I shoot out back into the light like a cannonball, pummeled from behind by thousands of gallons of warm salt water, shoving me under in sworls until I emerge in the center of a circle of erratically spouting fountains. I decide to float, letting the ebb and flow have its way with me.
It had been a day of travel, a day of challenges, some of which slid into fun opportunities and others simply remained challenging. We arrived at the Life Rocks Conference, as I opened the I knew I wasn’t up to speed this, that i was going to feel profoundly overwhelmed, but we’d driven all this way. I stepped into a wall of zigzagging energy blasting out of all the activated and wild playspaces at this kind of burning man for families, already in full swing.
Then the kids had the audacity to ask me if I wanted to go waterslidin’.
Did I? Did I want to get into a bikini in front of hundreds of people? Uh, hell no. Did I feel up to the task of remembering how to have fun at a water park? Uh, not at all. Not even a little bit, but the difference between this invite, and all the other ones I’d been dodging was that I was so fucking bored of feeling like a wanker. It had lost every drop of novelty and charm. Four hours in and I sorely missed Me.
I missed how great I feel being my playful, mischievous, funded, creative and ready to play self. So, I said yes. And started lining up with that yes. As I slipped into my bikini (didn’t take long, it’s freakin’ teeny) I paused to rub coconut oil on my body and thank each part for its work in my life. I paused on my soft, warm belly and thanked it for bearing three children, and for dealing with the occasional MacDonald’s french fry with such grace. And for being so good at letting me know when I need more fuel. My legs I kind of fell in love with in a new way, realizing how they run so beautifully, and dance so inspiredly. After the ritual, I felt differently about my body and my readiness.
As I entered the water park, with fountains and slides and wave pools and all the watery playful splendor you can imagine, I found myself climbing the layers and layers of stairs to my first waterslide experience in years, and my first indoor one, still in that haze that accompanies a fuss. Stair after stair, bare feet carrying me to the top where four different tubes, gushing water awaited me, there and I felt like Indiana Jones at some important crossroads. I chose the blind one first. It was certainly the most difficult and most scary but I was tired of being asleep. I longed to be awake in the life I’d chosen.
As I let go into the darkness, I felt something let go in me. I didn’t fight the speed, but relaxed deeper into each tail spin, drop and curve, as my body picked up more and more speed. And I could see nothing. Absolute darkness. When I came out of the pool, the only thought in my mind was, “again.” I felt like a child, all thrill and greed for thrill as I tried out every slide, loving the feeling of being carried and shot out into the air, loving the immersion in so much warm water and the proximity to so much thrill and speed and whush.
Later, I lay in the circle of fountains, finally relaxed, not coma-relax, but play-relaxed, ready, happy, open, and I stumbled upon a new understanding of the word balance, which has been kind of an irksome topic for me. (I get so bored by the notion of perpetual balance, with no gaps or spaces of growth-rich chaos, that I think I’d thrown out the baby with the bathtub there.) Here, I felt in absolute balance. I was in love with my body again, as a vessel for my full tilt playing. I was even in love with the sadness earlier, as clarifying as it was. I felt, in a way I never have before, conscious of how properly poised upon the fulcrum of my beingness I am. It isn’t that play solves all my problems, but that it elevates me to where I can move with the movingness.