I’ve alluded a lot to how much resistance I’ve experienced towards my calling as a minister. Part of the reason for this is because I grew up in a conservative Korean Christian community where women weren’t allowed to be ordained. So the only ministers I saw as a child were old, serious Korean men, whom I couldn’t relate to. It wasn’t until I got to college that I met a female minister for the very first time and it would be even later when I would meet a young female minister for the first time in my life.
I think this goes for a lot of folks—that even when we have a nudge towards something, there’s resistance because we haven’t seen anybody like us doing it, or we haven’t met any role-models. Or what we really want to do, we haven’t seen anybody else doing that unique combination of things.
So we just remain stuck with the options before us, most of which are merely options that we’ve seen others doing.
One strategy I came across accidentally that helped me break through my resistance and released my imagination and courage to craft a destiny that is completely unique to me is…play. That’s right, play.
A few years ago, I read a random blog post about somebody taking an improv class and I thought to myself, “hm, that sounds like fun.” I had always wanted to do it in high school and college but never got around to it. I did some research and it turned out that the one of the world’s premiere improv schools, the Upright Citizens Brigade (Amy Poehler is one of the founders) was just 15 miles away from where I was living at the time. So I took the plunge, signed up for an intro class and for ten weeks, played and laughed harder than I had since I was 7-years-old. Oh my god, it was so amazing. A completely different side of me emerged. I was able to set aside my daily, responsible and rational self for 3 hours once a week and let a silly, crazy, wild and courageous kid emerge.
I signed up for the class with a “what the hell” kind of attitude, thinking I was just adding a little more fun time into my life. Little did I know it would have a domino effect and influence other areas of my life such as my orientation towards my career, my confidence, my mental health, etc.
You may be thinking, “um, that’s totally not me. I wouldn’t be able to do something like that.” And what I would say to you is—that’s the point! The point of play is to completely LET GO and get out of your adult comfort zone of self-consciousness and propriety.
Play releases a side of us that still exists, in fact, has been existent prior to our more adult rational selves. It’s a side that helps us to dream, hope, imagine, create and be joyful.
So if you’re feeling stuck, depressed or resistant in your life right now, I recommend some weekly doses of regular play time no matter how old you are. It could be taking an improv class or something less daunting like turning up some music and dancing without inhibitions or running in the fields pretending to be Julie Andrews or swimming in a river and splashing water with your child.
At a certain age, we just stop playing and it affects us. It stunts our growth and creative capacities.
Keep being silly.
It will free you.