Saturday afternoon, my Sweetheart and I were sitting on a bench at front of the beach  in Carpinteria, enjoying the beauty and fabulous breeze. I watched a group of five 20 somethings approach the steps leading to the sand. The group was made up of three guys and two girls. They were dressed very nicely like they were going to a party or had come from an event.

One of the girls took off her shoes, ran gleefully up the stairs and onto the sandy beach. She ran, laughing at the feeling of sand on her bare feet. She exclaimed “It’s great, come on,” to the rest of the group. They looked skeptically at each other. Clearly, they weren’t going to make fools of themselves like she had.

One guy said something about “someone’s getting all their birthday wishes coming true” and I thought he meant the girl on the sand, so I wished her a Happy Birthday. She giggled and said it wasn’t her birthday, and pointed to one of the other guys. He was tall and attractive, the best dressed and seemingly most inhibited about running out into the sand. I said something like “She looks like she knows how to celebrate and have fun. Why aren’t you  out there having fun too? Besides, did you know that if you’re barefoot in sand, you  can dump all the anxiety and other freaky energy you no longer want? It turns neutral and energizes the sand in a positive way. Why not dump all the stuff that no longer serves you?”

That interested them, but they still seemed like they were afraid to just get out there and play. “Does it really do that?” asked the other young woman. “Oh yes,” I replied. “I advise it for all the people I work with therapeutically toward more ease and peace in their lives.”

“He’ll never take his shoes off,” declared the first guy. As if to say “Oh yeah?”, our Birthday Boy sat right down on the bench  next to mine and took off his socks and shiny polished boots. All of a sudden, everyone was taking off their shoes and running onto the sand. At they crossed the sand in front of me, heading out, each one of them thanked me or gave me a big smile before running off to play.

We get stuck believing in order to be “adult”, we have to give up being playful and having fun in ways that don’t include having to out drink each other or play some other winner/loser competitive game. We may have had childhoods that never allowed us the luxury of play. Maybe circumstances forced us to grow up fast, or perhaps there was nothing to celebrate. Or maybe we’ve bought into a culture that says only fools and children play in the sand and have fun. I say, let me be a fool and a child always. Let me never forget that joy and play are two of the greatest gifts we have.

Those five friends celebrating a birthday on Saturday chose to allow themselves to play. When we left about half an hour later, the friends were still out there frolicking in their nice clothes among nude toddlers, families and bikini clad bathers. They didn’t care that they weren’t dressed appropriately for the beach. They didn’t care if people looked at them strangely or had judgments about their actions. They decided to choose their own happiness.

This is what happens in every moment for each of us. Will we be afraid of what others will think about us? Will we be concerned about friends teasing us or people thinking we aren’t good enough, cute enough, smart enough etc? Or will we decide what works for us and choose that? Choosing your own happiness should never come at the expense of anyone else. I’m not advocating that. I’m saying that life is lived moment by moment. Each choice one makes in each moment creates a happy future or not. Play is an essential part of living a happy, ease filled life.

The Birthday Boy could have decided he was too cool to take off his shoes and run in the sand. The girl who was having so much fun probably would have climbed back down, dusted off her feet and gone off to whatever plans they chose instead. She knew this was the best choice, but she would’ve been outnumbered and not want to spoil the day. Their story would have had a different ending. Maybe they would have done something else enjoyable, but it wouldn’t have fed their souls as much as playing with the joy and exuberance I saw coming from every one of them.

So your choice in every moment is to be safe and go along with the crowd so you fit in, or to be your own authentic self, like the girl and the Birthday Boy. They choice the freedom of personal joyful expression that comes through play. And once chosen, they will be able to return there again, having found their way back this time. In every situation, this is your choice as well.

If you choose to remember you are always an ageless, timeless soul inside and don’t buy into the “rules” that say you’re supposed to act a particular way, you’ll be free of the chains of fearful compliance. The consequences for allowing life to weigh you down and forgetting you always have access to the playful child is a fearful life of dis-ease. The birthday group decided they remembered how amazing play is and to give up the grindy issues that got in their way from that  moment forward. Will that single choice make a difference in their overall life? You bet it will! Making those kinds of choices is what keeps you timeless and ageless.

Making choices to enjoy your life and look for the play in every situation including work, guarantees that you stay vital, animated with life-force and ageless. ~ Stay Juicy!

~ by Lorraine E. Castro on June 10, 2012.


  1. I was fortunate to witness and be a part of this display of choosing playfulness. Stay young!


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