Category Archives: The Art of Playing in the Everyday

Begin Doing What You Want to Do Now

Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparking like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake… ~Sir Francis Bacon

I’m reading ‘The Vintage Years: Finding Your Inner Artist (Writer, Musician, Visual Artist) After Sixty’ by Francine Toder, PhD

Apparently when the author was well into her 60s she began to play the cello. In her book she tells the story of an 89-year-old woman who took part in Francine’s research project. In return for her participation this woman was given free cello lessons. Seems she took to playing cello and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I have been listening to fiddle music for years. Recently I started asking fiddlers how they began to play, what its like for them to jam with a group of other musicians, and what their advice is on getting started as a fiddler.

Just before Christmas I looked for a used fiddle at the local thrift store but no luck. Then, my daughter surprised me with a used fiddle for my birthday!

I’m all Swing, so playing the fiddle seems like a natural for me. I have played the piano and guitar a bit over the course of my life, even taken some lessons and played a couple of pieces in recital. Fiddle just seems like so much fun!

I talked to a few fiddle instructors locally. One of them said to me after listening to me talk about my long-standing desire to play the fiddle,

Mary Alice, I would just pick up the fiddle and play. Don’t worry about lessons for now. With your playful nature the best approach is for you to fiddle around. Later on you might want to take a lesson but for now just get the feel of the instrument, and play!


Whether its writing, fiddling, painting or any other form of play and creativity:

Begin Doing What You Want to Do Now

 

Make It An Adventure: Let Your Soul Lie Down in the Grass THE WORLD IS TOO FULL TO TALK ABOUT

When our family is going through difficult times or when we feel challenged we say, “wonderful, another grand adventure!

I like to think of my life as one big, playful adventure. Play, for me, includes everything that life presents moment-to-moment. Today I’m inspired by Rumi’s wisdom:

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. When I listen and attend to what I really love I am in flow. I ‘forget’ and ‘remember’ what I am called to become, to perform–nurturer, dreamer, playful spirit, writer, storyteller, warrior, magician, creator, dancer, physical body, intellectual body, steward of nature, humane educator, and so much more…
The wound is the place where the Light enters you. I have just begun to write a series about my recurrent dream. In these dreams I am often wounded by a member of my tribe. I have been recording and listening to the guidance of my dreams for many years. At the start my recurrent dream was only filled with criticism, betrayal, and woundedness. As I continued to dream the dream on, playing with the dreams characters and dialoging with them through active imagination and dreaming, I found that I started to receive nurturance, acceptance, and applause for my efforts from the same characters who berated me earlier. Light enters in when I meet my Shadow with open arms.
 
Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. Some time ago I wrote about the ‘Myth of Closure‘.  Prior to listening to Pauline Boss’s ‘On Being’ interview, I had named the myth, inconsolable grief. When I relinquished my surrogate son to his adoptive mom and father I didn’t realize the impact of this void. Yes, there is a softening over time but as Pauline talks about in her ‘On Being’ interview when there is a loss and there is a not-knowing that perpetuates and cannot be resolved there is no closure. What remains is inconsolable grief. Anything you lose comes around in another form–My story of relinquishing a newborn to a couple as a surrogate has now been rewritten. I have received a call from my son and he now knows much more about where he came from. The threads of our connection take on another form and promise. There are many news reports of parents who have lost their children through traumas of various kinds, spouses/partners who lose their lovers through drunk driving accidents or disease–many of these parents and spouses/partners courageously go on to create charities in their child or spouses/partners name. Many people, myself included, dream of those who have passed before us. Anything you lose comes around in another form.
 
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. When I meet my Shadow, the parts of me that I cannot see or acknowledge consciously, I seek to find all the barriers within that protect me from the very thing I seek–LOVE. As I write and attend to the work I am called to offer others I am aware that the most effective way to becoming who I am meant to be is Shadow-Play. 
Woundedness, Dreaming, Grieving, Writing, Shadow-Play… are all part of my life’s adventures.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. * The wound is the place where the Light enters you. * Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. * Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. * Let the beauty we love be what we do. * Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.  * Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along. * When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. * Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? * If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? ~Rumi
Some writing/creative prompts for your writing and visual journaling: 
  •  What I really love is…
  • My wounds tell me that…
  • My grief surrounds me like a ….
  • I create barriers for myself and they…

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I also offer one-on-one mentoring & creative coaching:

WORK/WITH MELEARN ‘the ART OF PLAYING IN THE EVERYDAY’

Find out about our MEMOIR PROJECT

 

 

 

Be There: Love It Enough

 

Focus on the ‘out breath’ while pushing gently and birthing your in-born gifts. ~ inspired by Karen McMillan’s Stillness Meditation

Beginnings happen again and again. We see beginnings in nature. In our waking lives. In our night dreams. In our experiences and the stories that we share.

