From Serious to Swag

Years ago I was in a presentation run by philosopher, teacher, writer and practitioner Serge Benhayon, where he shared that ‘seriousness’ can become an intensity in life, where we often become absorbed in something, harden and then lose our joy and lightness. Even though I mentally understood what he was saying, how did that play out in my life?

I can be light and playful from time to time, which I deeply know is my natural essence, but this is not my everyday, every moment way I feel. And to be even more honest, I have forgotten how to laugh ‘from the stomach,’ especially about the silly things I do ‘wrong.’  Yes, sometimes I can really laugh like that, but in general it does not come easy to me.

The other thing I observe is that my body feels rather contracted and skinny, especially on the right side creating hammertoes in my feet, for example. I also have a condition called ‘Scoliosis,’ which basically is a body that has grown out of sync creating an S curve in my spine and hips, therefore I’m unable to stand up straight.

Could it be that I was not only living seriously, but also that this seriousness had ingrained itself deeply in my body? Just like people who live in constant sadness, where you can see this sadness in their face?

I had to admit that I had been living seriously for a very long time and that it had become a way that was normal to me: so normal that the way of living had ingrained itself in my body.

But what had happened that made me choose to live seriously? And what could I do to go back to my natural way of living, the way I vaguely remember from childhood, which is to live lightly, playfully and joyfully every single day?

For years, I knew this theme, but never really chose to work on it. The seriousness had become my normal and it really did not seem to bother me that much. As a result, my body, which is the reflection of how I am living, stayed contracted as it was.

The Point of Evolution Presented by People

I could have continued to live like I did, but life constantly offers us possibilities to evolve and the only thing we have to do it is see it and act on it.

People we meet reflect back to us exactly what we need to work on – on ourselves. For example, we meet people who we deem are unreliable and judge them for it… this most probably suggests that we have to work on where we are unreliable ourselves. Once we resolve the unreliability issue in ourselves, those people magically disappear from our lives, or our relationship with them changes completely. The lesson is learned.  

So I met somebody who was, what I thought, really serious. And because my seriousness had become so normal, I met him not once, but three times, to understand what beautiful point of evolution he presented me with. The first two times, I still judged him for being so serious, so blind I was. I then realised I had come face to face with my own seriousness – a possible lesson to learn.

I acknowledged that I was living seriously and made a decision to stop living like that.

Our Soul is Not Serious

I decided to also do a little study on seriousness, and ran into an article about swag, the Australian slang word for stylish, playful and cool: in short, the opposite of seriousness.

Our Soul is Swag

After that I could even feel that my Soul would also love to drive around in a vintage car, like Ray Karam, one of the guys featured in the swag article.

So then I figured out it gets really simple. I don’t have to take on a role of being playful or humorous but I just have to connect to the deeper part of me, my Soul, and speak and act from here. And, of course, clear all the energies and beliefs that foster seriousness, that are not me but are still stored in my body, just like somebody stores sadness in their face.

On a practical level, I have taken up Connective Tissue sessions with Kate Greenaway (a Physiotherapist and Body awareness, Connective Tissue movement specialist),  which is restoring the flexibility and yumminess in my body that I vaguely remember as child – the antidote for the contraction and therefore the seriousness. This takes quite some dedication as I have been doing these exercises at least two times a day for a couple of months and only recently began to feel the changes in my body.

One belief that made my body contracted – which resulted in my seriousness – was chasing and following big dreams, a strategy my father reflected to me so well. I can sometimes feel my body feeling the future, but I don’t try to make pictures of it that my head then executes, totally ignoring my body (I’m working on this). This striving has led to a consistent ignoring of the body with abuse and contraction – the embodiment of seriousness being the end result.

As I realised, not living seriously but living playfully, light, with swag and humour, is living from the Soul.

A way of living which is called The Way of The Livingness, and these insights about seriousness and how it has affected my life, just confirmed that. I just have to commit to that way of living, to myself, to my Soul, just a whole lot deeper.

Yes, I can do that. It is a loving discipline, but definitely not with ‘contracted’ seriousness and with a lot of fun!

By Willem Plandsoen, Msc, Sales/Marketing/Innovation professional, business owner & employee and dedicated student of The Way of The Livingness

Further Reading:
I am at last learning to be playful (in my 70’s!)
Our Bodies Hold the Key to the Truth of Who We Are
Returning to our body – The wonder, beauty and science of our body

456 thoughts on “From Serious to Swag

  1. Today I noticed how I have a habit of laughing and making jokes about serious things. I think I’m lightening the mood and relating but actually I just cement that this false seriousness is true.

