Category Archives: The Art of Playing in the Everyday

Play and Relationships: Synchronicities & Communication

One evening, a couple of weeks ago, I watched ‘Forrest Gump’. I haven’t seen or really thought much about this film since it came out in 1981. The next day and ongoing over a couple of weeks, I started hearing Forrest’s name and “Run Forrest”. Not once, not twice, but multiple times.

Some examples:

  • On the ferry traveling to my daughter’s home for my grand-twins birthday party I heard a man say Forrest Gump’s name and then he yelled “Run Forrest, Run!”
  • During Sunday Morning NPR I listened to an interview with a singer-songwriter and heard her say, “Don’t Stop Running across the Finish Line”
  • “Keep Running!”
  • In an earlier podcast, I speak about how writer and creative coach, Julie Jordan Scott, used the metaphor of ‘crossing the finish line’ as a writing prompt during a recent Perioscope episode. I shared my writing following that episode. I drew myself crossing the finish line in my journal.

Now I see myself saying, I’m not Stopping Running across that Finish Line!

In a recent interview, Alan Alda, a well-known actor and writer, talked about communication. He reflected during the interview on how he was at one time talking with a woman and only seeing her as a ‘blob’. He thought he was attending to the person but discovered that he really was talking at her, not with her. He was not seeing her.

Synchronicities (meaningful coincidences) are all around us. However, if we are closed off, have our boundaries closed, are not receptive–we don’t notice and can’t see what is right in our space.

Real, deeply felt communication happens when we attend and are present to the other person’s needs.

Synchronicities and heart-felt connections are important parts of our lives that offer us opportunities for joy, meaning, optimal health, and real connection.

What synchronicities do you notice?

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

Claim your free guide to the ‘Art of Playing in the Everyday’.

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

New Moon Inspiration

The New Moon just before the August eclipse is an important day to set intentions as you move forward on your playful journey.

A great many people inspire me on a daily basis: Flora Bowley, Karen McMillan, Steve Dahlberg, Christine and Drew Gilbert, Julie Jordan Scott, Sheila Bender, Terry Tempest Williams, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Lisa Sonora, and many others…

My intention is to birth what wants to emerge through my play-based, depth-oriented work in ways that are heart-felt, embodied, life-giving, financially sustainable, and generous to myself and others.

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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.

Our Playful Impulse is to Create

When inspiration wakes me and the impulse to create is present its best for me to ‘get on with it’ and move into the playful impulse to create.

My usual practice when I wake up in the middle of the night and remember a dream is to write it down in my journal. When I go back to sleep without recording my dream I often lose the threads of my dream story and landscape and as a result I am unable to play with my dream gift later on during my waking hours.

Over the years I have created play lists of what I want to try on in my life and have written hundreds and hundreds of pages long-hand in my journals. These journals fill my bookshelves and drawers. My computer’s backup drive has many files stored there with writing and projects that I have yet to share.

Do you come up with creative ideas that don’t see the light of day? or How do you take action so that your creative ideas can be shared with others?

Play is the portal to creativity. When we honor our playful impulse to create we are honoring our playful, creative Self.

Listen to The Art of Playing in the Everyday Part 7: Our Playful Impulse to Create:

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.

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.

 

Grief Has No Time Table: Patterns of Remembering & Awakening

When I wrote this post in 2016 I hadn’t yet recognized that the patterns in my dreams were giving me a ‘heads up!’  letting me know that my surrogate son would be calling in the new year!

Resource: Uma Girish interviewed me recently as part of her ‘Grammar of Grief’ series. I invite you to listen to our interview.

June 24, 2016 Dream:

GUIDELINES TO HELP ME PASS THROUGH A DOOR TO MY MEMORY

I’m in an Alzheimer’s facility. My sister, Patty, is standing beside me. She is a tall, big woman (my sister in waking life looks very different from this dream figure representing my sister, shadow). I’m wondering when Michael is going to come visit me at the Alzheimer’s facility. A female staff member is ready to go home. It is just about 6pm. As she prepares to leave she grabs her black purse and slings it over her left shoulder. I talk with her briefly about whether I can walk outside. I don’t know the rules or guidelines yet.

The words that call me are:

  • separated from Michael
  • what are the guidelines
  • passing through the door to the outside
  • standing beside me
  • ready to go home
Credit- Gary Hamburgh
Elwah

Credit- Gary Hamburgh

I received my dream after asking for dream guidance. My dream stays with me and is helping me to re-member the importance of what is just outside my door, through the portal:

IMG_2981
Hurricane Ridge Road

July 3, 2016 Dream

RETURNING TO GET WHAT I NEED 

I’m walking down a paved urban sidewalk. I see three yellow school buses coming my way up the hill. Looks like I will miss the bus because everything I need is at home. I jay walk across the busy street (while being careful not to be hit) and make my way back to the right side. Looks like I will have to drive to school after I retrieve what I need at home. 

Memoir & Ambiguous Loss 

I won’t see him again or I may

Pauline Boss is an expert in ambiguous loss. She works with people following events like 911, Japan’s Tsunami, and other life changing losses like divorce and adoption,  In her On Being interview with Krista Tippett, The Myth of Closure, Pauline says:

  • there is no such thing as closure
  • the media does great harm to people when they write or talk about closure
  • grief has no timetable

Pauline also talks about how people cope when there is no funeral to go to or a place to visit after the death of a loved one. [someone is missing but may be found, a child is adopted and the birthmother may see him again].

