Category Archives: Life Transitions

Personal Story, Birth, and the Real Deal We Call Life

After years of writing my personal narrative, many deep, interwoven conversations, visual journaling, and performance…in less than a week…

I will say his name * meet him in-person * hold him in my arms.

January 23, 2017, on what would have been my mom’s 95th birthday, William called me. He told me how scared he was to leave a voice message asking me to call him. He asked me about his story, how he came to be.

Today I booked a flight to visit William in-person. Next week we will meet for the first time. He’s leaving the hospital after undergoing major surgery Monday evening. William’s cancer has moved from his skin, to his lungs, and now to his brain.

The phone rings and William says, They got it all.

He is hopeful and I am expectant once again.

The thing is, he is real to me now. For years, I have been using the phrase, my surrogate son. What a relief to be able to say his name, William, and know him as a person who loves to watch sports, wants to find work as a sports journalist, hike hundreds of trails.

Over the next few days, I will be gathering some of my journals, photos, and other treasures so that I can share them with William when we visit next week. Poems, memoir writing, research from my doctoral dissertation on surrogacy, performance-storytelling.

The first time we meet

Just making the reservations for my shuttle to the airport and flights was a struggle. Crying at the bank, at the pharmacy while trying to get through to the pharmacy clerk who is holding Michael’s medications post-stoke for ransom! Crying in the art studio while collaborating on a flyer for our fundraiser. I am tripping and almost fell yesterday because I have so much in my head and forgot about my feet. I keep reminding myself to ground. I’m wondering if I should rent a car but I am also concerned that I won’t be as focused as usual while driving the Los Angeles freeways.

Feeling the immediacy of the moment. I am grateful for the real deal, live life to the fullest!

I invite you to check in frequently here and on the Play=Peace blog.

Read the follow-up story Sit Back and Enjoy the Trip

Its Summer: A Playful Season of Celebration and Transformation

Its Summer!

Are you feeling confidence and feel a new sense of clarity in every cell of your body?

I hope so. Life follows you wherever you are and in whatever season of change you find ourself. Challenges and difficulties may still be with you. What can you do?

Can you feel abundant while still facing life changes (illness, death in the family, divorce, sudden change,…)?

I believe you can…

Like many of you, in my personal life there are many challenges and at the same time a feeling of great abundance and gratitude.

I am recovering as a woman who gave her Soul away as the result of a core experience. I reclaimed my Soul through the depth-oriented, play-based work of listening to my dreams and taking playful action in response to dream guidance, journaling, the wisdom of nature, PLAYING * CREATING * BECOMING… and yet, as my life story unfolds there are many unanswered questions. Awe, yes, the questions!

There are many ‘ways to play’ and celebrate the everyday moments of your life this summer. Gardening, playing outdoors by hiking, camping, walking in your neighborhood; traveling to new locales or visiting towns or natural settings nearby your home, attending community festivals, parades, outdoor concerts and other community gatherings. Depending on your location you may want to spend time outdoors during the morning hours when it is cooler. Self-care remains important. Journaling or art-making while sitting on your patio or at a picnic table at the park can be relaxing and bring you new insight during this season of change and transformation.

Enjoy your summer and allow time for the ripening of who you are becoming.

Listen to Summer is a Season of Play and Celebration:

Want to learn more or work with me as a mentor and creative coach? I’d love to talk with you!

Sign-up for ‘Play Notes‘, our bi-weekly newsletter and receive a free downloadable copy of  ‘The Art of Playing in the Everyday’ e-book.

Please leave a comment following this post/podcast or post a comment on the Play=Peace Facebook page.

Even in Difficult Times There is Joy

Everyone of us experiences life challenges and difficulties, big and small. You might feel irritable or tearful as I do at the moment. Whatever the challenge, choosing to bring a playful attitude and some playful tools into the mix can make a huge difference in the quality of life and help you to move forward and continue to embrace what is important in your life.

Today, I am choosing to write, meditate, utilize what I know about the merits of play breaks and movement to help me stay in the flow as I work on some important projects and writing in my play-based, depth-oriented work.

What are the daily challenges that you face in our life?

Are you currently in the midst of a huge challenge in your life (divorce, death in the family, moving to a new home, graduation, birth or adoption of a new family member, …)?

What are some of the ways that you might play in the everyday with your challenges?

If you need help, please let me know. (see how to contact me below).

 

Want to learn more or work with me as a mentor and creative coach? I’d love to talk with you!

