Many years ago fresh out of college and waiting tables, Paul got entered into his restaurant’s St. Patrick’s Day promotion and won a trip for two to Ireland. We were so excited even though it meant being on a tour bus with the other promotion winners for some of it. At different points along our journey around the island, the tour guide would stop the bus for “photo opps.” The group would file off and stand in pretty much the same spot to take the same exact picture.

Not me. I would wander down paths, climb up rocks, or lay down in the dirt if I saw a cool flower. The typical “postcard shot” never interested me because it felt superficial and forced. Because someone told me I “should” want that picture. I looked for something more interesting to connect me to the place and the moment. As Ellen Langer writes in her book Mindfulness, “By keeping free of mindsets, even for a moment, we may be open to see clearly and deeply.” 

Now, I can’t say I’m that good about ignoring “the shoulds” in other areas of my life. But I’m working on it in order to stay more connected to the present moment and not have my mind racing with what’s coming up in a few hours, days, weeks. Flopping is a great way to get out of my head and reconnect with my body. 

It’s also a great way to connect with others. Find a friend or colleague and pass the flop ball back and forth on the back of your hands. Start standing close together and then move further apart. For added challenge, try passing two at a time. 

When playing, our authentic, childlike selves come to the service. We are more present with each other. As Plato once said, “You discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.” From there, stronger connections can build. 

*Note - when you start passing with a friend, pay attention to if/when you apologize. When you’re learning a new skill and passing with a friend, there’s no reason to apologize for dropping. It’s part of the process of playing and everybody drops! We suggest saying “I’m awesome!” instead :)