  2. Like watching a TV show we can become lost in the fictional story of our day – wrapped up and super carried away. We need to remember it’s an illusion. Dramas untrue – Love is what’s real.

  3. I got all serious about something recently, that really wasn’t necessary, then I got a lovely reminder from nature to lighten up and be playful about it. A squirrel playfully bobbing along the wall in front of me, in that moment I changed, I got the message and felt fun again, the heaviness lifted. A great reminder to keep it light.

  4. I grew up as an only child of older parents and I have a feeling that there was much more seriousness in my life than joy. But I also know that underneath the seriousness there is a whole lot of silliness always waiting for an opportunity to burst out; and it does. In the last few months I have been working with children two days a week and I am loving observing them having fun, being silly and generally enjoying every moment. What wonderful teachers they have been to support me to dismantle what is left of my seriousness, and how very liberating that is.

  5. ‘Oh thank God, what a relief!’ this is what most people say when they remember that they can play. Yet again and again for long stretches of time we are dragged back in to the murky soup of seriousness again. This pattern shows so clearly how there is a part of us – our spirit, that willfully chooses less than truth. Thanks to you Willem we can see that this habit need not bog us down.

  6. I loved what you have shared Willem, how the universe brings to us a reflection of how we are living so that change can happen. While reading your blog this morning, I am reminded of my own seriousness or reserve as Serge called it, coming up in my life from time to time. Here is something for me to address so that the lightness and joy of my soul can be lived.

    1. This seriousness is just not you Jill. The more you connect and really feel your essence, your Soul, the more you will living playfully. No thought action needed, it just is there. The being inside you is just naturally playful.

  7. “And to be even more honest, I have forgotten how to laugh ‘from the stomach,’ especially about the silly things I do ‘wrong.’” Until fairly recently I too had forgotten how to laugh like this. However in the last couple of years I have laughed more deeply over the most innocent of situations, and it has been absolutely wonderful to reconnect to this light playful part of me that never went away, but just lay hidden under a rather big pile of seriousness that is now at last dispersing.

  8. “Could it be that I was not only living seriously, but also that this seriousness had ingrained itself deeply in my body? Just like people who live in constant sadness, where you can see this sadness in their face?” – i know exactly what you mean Henrietta. The way we move, how we think, the energy with which we live, does shape the body to reveal the truth about how we’re living and the quality of life.

  9. Willem, I love the commitment you present to being more of yourself, letting go of ideals and beliefs putting practical elements in place to support your deeper re-connection. As a child, I was naturally light and playful so I know that for me this lightness of being is in there and that it is just a matter of choice in allowing it to be expressed. I am fortunate in that I have two rather gorgeous, playful children in my life who reflect these qualities back to me. Each day they always raise a laugh and a smile and they have the capacity to infuse joy into everyone around them! What a blessing!

  10. I really do catch myself sometimes getting really serious about stuff when lightness and joy is all that is needed, sometimes I put it down to age and temporal responsibility but realise these are not excuses. If we are able to be playful life becomes naturally more joyous.

  11. I know this lightness and playfullness and I know the seriousness too. I get serious when involved with family and thank you for mentioning it because I feel that I need to take this more seriously( pun intended), to look even more closely at how I get drawn in and cut these old ways of being. Connecting to the body more consistently and with more awareness feels like the way to go.

  12. “As I realised, not living seriously but living playfully, light, with swag and humour, is living from the Soul.” I have for so long lived with serious, life was serious, because I had to get it right. I am gradually letting go of this seriousness and when I am connected to my body I can feel a lightness and joy from within.

  13. I always took life very seriously, and was often told to lighten up. Only at the time I didn’t really know how, until I came across Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, and through their presentations I realised the more I trusted myself through connecting to my body, the more freedom I felt within, and the tightness and hardness I felt within my body started to disappear.

  14. Brilliant blog Willem! Swag, I have observed, is the coming together of a number of elements – the love of the inner heart, the shedding of contractive and debilitating consciousnesses, the deep love and care for the body, the joy of life and understanding our purpose here. All of these and more contribute to the magical quality of swag.