Sign-up for ‘Play Notes‘, our bi-weekly newsletter and receive a free downloadable copy of  ‘The Art of Playing in the Everyday’ e-book.

Please leave a comment following this post/podcast or post a comment on the Play=Peace Facebook page.

 

Birth is a Natural Process: Breathe & Release

When women are giving birth in the hospital they are often told to hold their breath and PUSH WITH FORCE.A  holistic approach to birthing calls for relaxation, breathing, and release during a time of intensity and swift change.

When I try to push through as a means to an end my efforts ultimately fail me. I feel more in synch when I release what doesn’t serve me and instead embrace what feels natural.

There are so many times in my life when I have pushed myself to do something even when another part of me was saying, REST, BREATHE, AND RELEASE.

It’s getting easier to see the signs (RED FOR STOP) that tell me to slow down, breathe, reassess.

  • tension
  • feeling at loose ends
  • unsettled
  • scratchy throat
  • headache
  • frustrated
  • and more…

I can also see the signs that tell me, it’s a GO! MOVE AHEAD WITH EASE…

  • joy
  • energetic
  • passionate
  • in flow

What are your GO and STOP signs?

 

 

My 7-Year Swing (Play) Cycle

The next 7 years is all Swing!

Swing is my home movement pattern which means that I am playful, people-oriented, collaborative, and interdisciplinary.

Developmentally I will be in FULL SWING for the next 7 years. I have been really revving up the PLAY in my life. It makes no matter what I am mucking about in, play is the way I perceive my world and the approach I take to just about everything from loading the dishwasher to completing the writing and edits for my memoir.

I love new starts. I am really in my element this go round and I’m anticipating some good things to come through PLAY.

Writing is one of the ways I play and I am looking forward to a cycle of deepening and the written word. I am finding that when I write in my visual journal there is no real separation between image and word. When I am writing I see images and when I am playing with photography I seem to match subject with word.

I am also playing with art-making. I am enrolled in Flora Bowley’s online e-course, The Creative Revolution.  I am playing with some new arts-based forms and materials. So far I have created a variety of patterned drawings with oil pastels and have completed a watercolor meditation. I have been going through my art supplies and went to the art store to purchase some acrylics and india ink. There is so much to play with I feel giddy.

I’m also beginning to play the fiddle. The fiddle is all SWING so its the perfect instrument for my musical foray. I haven’t yet engaged a fiddle instructor. My plan is to fiddle around for a while until and when I want to take lessons online or in person.

It is no surprise to me that I am completing my memoir and exploring publication options during my Swing cycle. For years, I have been periodically combing through my journals looking for patterns. Every day I am floored by my dreams and synchronicities assuring me that I am on the right path.

I am excited about new possibilities in writing, art-making, fiddling, and of course, PLAY!


A valuable resource for you to purchase and have on hand as a play-book is: Move to Greatness–Ginny Whitelaw & co-author, Betsy Wetzig explore the four movement patterns: thrust, shape, hang, and swing.

 

 

We Remember Moments

Many of you undoubtedly have read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing from the Bones. Natalie’s book is celebrating its 30th anniversary and sits on a special spot on my bookshelf.

Indeed, when I visited Taos I sat and wrote in the very chair that Natalie uses to sit on and write.

One of the writing exercises that I have used as a prompt for years is:

I Remember…

Let me give it a whirl right now:

I remember when I walked to St. John’s church hall hoping to find someone there so I could sign-up to become a brownie (girl scout) and no one was there to do sign-ups. I remember my disappointment.

I remember making love in a hollowed out tree in the rain forest.

I remember the ‘White Hawk’ dream that woke me on the morning of my wedding day.

I remember when my oldest daughter gave birth to her daughter and my first grandchild.

I remember when I made a special trip to go visit periwinkle and say goodbye before I moved from the Northwest to California for a second time.

and that’s just for starters….

Now its your turn:

I Remember…

 

The Dance of ShadowPlay: Creating Meaningful Change

image

For 21 years I began to receive recurring dreams where I am criticized, dismissed, and ignored. These dreams include characters who represent members of my play community in waking life.

Being part of of my tribe, these folks are like family to me, and so, the pain at being dismissed lives in my body and influences my everyday life.

Over the years I’ve treated these dreams like bad food — better to eliminate the poison and try to not eat that same poison again. I have a ‘from the toes’ reaction — Shadow — a part of my psyche that is uncomfortable — and so — I flee!

