escape from reality. With her virtual vacations, holidays from home and parties in your pad – she brings the fun to them, without them ever having to go out.
Claire is also working on her first novel. Her happiest place is her garden writing room. She loves watching television, chocolate and baking, so sitting eating chocolate cake, fresh from the oven, while watching The Newsroom is her idea of heaven.
Discover more about her and her virtual adventures at www.clairewade.com.