All posts by Mary Alice Long

Mary Alice Long is the creator of Play=Peace™. She is a play-based, depth-oriented guide, writer, and speaker. Mary Alice offers individual mentoring for women.

Intimate Sharing + Meaningful + Courageous

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My dreams inspire me. Last night I dreamt of a new school opening. Other dreams come to help me see both where I am off-balance and where I sing!

My creator has been cranky demanding more time as I step into my play-based work and the art of playing in the everyday in new ways. So important to me! its real! Natural! I’m passionate about my work and committed to the call I feel to share the importance of our imagination, play, and creativity.

I’ve been journaling, making notes, diving into ‘ways to play’ with imagining and concrete planning (making some decisions about what to say YES to and what is a not-always-so clear NO). I’m stepping back again and again as I re-play old themes and rejuvenate them for a better fit.

Play in the Everyday: tiny inspirations fly in! 

In late October I set out to Connecticut to perform another version of my archival memoir story. This time round the images from my archival memoir project were in the backdrop as I shared the many stories within the story of my experience and its ‘postpartum’ [what I’ve learned from my experience and its ongoing treasures and gifts]. David Cherniske, improvisational musician, played a variety of instruments during the collaborative performance. As the stories I shared unfolded, Dave and I experienced a running conversation. A call-and-response. Story-Sound-Images.

Copy of Play=Peace Logo-3Three months later, I have the sense (and my dreams support my gut instinct) that I am moving into the second trimester of yet another pregnancy. I’ve been carrying the memories of my experience and all that I have written and dreamt since beginning the process of unraveling began. 1987. 1998. 2004. are important dates.

I am committed to completing and sharing the written memoir that is one part of my archival memoir project in 2016. I’m playing with sharing my memoir in a variety of forms. A handcrafted book with photos, a playful journal with decorations. Sharing parts of my memoir online as I re-vise and then publishing my memoir as a whole.

The process I am in as a play-based, depth-oriented writer is filled with promise.

Everyday there are challenges and good reasons to not write. I am trying out a few approaches to counter all the good reasons that keep me from what I love.

Play in the Everyday: Walk upstairs to my home studio. Its amazing what that does. Works like a charm!

Play in the Everyday: Take a walk to breathe and reflect. Physicality. I return to my home studio renewed and with many inspirations and more ideas! [choosing what idea to roll with is key here!]

Play in the Everyday: Pick up a book for inspiration. I have a whole library to choose from. I let my intuition guide me. Poets. Dreamers. Memoirs! Novels. Art books.

Play in the Everyday: Find new inspirations to tap into. There are so many people–those I know, those I don’t know, those who have passed on. Non-Human Animals, Nature. Characters in Stories that I Love. Films.

Play in the Everyday: Listen to my dreams. Dreams are an ongoing SOURCE.

Yep, everyday there are challenges and good reasons to not write. imagine that!

I’m on it!

Work with Me & Enjoy Your Playful Journey

Contact Me & We’ll Set Up a Time to Meet!

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Different Flavors: Waiting, Not Waiting, and my Cranky Creator

composingacreativelifeThe life I am creating includes a reflective practice in the art of playing in the everyday.

That life includes digging into boxes still unpacked and different flavors of ‘waiting’ and ‘not waiting’.

Playing in the Everyday: My Cranky Creator

My Creator gets cranky when She has to wait. Unexpected responsibilities that pop up in the moment and old patterns can sabotage my Creator.

Eventually the pressure builds up and I feel like I’m being stretched in way too many directions. Instead of observing and listening to my impulses I find myself pushing for time to play and create meaning in my life.

I’m a great believer in timelines and the buried synchronicities that can be found there. As I age these timelines help me to revisit my development and meaningful connections that in hindsight are all too obvious. I can see through these timelines and my journal entries that pushing things along does work in the short run. However, at this stage of my development, I prefer waiting as a playful observer who takes playful notes and moves ahead actively when an opening emerges.

 

 

 

 

Listening to the Inner Ear’s Vestibular System: Waiting to Enter the Sanctuary

Playing in the Everyday: Storm

Another storm is rolling in off the Strait. Michael is on his way to his oncology visit. I’m sitting on the couch writing while our basset hound puppy takes a nap, rain on windowpane

I’m continuing to play with my inner ear dream. My dreams lead me to what is important in my life. They ask me to pay attention. This dream is another good example and inspiration for me to stay the course and move ahead. Saying yes to what is given and seeing what happens next is all part of my playful journey.