Never daunted my Shadow arrives again for another visit.

I journal regularly and record my dreams. Taking action to honor my dreams is important to me. Unlike other dreams that I receive as gifts, I’ve been dismissing my recurring dreams because the betrayal, rejection, and criticism I feel when I wake from these dreams is painful.

What I dismiss insists!

Not only do these folks appear in my night dreams but in my waking dreams as well. I am reminded of them in social media, in emails that I receive, and in daily conversations. For the most part I haven’t played with these folks in-person for years. Nevertheless, when I see their photo online or hear their name the feelings of betrayal, rejection, and dismissal are very real.

I’m ready to meet my Shadow and play. To that end, I’m going to be sharing my recurring dreams (in non-sequential order) and explore ways to partner with the characters that appear in my recurring dream in a dance of forgiveness.

1.) Dream — Critical Kris Kringle

I’m at home with Kris. She is there to criticize me. I am holding one large sheet of pastel blue paper with comments and notes. Kris finds one other large sheet of pastel violet paper. She says, “it says that you tucked your chin in” — she follows me around and criticizes that posture and other things about me.

I’ve had enough and go outside. She follows and continues to criticize me holding both of the large sheets of paper as she walks behind me.

It occurs to me following my dream that many birds tuck their bills into their shoulder feathers for protection.

Aha!

Some of the characters in my recurring dream return often to criticize me. However, as these dreams have continued to arrive, in some plots I am affirmed and applauded for my efforts by the same characters who have betrayed or dismissed me.

Being supported by the very characters who have wounded me gives me hope that there is a way to find resolution, a new dance, a new way to partner.


2.) Dream—Poem Speaking To Me

I am with other women including Cindy. I am running around doing things. Cindy is about to leave. She comes up to me and as I move forward to give her a hug, she says,

“What are you doing, you aren’t doing anything!” I say, “what do you mean?”

I know when I ask that question that I have impacted many lives. (I stand up for myself and don’t take in what Cindy is saying.)

There is another woman there who comes up to me and hands me a beautifully crafted poem that she has written. The poem takes the form of a chart with lines that are very exacting. She reads the long, involved poem to me in Dutch. Another women asks if she can substitute uncommon words for the Dutch words being used so that more women can understand. I enjoy what she has written.

Clearly I’ve influenced this female poet. She’s brought her poem to me to read and share what she has learned from me. I’m appreciative and ‘all ears’ realizing the depth of her poem and the sincerity of her impulse.

Could I have a copy? (Dare I ask for one?)

Following my dream I connect the dream’s themes with my memoir writing.

Cindy (Shadow figure) is a woman who has tremendous influence over me. In this dream she offers me the opportunity to stand up for myself after being criticized. Her words do not support me so I release them.

*[Cindy in waking life criticized and shamed me in front of my tribe. She wounded me and left me in a pool of tears on multiple occasions many years ago.]

In my night dream I am able to *release what doesn’t serve me and take in what nurtures and supports the sharing of my gifts with others]

Another woman poet (Shadow figure) helps me to see what I have *given to others. One choice I can continue to make is to be gentle and open, be vulnerable (while standing up for my natural Self).

[I was a surrogate mother for my psychotherapist and her husband in 1987 and gave them a newborn son. My experience as a surrogate and the deep and ongoing longing that I carry has helped me accept loss and live life playfully and creatively].

*In this dream Shape takes poetic form.


3.) Dream—Three out of Six Hours

I am in a big, rectangular-shaped studio with a dance floor. I am dancing with a large number of women are moving around the dance floor for the first time. Cindy is dancing. I move to her and lightly pull on her clothing. She moves backwards and then forwards with me. I feel in flow and went to keep moving for the three hours we have the space for (we have the space for 3 out of 6 hours). Some of the women on the dance floor walk through the door to the outside. They don’t want to continue dancing-playing. I think that they do not have-know the basic forms to continue to play and enjoy themselves.

In this dreamscape I initiate a dance with Cindy. In other dreams Cindy criticizes me. Here I pull on her clothing gently. We dance as a duet, a shadow-dance. I feel in flow. free * authentic * in the moment

There are women who do not want to play, to dance. They leave through an open door. I want to dance in the fullness of the time allowed.

I can continue to play, to dance because I know the basics, the basic forms. Now I can play and dance in the fullness of the three (3) hours given.

Beginning, Middle, End

Body, Soul, Spirit. 

image-1