Thinking on Play-Doh

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I’ve never been a fan of medicine to cure the common cold. I even have a tough time popping an Advil after a “hard” night. But I can get down with a massage probably way too often. It all started when I was a kid and used to go to dance conventions. We would dance for sometimes 8 hours a day and then I wouldn’t be able to sleep because of massive charlie horses. My momma would rub my legs for me so I could go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. And thus… massage became my go-to for almost any ailment including stress, sleep deprivation, and “jerk-y” boyfriends.

The other day, I had an incredible massage by a friend of mine who always seems to know where the sore and tight spots are without me ever telling her what is bothering me on that particular day. I asked her how she knows and she explained it in a way that I had never heard before. She said, “Do you remember playing with Play-Doh when you were a kid?” To which I said, “Duh. Can’t wait to see where this is going.” “Well,” she continued, “the tight spots feel like an old batch of Play-Doh. You know how you would try to mix the old Play-Doh with the new but it would never really quite mix together, and you could still feel the old Play-Doh inside the new Play-Doh? That’s what tension feels like.”

I lie still for another twenty minutes imagining my entire body as a new pot of strawberry-scented Play-Doh. I actually meditated on that for a bit. And I thought… What if that was the goal? To maintain a sort of softness about oneself no matter what life throws at you. Lately, I have found myself becoming a bit cynical and bitter about some things, things that are clearly out of my control.  I wondered if I could ever feel like new Play-Doh again. To remain playful and open minded takes focus, I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older. It’s easy to get stuck in my ways and become brittle if I’m not careful.

I’ve started to take notice of what activities and being around which people makes me feel like brand spanking new Play-Doh and which ones make me feel like I’m slipping into the discard batch. Obviously, to become completely new again is impossible. Life’s experiences, including trauma and heartache, leave a mark on one’s soul, but as long as I have the visual in my head of a cute little girl making a pink heart out of me, I will strive to become less stressed, more playful, grateful and adventurous.

So, thanks Christine for making me think on Play-Doh! You’re a doll.

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