Playing in the Everyday: Lets See What Happens

Often when I write it takes a while for me to get to the inner core. My dream of my ear covered and then clearing away the debris to get to the inner ear offers me clues, advice, counsel. The inner ear is like a labyrinth with structures, channels, and connections. Mine look healthy albeit with a few broken links.

Playing in the Everyday: Fantastic Journey

I’m reminded of a film I loved to watch in my youth. In this film voyagers explore the inner workings of the body. I’m drawn to do the same–to go back into my dream and voyage to the inside of my inner ear.

Playing in the Everyday: Vestibule

I have often entered a church through its vestibule. Over the years I have stopped and visited churches when traveling and felt a sense of balance when entering the portal that leads to the body of the church.

Playing in the Everyday: Finding Equilibrium

I go back to the vestibule to find balance again and again.

  • I find balance by playing with divergent ideas and people.
  • I find balance by noticing and then reflecting on my experiences.
  • I find balance through meditation and curiosity.
  • I find balance by going with the flow and not forcing.

I find balance by being forgiving of myself and others again and again…Forgiveness

 

Playing in the Everyday: Forgiveness

Forgiveness lives in my body. Play is a great way (the only way for me!) to find a balancing point where I can let go of past wounds,

Let go of the betrayals, resentments, broken hearts of my past (which also live in my body).

 

 

  • By balancing the part of me that strives, pushes, and prods [often linked with my critics]
  • By balancing the part of me that wants to make sense of it all, control, and is somewhat obsessive about the whole matter
  • By balancing the part of me that is open, visionary, exploring, wants to take off and spin a bit without care

I can try again to forgive myself for what I haven’t done (omissions)

I can try again to forgive myself for what I’ve done to others with negative results (commissions)[nothing is linear here]

I can try again to forgive myself my trespasses.

Spiraling….

I can try again to forgive betrayals I can’t seem to let go of….

I can try again to forgive my own betrayals of my natural, playful self [the last two play off of each other]

Spiraling….

Playing in the Everyday: A Recurring Dream

I have been receiving a recurring dream (1994-present). The dream characters change with the theme: Forgiveness

Sometimes I am shunned, ignored, dismissed.

Sometimes I am applauded, supported.

Playing in the Everyday: Active Imagination

Inner Ear: What do you have to tell me? I ask. “Those small connections are too small for you to see normally but they are working for you, helping you–listen, listen…

Playing in the Everyday: Do you Hear what I Hear?

Gently I am listening. I’m concerned about my small, broken bones but not overly concerned because laughter arises when I ‘listen’ to the connections my dreams bring me.

 

 

Turning Points & my Playful (Soulful) Home

[My teacher] always said that if your writing is good, it will find a home without a lot of hustling and scheming. And he was right–once my writing was ready, things had a way of falling into place. ~ Mary Yukari Waters

Play in the Everyday: a Place where I feel most at home in my Body & Spirit

Celebrating our one year anniversary.   The north Olympic Peninsula is now home.

I first visited the Hoh rainforest, Kalaloch, and Hurricane Ridge when I was a girl.

Nature‘s playground.

I am playfully writing and creating supported by nature’s inspirations. When I return from my daily walks and play dates I find myself renewed and ready to take a few more steps on my playful journey.

At the same time, I’m playing and creating with no great highs (mountains) or lows (valleys). I hold onto a commitment to stay with what is ‘simmering’ on the stove.

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Play in the Everyday: Home to Play

I’m playing with what comes easily and with challenges.

I’m playing with the sadness and loss I feel when I don’t have the kind of open-hearted exchange with my adult children that I would like. I’m playing with being a Nana who recognizes missed opportunities to strengthen my relationship with my grandchildren that pass by without a word.

I’m playing by writing, dance, painting, photography as I choose compassionate ways to share my feelings of loss as a mother and grandmother and my desire to love those I care about most.

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I’m playing with small. Keeping it small–not too big.

I’m playing with what to include or have on hand as possibilities that can emerge.

