I took my kids to LEGO land over the weekend and we stayed at a hotel onsite that is quite literally covered in LEGOS. It was a dream come true for my kids who have been playing with those little squares since they were old enough to pick them up and terrifyingly try to put them in their mouths. The hotel had all the amenities you would want or expect for a place that was engineered around entertaining kids. There was the indoor playground, juice boxes galore, treasure hunts and dance parties. All of that was great - and my kids loved it - but it didn’t compare to my favorite special effect: The elevator. When you stepped into the elevator it was covered in murals of LEGO figures, which was cool but not all that special. It was when the doors closed that the magic happened. Suddenly music started to play and a disco ball on the ceiling turned on. Kids and adults alike broke out their dance moves when “everything is awesome” started pumping through the speakers. It was amazing to witness and be a part of. Regardless of who was in the elevator, kids and strangers alike would break out their rusty dance moves and move to the music. There were more smiles and laughter shared in that elevator than I would sometimes experience in a full day. It didn’t matter how many times you rode up and down in that elevator, as a dad of two young kids said to me, “it never gets old.” He was right. Every time the music came on it brought a smile to your face and provided a lighthearted way to connect with people you didn’t know. It invited you to reconnect with your inner child and let go of your inhibitions and just be silly. It provided an outlet to let go of your worries and realize that life doesn’t always have to be so darn serious. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would look like to bring this concept into our daily lives. What would it look like in the corporate offices if every morning you stepped into an elevator playing “we are family” and your colleagues let loose and shared in a dance-off? How would you feel if on the way to the doctors office for a worry some exam you stepped in and heard “don’t worry be happy”? Would you look at people differently if the barriers were temporarily taken down and you saw your fellow human as someone just like you? We are so used to putting up boundaries that finding a moment of joy can be really challenging. Happiness is our birthright, yet accessing it can be incredibly hard because of all the walls we have built up in order to be professional, proper, or appropriate. Unfortunately sharing in joy with others often becomes something we have to schedule in and plan for; like a trip with the family to LEGOland. In Indigenous cultures it has been said that if a person went to a shaman or medicine man/woman complaining of feeling depressed or disheartened, they would ask four simple questions: - When did you stop dancing? - When did you stop singing? - When did you stop being enchanted by stories? - When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence
Bringing some playfulness back into our lives through dance, song, and sharing stories might just be the remedy we need. If you watch a child play you will often see them experience moments of blissful joy that as adults we have lost touch with. I invite you to reconnect with your inner child and see what kind of joyful experiences are waiting for you. You might not have a disco laden elevator to step into, but you can create your own fun. Find your favorite dance worthy song, crank it up and let loose. You might be surprised at how much joy this simple act can bring to your life. “During any dance to which we surrender with joy, the brain loses it’s controlling power, and the heart takes up the reins of the body.” - Paulo Coelho
Nicole Lovald is the author of Om Sweet Om: A Corporate Junkie's Search for Enlightenment. You can find her book on Amazon.com!