  15. Now this is a truly stylish blog to read – living life with fun and light is not a momentary thing but a way of life. It can be. You show us all Willem that it doesn’t just happen coincidentally but it’s a quality that we can choose – from our cells and the way we move. Thank you xx

  16. Seriousness can be overrated and used in a way that is actually harming for the body, as you described it can put our body in a rigid state where there is a lack of fluidity in our joints and ligaments. We can see from our body posture this easily – as when we are serious our body posture changes, even our facial expression does as if we are partly on “freeze”, gorgeous reminder that we need to embrace more playfulness within our lives and within our daily interactions.

  17. Sharing our light is an expansion of our whole way of moving and it not only frees us from thinking how we are to be but the lightness on our movements offers a great freedom to share, connect and be willing to show who we really are and re-connect to the child within.

  18. ‘Years ago I was in a presentation run by philosopher, teacher, writer and practitioner Serge Benhayon, where he shared that ‘seriousness’ can become an intensity in life, where we often become absorbed in something, harden and then losing our joy and lightness’. So very true Willem – intensity inevitable contracts our beautiful body which is naturally in a spacious state. True humour and lightness can keep us spacious and very open.

  19. “I don’t have to take on a role of being playful” – I so love how you have said this, Willem, and how this exposes a very ingrained way of being we keep applying to anything and everything we get presented with, and we might think that we have changed, but not so in truth. As you say, it is as simple as allowing who we truly are to just be.

  20. Thanks for this reflection on seriousness. I have had a few friends let me know how serious I can be at times and I have been noticing this more and more now that I have some awareness… and I have been noticing how fun and playful it can be to be silly and make light of things rather than make it doom and gloom. It is a choice, on how we see and respond to the world. And it is only with awareness that we can change those old patterns of behaviour that we have lived with for so long that we think that they are us, when in fact, they are clearly not.

  21. The moment I start to find myself getting serious about something I feel my focus becomes really narrow and it is all about the point I am trying to make completely at the expense of my body and everyone around me. Sure things need to get done but the way and the quality in which we do them in makes a huge difference. After all what is the point on achieving some great feat when we have left everyone else around us in a wake of disaster not to mention ending up with an exhausted, fatigued and stressed out body!

  22. The relationship between the column shape of the spine and seriousness is something profound. What comes to me is how different it is to be centered, anchored, solid in you, and how much this allows the spinal column to bend in a truly flexible way compared to having an S shaped column where the lower part of the S relates to the sadness of not being able to be you and the other part of the S is the body telling you ‘come on’, yet you fighting it, so the S shape cements and the underlying tension remains high at all time!!!

      1. There’s a bit of wordplay in what you and Eduardo have written about scoliosis – which begins and ends with the letter ‘s’ that is shaping your spine into a ‘s’-shape, Willem. It’s your choosing to change from ‘s’erious and ‘s’adness of not being able to be you, to ‘s’oulful that is truly re-shaping your life, along with your spine. How joyful is that!

  23. It makes sense that being serious allows the body to stay in a certain tension that locks the body and stops the flow of playfulness. Amazing to recognise and then let go.

  24. Bringing myself back to a natural sense of joy of lightness helps me to open up again – if I get too bogged down in something it’s like I’ve put blinkers on that stop me seeing the whole picture clearly.

  25. How can we find ourselves in being serious, working hard and taking on burdens wherever we can ? It all serves the purpose of self identification as when we live from the soul, from the deep knowing of who we truly are, all big things become small and the space opens up for light and playful ways of being.

  26. Swag wells up from a place deep inside you. It is not only fun and cheeky but it is also full of grace – amazing grace.

  27. Gorgeous Willem. And it is so true that the more we live in connection to our Soul, the lighter, the freer and the more joyful we feel in our bodies. As our bodies do reflect every choice we make, as we live in surrender or in resistance to being impulsed by our Soul.

  28. I know seriousness! I grew up in a serious family and when I face them I can be very serious but every time I feel yuck as it is not me. But I appreciate my seriousness and its accompanying yuck as it is an honesty in my body that this is not a true way for me and without needing my seriousness to change I am taking over bit by bit of my life in playfulness and joy and it will certainly come back to its source and oh what fun.

    1. As we move on, when we evolve, I find our families can keep on offering us things to keep us in old behaviors. A trick to hold us back. If we can learn to observe this ‘offering’ and see it as something of the past, we can learn to say no.