I gave birth to my surrogate son, Bobby, 30 years ago in March. I haven’t heard a word from his adoptive mom or dad in those 30 years. Until now. This year, his birth year, he’s gently pushing me toward a re-union with him and with my Self.

He called me about a week ago and we talked for a couple of hours on the phone. After our conversation I realize there are so many opportunities for new beginnings. So many opportunities for healing and writing new stories.

  • I am at the start of….
  • I am writing a new story and…
  • I see so many opportunities to create and…
  • I notice that….

Breathe in and breathe out gently. Its snowing here and I’m reminded that,

Snow is a blank slate.

Stillness is not only a stopping or slowing down. Stillness happens as we move through our day if we are open to its quality and beauty.

As you play and create, as you write, and as you move ahead through your day and into evening remain open to love and new beginnings.

When she was there, she did not love it enough. ~inspired by Monday morning story


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Memoir Project: The Next Chapter

Summer has brought with it attention to healing and recovery. What supports me is injured. I’m keeping what benefits me and letting go of what no longer serves. I’ve been artificially holding up my upper torso. Dropping into my natural stance and walk makes me feel much more at ease.

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I’ve been holding on for almost 30 years. Three decades reminding me of the mantra of the rosary–a prayer.

I’m praying, my prayer is one of release.

I am writing in two columns as I journal. The second queue includes feelings and body intelligence that I note as I write freely.

Blow out as you push, don’t hold your breath

Holding myself up

Can you imagine holding something up for almost 30 years? Well, I did just that. That kind of holding can eventually show up as pain in the hips and legs. What supports me started to break down.

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Dropping Down & Pushing

Walking nearby our campsite my hips dropped and I felt a release. An awareness washed over me of just how long I have been moving ahead in a way that injures

Since the moment when I passed my newborn son from my arms into the arms of his adoptive mother I have been…

  • holding myself up
  • holding myself back
  • unable to settle into a position that allows for ease of birthing.

I was not going to relax and move into a position where I was likely to give away so much of myself again.

Giving Birth

I am in another 7 year cycle. Exploring patterns:

1-7: childhood, play!

7-14: adolescence, play!

14-21: marriage, birth of my daughter

21-28: birth of my son and daughter, back to school

28-35: surrogate pregnancy, masters program

35-42: birth of my surrogate son, doctoral program, new relationship, kids leave home, move, play!

42-49: play! move, breast cancer, Mom’s breast cancer, re-marriage

49-56: play! move, Michael’s cancer returns, surgery and treatment; Mom’s death

56-63: play! Dad’s death, gave away my son at his wedding

63-70: play! new chapter!

My ability to hold on is amazing. Will I be able to release what has been holding me back? It’s exciting to think about a new chapter in my life.

What’s next?

for me? for you?

 

A Life Well-Lived is Play-FULL

How do you define play, Mary Alice?

The art of playing in the everyday 

could be ‘the art of meditating in the everyday’, Jamie said.

For me, its simple really and a commitment to Self-development.

Practicing the art of playing in the everyday is my life practice and viewpoint–my compass.

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Meditative walking, reflecting while I do the dishes, musing over my night dream when I first wake up in the morning, singing in the shower, reading a book to my grandchildren, sharing what’s happened during the day with Michael over a glass of wine in the evening, drawing or journaling while perched on an overlook, photographing a wildflower, puttering around the house…

each and every moment of my life can be playful

I can play with it all

there is playfulness in each step I take…

I am grateful for moments of ease & joy and doubly grateful for the more challenging moments of life where play transforms walls that I have built to pathways of positive development.

Jamie’s question encouraged me to reflect on two questions,

what is play?

what is not-play?

When I face my fears I am more likely to find my place of fearlessness. Similarly, when I practice not-play I tend to deepen my practice of playing in the everyday of my life (and then some!)

Not-play is when I get hung up or find myself in a complex. I forget and have to find playfulness buried underneath all the seriousness, concern, worry, or challenges that I am holding on tightly to.

When anger and even rage surfaces (sometimes at lightning speed) I forget my Self when I am swallowed up in a deep morass. I am grateful that these moments of forgetfulness are short-lived. Why? Because I remember PLAY (and SHE never forgets me!) and I am pulled out of the destructive holding pattern I find myself in and am set free!


Today I’m playing with ideas of how to deepen my writing, how to playfully organize my writing, how to en-courage my Courageous Self to come out, how to follow through with positive action supported by the guidance of my dreams, how to share my writing with others, how to focus on the important bits.

Take a walk on the (not-play) side and see what happens. [if it feels like you are dancing counter to the rhythm of the music that’s okay–it’s all play!]

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