Hey Helpers: It’s OK to have fun

paintingFor ten years, I had a blog called Have Fun, Do Good. I recently moved it over here to brittbravo.com, but dropped the name, Have Fun, Do Good, because I felt like a fraud. I was trying very hard to do good, and be good, but I wasn’t having that much fun.

That truth was brought home to me recently when I went to my first intuitive painting class with Chris Zydel. The idea behind the class is that it’s the process of painting that you focus on, not the product, or as Chris described it in the little booklet she gave me at the beginning of class, “What we are trying to learn to pay attention to is what we are feeling as we paint.”

Wanting to be a “good” student, I focused deeply on how I was feeling with each stroke. When I painted something that appealed to me, I would paint right over it, so that I wouldn’t be focused on the product. After an hour, or so, Chris came to check in on how I was doing.

I told her that I really liked the little yellow-orange ball at the bottom of the painting, and I knew that I should be focusing on the process, not the product, but I really didn’t want to paint over it. And then I got teary (I’m a big crier).

First, she pointed out that I was using the word “should” a lot, and second, that maybe what I needed to do was instead of painting over the parts that I liked, I could paint around them to “protect them.” As I painted happy borders around my favorite parts of the painting, I realized that in life I often do what I think I should do, and don’t protect my time for fun. I paint over my fun with shoulds.

I share this story in case you are a helper, or someone who does a lot of things you feel like you should do, especially for other people, but don’t allow yourself to have much fun. I’m here to tell you after 20+ years of giving and helping and service that I’m about tapped, and am in need of an emergency fun transfusion. Don’t be like me. Don’t wait till your fun muscle has atrophied, and you’re crying in a painting class about an orange blob of paint. Give yourself some fun, joy, happiness, peace, open-heartedness, or whatever makes you feel good every day.

Teach me: How do you protect time to have fun every day?

4 thoughts on “Hey Helpers: It’s OK to have fun

  1. What a great post! And I understand the being tapped out. I somewhat fit in that groove myself. I don’t have high expectations of fun each and every day, but I make sure that at least once or twice a week I find something to do that’s just for me. It might be a hike or a trip to the arboretum, but it’s for me and me alone! 🙂 It’s amazingly rejuvenating. And thinking about it before and after magnifies the strength of the effect. In between I practice my yoga and try to find time to read…even a few pages! That isn’t always the best relationship to the word “fun,” but it is often enough. Your artwork is great! I hope you continue with your intuitive art class. That sounds wonderful to me!

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