This past weekend, my husband, Ryan, and our little girl, Ella, all went to the National Building Museum in DC, to see the final weekend of the well known "Beach" exhibit on display.
You likely read about it a few months ago, in the Washington Post and several other notable local and national media outlets. I also noted a few other fellow community members have shared photos and thoughts from this exhibit, including Angie Goff. (Great post, Angie!)
I wanted to share my personal experience of going with my family, because it offered some unexpected insight and a memorable sense of happiness.
Why did visiting a ball pit make me feel this way? I think it was because we were all just living in the moment, and happy together.
I thought this was important to share because it's so rare these days to find a place that forces you to put away your phone. In this case, it was so you didn't lose it in the millions of balls and among hundreds of people.
So, just in case you didn't get a chance to go to the exhibit, i wanted to offer a vivid description of what it looked like and felt like so you could experience it too.
(I will give you a moment to stop what you are doing, and really try this exercise.)
If you can, picture an enormous white room with white walls, several rows of white beach chairs, white cylinder-shaped pillars that go from the floor to the hundred foot ceiling, and the entire room filled front to back with two parallel 'ball pits.' These are all flowing together, similar to the movement of the ocean.
And, instead of a "no touch" type of art installation where you have to restrain the kiddos from breaking anything, the artist instead invited hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to jump and play in them - together. It's kind of brilliant actually.
What i found to be so magical about this place, is that you can take your shoes off and 'swim' in the 'water.' You are free to run, play, dance, dive, jump, twirl, and just be happy and just have fun.
For all of us, it was as if, no matter what had happened before we arrived that life's stressors and challenging moments had just...disappeared and floated into thin air above.
During those few fleeting moments, we were transported back to our childhood (in my case, into my little Ella's hopeful blue eyes), and we were all just happy and grateful to be together.
I tell you this not too 'rub it in', but rather to invite you to find the same sense of happiness in your mind and picture being in this place.
Anytime you want to feel like a kid again and learn to live in the moment, seriously, try thinking of this place. You can go there this morning, later today or tomorrow, or next weekend. You can go there whenever you want, day or night, as many times as you want, and stay as long as you like. In this place - you can jump in, be silly, and be with those you love. You will be healthy, happy, strong, and carefree...just like us.
To give you a real visual of this place, see the photo below of Ella, frolicking in the ball pit at the exhibit. The most remarkable thing about the photo, as you can see, is how we captured this sense of happiness and nostalgic feeling of forgetting our troubles. It's all in the smile on her face.
So, the next time you have a 'moment' at work or at the end of the day when your kid is melting down at the grocery store (again), pause and think of this incredible place called the "Beach."
And, if you also get an opportunity to jump in a ball pit (any ball pit) sometime WITH your kids, you must put aside your opinions and just do it. You will be glad you did. It might just teach you something.