It helps to be able to say:

I won’t see him again or I may

Everyone of us has experienced losses that are a part of the fiber of our being.

Carl Jung wrote about the tension of the opposites

When you can say, “I won’t see him (her) again but I may”, and hold that tension you can unite the two in a creative, transformative way.

Inconsolable Grief

When I started writing this post in 2016 I hadn’t yet seen the patterns in my dreams calling me home.

Patterns that I recognize about how I am developing. Who I am Becoming.

Home is where I write and re-member my own inconsolable grief. My own sense of loss following the adoption of my surrogate son.

Home is the Olympic Peninsula. The place where I want my ashes scattered. Where I want my children and grandchildren to remember their Mom and Nana.

Home is where my dreams reside and I re-member what I am called to BECOME.


Thank you for showing up and being here. I’d love to hear from you. I never know where my writing will take me when I begin any one post. The big ‘C’ words, closure and completion, have been replaced with focus and freedom.

Some questions to consider. I’ll be standing right beside you as we consider these questions together…

  • Are their patterns that you have found through your journaling, understanding of your movement styles, dreams, or through your relationship with nature that you recognize as helpful guides in your development?
  • Is closure possible after the loss of a loved one who you will not see again? or after the loss of a marriage or adoption of a child?
  • Does our ability to bring closure affect our ability to play and create?
  • What happens when something loss is found? How does that change who you are becoming?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A NEW SERIES: The Art of Playing in the Everyday & Writing

I am starting a new ‘The Art of Playing in the Everyday’ series today. My goal is to help you understand what is meant by ‘the art of playing in the everyday’ and what benefits you will gain by immersing yourself in the practice of playing in the everyday in our own life.

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment following this post, contribute a post on the Play-Peace Facebook page, write me at maryalice@playequalspeace.com or call/text me at 206/200-4542

My first podcast is on The Art of Playing in the Everyday & Writing:

Listen to Play=Peace Podcasts:

Want to learn more? 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

Mary Alice Long, PhD is a play-based, depth-oriented mentor, creative coach, and writer. Call me to find out more about how you can work/with me! You can phone me/text at 206/200-4542

Wonder, What is Hidden, What Will Emerge this Spring

When I climb to 5,242 feet, the wind reminds me about momentum and my desire to keep going…

the voices keep shouting their bad advice

I keep going. I know what I must do.

21 inches of new snow has fallen. My snowshoes sink deeply as I create a pathway through the subalpine firs. I stop frequently and am aware just how alive I feel in the midst of such

Beauty. Presence. Presents.

What happens when I have that sinking feeling that something isn’t right? I shut down or take a few awkward steps.

I am hungry and take a bite of nourishment. I am carrying burdens– a pack with necessary gear and stuff I lug around with me all the time. To what end? Can I give all of it to the trees who know so much about shedding when their limbs can no longer bear it?

All around me I hear communities of winged ones, four-leggeds who live under the snow, and insects.

The seekers. The survivors. The sensate.

I plop myself down while I snack. I feel closer, sheltered, grounded. I want to be part of, not separated from. The white all around me provides light. The air clears the way. Instead of wanting to push forward I want to

slow down and listen, deepen, connect with life.

I don’t have my journal or watercolors but I have my phone camera. I start to capture or 

I make an attempt to capture images, the moment, reverie, where I came from, where I am going, what my heart wants to sing, what my gut wants me to know.

So many have been here before me. I am surrounded by my ancestors. Not just two-legged. Ancestors come in many forms. They are all present. This place. I am here to understand and communicate. Dreaming comes easily here. I sink further into the deepening of who I am becoming and what I am called to offer.

In this moment, when I learn of the unwelcome news that Michael’s  P.E.T. scan shows another hot spot (cancer), that my spouse will need surgery–the icycles are hard and frozen. or so it seems. I breathe and remind myself that there is fluidity in all of life. Certainly I am a fluid being. I want to be fluid. The drops of water on my branches are in flow, a stream of consciousness, a river of life.

I am grateful for the inspiration of Hurricane Ridge, a mountainous area in the Olympic National Park, the poems of Mary Oliver, and my 25-year love and creative partner, Michael.

 

 

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.

 

 

Stepping Stones

I believe that everything in life can be approached playfully.

Approaching life as a playful journey helps me to keep moving ahead especially when life is filled with major challenges or what my husband calls, anything that comes from left field (or the unexpected).

Do you see your life as an adventure that sets you on center stage creating positive change for yourself and others?

Visualize yourself walking down a path lined with stepping stones. At first, you find yourself in a garden filled with spring flowers. As you continue you find yourself at the top of a set of stairs. You stop for a minute to catch your breath and then you take one of many steps down the stone stairs. At the bottom of the stairs you see a large double, wooden door to your right. The door has antique handles. You step forward and open the door. Once inside you walk forward and see another passage to your left that takes you to a large stone-walled room. In the middle of the room there is a desk with a large, high-backed chair just right for you to sit in and write. You walk around the desk and sit in the chair. You look up and find that someone is approaching you.

Who is approaching?

How do you feel as you sit in the chair?

What are the stumbling blocks that have kept you from what you desire?

What steps can you take to move forward as a writer, as a playful spirit, as a creator?