I’m playing with impatience and feelings of failure (can you relate? part of the process, isn’t it?)

I’m playing with juggling and containers. I’m playing with what my body knows about waiting and ripeness.

I’m playing with re-visiting the same spots and re-living them again and again. The next time I visit that same spot its as if I have never been there before.

I’m playing with reading what I’ve written in past journals, on blogs, as social media posts, play notes, articles, and poems that are part of my archives. When I play in this way I am witness both to common threads and emerging themes of forgiveness, late-life transformation, and stories yet to be shared.

Daily Practice, Elimination, and Harvesting

I love the way the wet dandelions that have gone to seed look after a shower. Its a small thing, yes, and yet small things can bring great joy. ~Mary Alice IMG_2214

Daily Practice

Play in the Every day means that every moment of my life can be part of my playful journey if I let it or want it to be so.

What’s the first image you think of when you hear the word play?IMG_1435

 

 

 

Play in the Every day: Lila

‘Play in the Everyday’ — DEFINITELY NOT our culture’s view of play.

By the time I’ve gotten out of bed in the morning I’ve re-called my night dreams and recorded them, made an intention for the day, given thanks for a few of the people and events in my life that I am grateful for, and meditated.

I’m playing with it all and I’ve just begun my day!

Lila, our 4-month-old basset puppy has changed both my sleep and morning routine. Its 2:30am and she’s up and ready to rock-and-roll! Patience comes into play here as we take care of her needs and remember that our sleep deprivation will pass.

Lila provides me with plenty of reminders to play since play=puppy!

As I have committed to a practice of  ‘playing in the everyday’ it doesn’t take long even in the most challenging of moments to remember that there are always choices about how to play in the moment with any circumstance or life event.

When I become impatient (and believe me I do!) I often begin to sing which creates a shift that helps me see in that moment how can I play with my impatience and transform it.

Play in the Everyday: At the Gym Again

Oh my gosh! I’m at the gym again. Believe me, it’s not my favorite place to play but I’ve created a schedule that has already benefitted me with a greater sense of physical well-being. I’m going slow with it.

I stretch in the morning. Without stretching I am much more likely to injure myself at the gym, feel achy, and I don’t sleep as well. So stretching is a must.

A few years ago I came across a book by Jane Pretat, Coming to Age: The Croning Years and Late-Life Transformation. Jane’s book is true to what I’ve experienced as a woman who is growing older in a youth-oriented culture.

Play in the Everyday: Handwriting

When I write with my favorite pen in hand I feel a greater sense of curiosity, playful experimenting. E-motionIMG_1927

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play in the Everyday: Gardening & the Unexpected

My garden’s growth is beginning to slow although I am told that the kale will continue to grow winter long. Time to put the garden to bed. Time for rest.

We transferred raspberry starts in September. The ever-bearing variety that produce fruit in July and September. Apples are growing in abundance. So good in my morning oatmeal, yum!

The last of the cherry tomatoes are ready to harvest. Its a joy to offer some of the harvest from our garden to neighbors and our local food banks and kitchens. Next year I’d like to offer recipes and simple cooking demonstrations at our community garden. So many folks only open up cans and processed food and never consider using fresh produce.

Last night our toilet wouldn’t flush when we were ready to go to bed. It was too late to call the plumber and we know from a previous visit that our beautiful cedar tree has produced roots that are blocking our sewer system and repairs ultimately will be costly. Arghh! Michael drove down the hill, flashlight in hand, and found his way to a port-a-potty that is located by the high school track. He came back upset, I listened and helped him as best I could saying very little. After talking Lila outside for her nightly constitutional we finally settled under the covers. Then, at 3am the smoke alarm started to bleep in the middle of the night!

It heartens me, that, in the middle of this continuing saga, I remembered, you guessed it, playing in the everyday. Playing with ways to listen deeply, problem solve, and take action is a gift that offers me the opportunity to move ahead in compassionate, life-giving ways even in the midst of problems with elimination and surprises that arise in the dark of the night.

Play has helped me move into much more difficult circumstances than the blockage problem. With daily practice I play with both mundane circumstances of life and the metaphors of releasing what needs to be eliminated. Playing with what presents itself in my daily life helps me discern what is most important in my life and creates new ways of embracing what is vital and life-giving.