In my last post, Howling Into the Wind: Change, Communication, Respect, I was reminded of something that I don’t talk about much on the blog – but should. Well, actually a few things, but I wanted to address this point at the forefront. A reader of the blog, jswhite, noted that the wider Pagan community could use more playfulness. That notation is a lot more important than you may first realize, at least from where I sit – here behind this keyboard.
A lot of the blog tends to fall in the realm of what I would call “navel gazing.” This is what is described as “self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself or a single issue, at the expense of a wider view.” I can be accused of this perspective on quite a few occasions. Let’s face it, I can only show you my own perspective here. After all, it’s the only viewpoint that I can discuss as a subject-matter expert. I know me better than I know anyone else’s perspective. Talking about how someone else might feel would be arrogant of me, wouldn’t it? Most of the stuff I talk about tends to be around approaching topics from a Pagan perspective or how I do (or don’t do) certain things related to my Spiritual practice. But what about having fun??
At fifty-six, I’m not as active playing sports as I used to be. My ancient body just can’t take the physical beating I used to, plus I am not as healthy as I used to be. However, I still throw a good game of darts or play an average game of pool (or even snooker – though it has been an uber-long time since I have done that). Not that long ago, I was part of a bowling league. Again, I’m no pro, but I did enjoy throwing three games once a week with friends. Here in Hillsboro, Texas, a small town, there’s not a whole lot of Pagans around (I’m the only one that I am aware of) to do things like this on a weekend afternoon or evening, but it certainly would be fun to do. Way back in the day, as I said before – when I was healthier and far spryer – I played soccer, and softball in local leagues. For me it wasn’t about winning or losing, but about being around other people, and having fun. I’m far more competitive when it comes to darts, pool, and snooker. 😊
When I am in OBOD camps, I’m typically a trickster. In the Gulf Coast camp, which is held near the edges of Lake Pontchartrain, just outside of Mandeville (directly opposite of New Orleans on the lake), I’m always trying to find ways to get folks to laugh and joke around. In the little pond nearby, there are alligators (could be crocodiles – I never learned the difference). One OBOD member, I teased about dangling them over the edge of the dock to attract the little swimming, meat-eating lizards. A nickname of “Gator Bait” soon ensued. I get teased plenty in camp as well. There’s no bad intent though. All of it is good fun. The point being that the camp is not all about being super serious. The workshop schedule ALWAYS goes wonky, but most folks don’t worry over that too much. We all get the chance to enjoy one another’s company. While the workshops provide a serious side (for the most part), the shenanigans that occur balance things out, and help provide the closeness of the tight-knit family we have all become over time.
What else do I do for fun? Well, it’s not always for fun, but I read – as I suspect most folks do as well. In fact, reading is one of the major things I have noticed that most Pagans have in common. That, and TV show and movie binging. It’s a great way of doing something you love that can also provide you the chance to be close with someone in your life. Ever read together on the couch? Or cuddled together to binge a season (or two) of a TV show that you enjoy? For me, there’s nothing like it. You can even combine a few things into all of that. Like reading while someone else plays video games – and snuggle up on the couch or even the floor. Or if you feel like being super silly, making a pillow fort in the living room. Whatever works for you.
See, a personal philosophy of mine is that Life is meant to be utilized to better yourself. There is certainly a time for seriousness in our Paganism (shared or not). However, there is also a time for play. A time to set all the seriousness aside and do things that allow us to blow off steam and reset ourselves. This is what a game of darts, pool, or snooker in a pub does for me. I’m not a heavy drinker, so I can nurse a single beer a really long time. But its not about the beer or the game of whatever – its about the company. Spending the time together to get to know one another better. We can talk about anything. We can even spend the time philosophizing between shots or throws. We can even try to solve the world’s problems between games if you want to turn to a more serious side. But the key is interaction. That’s the key in all of this. Interacting.
Writing and thinking about all of this makes me wish for more Pagans near me. To have others with a like mind, who would enjoy getting together to relax, have fun, and interact…about whatever. One day, I’ll find that again. I’ll have a whole new group of Pagans to interact with. In the meantime, I stick to my walks, my music, and my books. And my online friends. We may be physically parted by such geographically significant features such as oceans, but that doesn’t negate the closeness we feel for one another. Because we interact. Again, that’s the key.