I want to start this episode by saying thank you. Thank you for tuning in, for telling people, for sharing on social media, and whatever else you’re doing to help get the word out about Tending Your Dreams™. The number of unique listeners has been doubling monthly since the beginning of the year—and it’s all because of you.
I appreciate all of your support as I strive to encourage, challenge, and influence other dream tenders. I want you and your friends and family to know how amazing it is when you make your dreams come true and maintain them when you do.
And now, let’s get to this week’s talking point. I want to discuss the importance of mental breaks and emotional escapes. In other words, we’re going to cover the power of play.
In chapter five of my new book, Exceedingly: Spiritual Strategies for Living on Purpose, with Purpose, and for an Abundant Purpose, I go into deeper detail. But I want to read you a few short excerpts from that chapter, because I am so passionate about this subject. I believe one of the great dangers to our dreams is the potential for burnout. Fatigue and overwhelm will cause your body, mind, and spirit to shut down—making it impossible to tend your dreams. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
On page 71 of the printed version of Exceedingly, I open Chapter 5 with this:
Spend fifteen minutes in the presence of children at play and tell me their joy isn’t contagious. The company of laughing adults is much more pleasant than somber ones. When you see a married couple giggling together, don’t you think, I want that?
I wanted to address the topic of play early in this book. Why? Because if you are going to unearth your abundant purpose or even make an attempt to do so, the balance of playful moments will sustain you and give you the strength you need.
This is especially true as we tend our dreams. If we don’t infuse ourselves with some fun and laughter, joy and happiness, refreshment and relaxation, we will not have the steam we need for the long haul of dream tending. And we will have nothing to offer, because an empty cup has nothing to pour into others.
So let me pour a little light-heartedness into you. On page 75 of Exceedingly, I share a story an old farmer told me back in my banking days. Actually, he told me the same story a few times, forgetting I’d heard it before. But it’s so cute, and a bit thought-provoking, that I didn’t mind. It broke up the monotony, and sometimes the overwhelm from an overflow of customers who were requesting loans during the lower percentage rate mortgage rush of that time.
See if this tale doesn’t trigger a few chuckles and deeper thinking for you.
A Dream Tender’s Stress-Relieving Tale
On the first day, God created the dog and said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.”
The dog said, “That’s a long time to bark. How about only ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten? Deal?”
On the second day, God created the monkey and said, “Entertain people. Do tricks and make them laugh. For this, I’ll give you a twenty-year life span.”
On the third day, God created the cow and said, “You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves, and give milk to support the farmer’s family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.”
The cow said, “That sounds like a tough life. You want me to live for sixty years? How about twenty, and I’ll give you back the other forty?”
On the fourth day, God created man and said, “Eat, sleep, play, marry, and enjoy your life. For this, I’ll give you twenty years.”
But man responded, “Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey returned, and the ten the dog refused? That makes eighty. Okay?”
So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play, and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty, we slave in the sun to support our families. During the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.
Simple Ways to Create Mental Breaks and Emotional Escapes
Didn’t that tickle your funny bone, boost your energy a bit, and make you feel refreshed? That’s the power of mental breaks and emotional escapes—even short ones.
The power of playful moments provides fuel and drives us toward success as we tend our dreams.
- When was the last time you gave yourself permission to play?
- How often do you get (take) mental breaks to refuel and recharge?
- What restores your balance and energy, especially after a highly-focused period of dream tending?
Where can you incorporate more power from play into your dream tending schedule?
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Take a weekly Sabbath. Mine is Sunday, where after checking in at church, I most often turn off my phone, set aside my devices, remove my Apple Watch, and leave my computer closed, so I can focus on the things most important to me: faith, family, and friends.
- Get outdoors. Multiple studies have shown that our creativity heightens and our mental acuity sharpens when we spend time outside in nature, smelling the fresh air, watching the breeze blow tree tops, listening to song birds try to outdo each other, feeling the earth beneath our feet. If it’s summer and you have a chance, even grab a taste of nature’s healing power by nibbling a ripe, red tomato, a deep, onyx blackberry, a plump, dark blueberry, or some other natural treat.
- Remember that the word recreation (another word for play), originates from the terms re-create or renew. Our energy resurges and our creativity restarts when we set aside to rest and play. This is something we need often as we tend our dreams.
- Schedule a weekend getaway or daycation with your spouse or a good friend. There are many inexpensive options if you want to concentrate your funds on investing in your dreams. I’m blessed to work with and have relationships with resort owners and outfitters across the country, and almost all of them have certain seasons and days where their prices are lower. Call and ask a recreation location near you if they offer discounts or have reduced rates at any time.
- When you’re alone in your car, let loose and sing. Personally, I do this all the time as an emotional escape and stress-reliever. I take songs like, I’m a Believer by the Monkees, or The Fighter by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, and I sing them to Jesus. It doesn’t matter what you sing or to who, what matters is the effect of allowing music to speak a refreshing language to your soul.
- Climb a tree. Roll down a hill. Play Red Rover with a group of kids. Do anything silly that is reminiscent of childhood when adulting wasn’t even on your radar. The laughter and courage of letting your hair down will renew your spirit.
- Make games out of the business of tending your dreams when possible and appropriate. Sometimes, I don’t feel like starting on a project, so I tell myself I only have to work for five minutes, but that’s enough to launch my momentum. Other times, I compete with myself for times, word counts, or the numbers of things I can check off my list. Even though I’m still working, this “gamer attitude” provides a mental break and an emotional escape for my mind and soul.
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You can also get autographed copies of any of my books from my website.
Until next time, remember, your dreams are waiting for you to grab and tend:
Never stop believing.
Dare to dream bigger.
Host Anita Agers-Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com.