Movement and play and real life

Today I took my daughters to the swimming pool for the first time this year. It was a warm, sunny afternoon, and they were so eager to swim after such a long time away from the water.

And it was a delight. That first plunge into a cool pool is such a sensory pleasure. Time stands still. You feel your body, momentarily weightless. Your skin tingles. Your inner compass spins. Your physical presence comes alive after a long hiatus of being bound to just the ground.

We played silly games in the pool and stretched our limbs and soaked in just a bit of sunshine.

And we smiled. My kids were smiling and laughing and actually enjoying each other with a freedom I haven’t seen in a while. Disconnected from screens, with nothing but water and their bodies, they played and wearied themselves the old-fashioned way. With movement.

Our bodies are too often just the vehicle for our minds. We are so busy thinking, mostly about things not truly worth thinking about, that we rarely feel even the weight of our bodies, much less the subtle interactions of our senses.

But jump into the water and you will rediscover that you are more than just a worry-fillled mind.

I need more movement, more mindful movement at least. To feel the ground under my bare feet, to actually taste and smell the food I eat, to float and splash and play.

Physical play, I think, is our default state. Being a dad has returned me to real play, and I need more of it. Swimming and freeze tag and tickle fights. Movement. Touch. Laughter. This is real life. Not passive staring at screens and sitting. So much sitting.

Take off your shoes and jump into real life this spring.