How often do you forget all your worries? How often do you feel delighted, happy, and playful?

A few years ago, a friend of mine took me with her to pick up a new dog – a seven-year-old rescued border collie. We met with her escort in a parking lot, and the dog seemed shy and worried. Then, her escort pulled out her favorite toy, a inflated ball about ten inches in diameter.

The dog’s demeanor changed completely. In an instant, she was a delighted, happy, playful puppy who had forgotten all her worries.

I don’t know about you, but I am totally capable of being Serious. With a capital ’S’. Or even Oh So Serious. I think I spent most of my first twenty years in OSS mode. I’m an expert at OSS.

Then I discovered belly dance, which I took OSS-ly as well, until my second teacher took us out to the street to perform. She taught us to drum, insisted on our playing zills (I hated them at first) and spread her carpets on the sidewalk for us. We had no choreography – just our drums, our zills, a melody musician or two if we were lucky, and our imagination. It was sink or swim.

What I learned from those times was that, if I enjoyed myself, people would stop to watch, and sometimes throw money in our basket. If I were concerned about anything else (I made a mistake I’m off That was awful I’m embarrassed Do I look okay) they were unforgiving. They’d walk away and go on about their business.

I couldn’t reach people from my place of self-consciousness. I couldn’t move them. So I made a decision then: No. Whatever happens, I did it on purpose. Whatever happens, I’m having fun. If I’m having fun, they’ll have fun too, and it will make a difference in their day. 

So I relaxed. We made our own way, out on the Edge. I learned to love surprises – musicians, play me something I’ve never heard felt or danced to before! Bring it!

That sort of thing still makes me very, very happy.

When I play my zills in music meditations now, weaving in and out of whatever the other musicians create, I am in my element. I’m happy.

When I play my zills for a zill healing, not knowing what sounds need to be played, with which set of zills or where until it happens, I’m in the moment, and very, very happy.

When I play my zills with other dancers and musicians, and I get to rock, and I get to dialogue playfully as both a dancer and a musician, it is so much fun that often I can’t contain it and I laugh out loud! If you and I have played like that together, you know what I’m talking about.

It’s so easy for me to be happy playing zills. Their high-octave range lends itself to high spirits.

If you are Oh So Serious when you play, concerned about being too slow or being off in your time or rhythm, you might not ever have stumbled into the high-octave healing zone. It’s not where you might expect it to be.

So next time you pick up your zills, start with wondering: how can I have more fun playing these?

If you don’t already love surprises, this could change everything. Joy does that!

In the meantime, what makes you forget your worries and turns you into a puppy?

Please share – I’d love to know!