  29. ‘People we meet reflect back to us exactly what we need to work on – on ourselves.’ If we see that we are here to learn being in life, then we are always open to the learning that is on offer. In contrast, so much of what we are taught gives us a false arrogance that we think we know it all, become experts even and so often life’s learning is not received in the way that is possible.

    1. Great comment Susan. I would say that people ignorantly and/or arrogantly deny the many, MANY opportunities of evolution being offered. And the be honest, I can be one of them every now and then:-)

      1. haha yes I agree Willem, it is easy to fall into this arrogance and dismiss the opportunities because we are not brought up to be this way.

  30. Seriousness seems to involve a lot of mental energy and therefore a disconnection from ourselves. Our quality of being when we were children is such a great reminder of how our bodies naturally express. Reading your blog Willem made me realise that there is more seriousness out there than perhaps seems the case. Someone can be making jokes and people can be laughing, but there can be a layer of seriousness behind it all because there isn’t a lightness to what they are feeling and saying. I can do this too.

  31. From my experience about seriousness I would say that this is a form of protection, a kind of trying to control life… which is indeed very useless and draining… and boring by the way!

  32. Willem, I can certainly relate to this; ‘seriousness’ can become an intensity in life, where we often become absorbed in something, harden and then losing our joy and lightness.’ I know that if I get caught up in a thought then I can get lost in it and be lost in my head and be very serious, I have found this an awful way to be, I am learning to not go into these thoughts and instead to stay connected with me.

  33. ‘Swag’ can have such a wonderful ripple effect on everyone and everything around because it brings fun and humour into the day – there is nothing like a good laugh to get those particles dancing. ‘Swag’ may also trigger jealousy in another so awareness is a very handy tool to always be present with us, so that we do not stumble in our ‘swaggering’ tracks!

    1. Could it be that jealousy has come to be to stop people from lightheartedly and joyfully enjoying their ‘swag’? Thanks for the reminder and subsequent prompt to consider what is really in play in all of this, Lyndy.

  34. Gosh yes such an important reminder to stay light in life, stay spacious and be playful and en-joy and dance through life as much as possible.

  35. To be light and playful when things are ‘serious’ without being flippant is a great reflection of keeping the situation in perspective and not taking it personally.

  36. Seriousness is one of our choices to not express in the fullness of ourselves. It is used by the world as a recognition of authority or expertise but it is a far cry from the truth expressed from our hearts. This is great to nominate as it frees up our body to then express in the true way of authority in the world.

    1. Seriousness is just another version of control because we know exactly how to structure our posture and face to “look serious”, and we do it. But why? Perhaps the ease of being playful is too freaky? Because we’ve convinced ourselves that we have to “work hard” to achieve “success” in life?
      And so we control our way out of true joy…

  37. I have reactions to people who are serious. But that tells me this is a part within myself I have to heal and take more responsibility for. In my reaction to seriousness I am choosing not to be taken seriously or respected in the level I deserve. I start to understand why I am serious as it is usually when I take on the emotions of others, and this deepens my understanding towards why others are serious too.

  38. The beauty of our souls is that we hold such depth and also lightness interconnected as one. Allowing ourselves the space to cherish the duality of who we are allows us to laugh, express and play through our movements and it brings a great simplicity to life allowing our swagger to shine and the seriousness to melt away.

  39. ‘ This striving has led to a consistent ignoring of the body with abuse and contraction – the embodiment of seriousness being the end result.’ Great connection made here Willem – striving, seriousness and a contracted body. How differently we feel when we surrender to the beauty and gorgeousness and joy that we are and express that – everyone around then lets go of their tension and striving and things begin to open up.

    1. Yes it is a great realisation. Relax and release the hardness and the seriousness eases, lessen the seriousness and the body relaxes.

    2. It is about living a life from flow, not security based, trusting that we can go from moment to moment based on the impulses we feel. It could start with call in which direction we should go, but never ever should the steps in realizing the call compromise our body.

    1. What I love is when we express from our Soul no matter how much we say it feels complete, whereas when we want something we often over-use words to make a point and always, well usually, walk away thinking I could have said it better this way or that way etc.. Expressing in full leaves us content ready for the next moment of expression without dragging the past with us.

      1. So how do we express from our Souls continuously? What serves me, is a focus to be really in the body. True joy and playfulness is the body. Doing a little fitness or swimming each day supports that.

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