The Courage to Attend to Your Dreams and Act on Their Behalf

Do you acknowledge and act in response to your values?

Psyche calls you whether you are ready or not. Well before I feel ready, my night and waking dreams are offering me what I need to start + what I need to stay in a committed relationship with what I value most. Questions that run through my head are:
What is my intention?  What do I understand about my intention? Is my intention flexible? What is my level of commitment to what I intend to do? Will my commitment change over time?
My night dreams
are gifts. I store what I can of these gifts in my journals. My dreams help me in becoming who I am…and then who I am again…and again…and again…as I perform my life. I am eager to learn all I can about my individuation journey. There is so much I do not know as a woman, mother, nana, writer, playful spirit, and creator. I am open to travels that go way beyond what I know at this moment.
My waking dreams
in the form of day dreams, personal license plates that I might see on the road that strike a cord at a particular moment, graffiti painted on the wall of a building or under a bridge, a line from a page of a book opened at random–these waking dreams, when recognized as in-sight, are helpers as I walk down a variety of pathways which are sometimes easily traveled but most of the time have bumps, fits, and turns to maneuver.
My night and waking dreams are recorded in my journal. I looked back through my journals often and play with dreams that I received recently or many years ago. For me, there is no difference in whether I receive a dream day or night.
Dreams are the portal to the psyche and to the greater good for both myself and others.
Your dreams are calling you to recognize and live your values.
  •  What do you value?
  • What are your commitments and how do you honor them?
  • Are your intentions alive in your day-to-day life?

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?

 

 

 

The Gift of Your Unique Voice

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King

Today I am finding it difficult to get to the point where I can dive in and engage in my writing practice. Often I start writing in my journal and at some point my writing turns in a way that tells me I am in flow and going for it.  I can feel the difference between the start of writing and a deepening in the way my pen feels in my hand pressed to paper or how my fingers fly across the keyboard.

Since that flow is not happening right now I think I will approach my writing counter-intuitively.

What if I don’t care about creating meaning for others as a writer?

What if I am only sharing my writing for ego’s sake and don’t see any higher purpose in the words I scribble or type on the page?


I’m struggling to write and that struggle is even more so when I consider writing without regard to the call I feel as a writer and artist to help others on their playful, individuation journeys.

The secret is to release, start over again and again, and give voice to what matters.

Some writing prompts to consider using:

When I release I…

I am struggling to …

When I stay with my writing (creative) practice I…

My unique voice in the world is…

Seasons of Change: Stillness, New Growth, Abundance, Harvest

Winter is the season of stillness. For many of us it is a time of slowing down and renewal.

The seasons of winter, spring, summer, and autumn do not necessarily match what we are feeling in the depths of our soul. It is winter but I am feeling more like summer.

I am celebrating a recent phone call from my surrogate son and the opportunity I was given to help him learn about his story and fill a gap in his life that can now be healed and transformed.

I am actively working on completing my memoir, I Would Have Named Him Peter, for publication and continue to be engaged in the larger memoir project which includes my written memoir, performance, images, dreams, and letters.

I am creating new programs that fill me with anticipation in what is to be…moving ahead with a joyful heart this winter knowing that I am exactly where I need to be, attending to what I am called to offer through my play-based, depth-oriented writing and practice.

If you were to choose the season you feel most alive in now, which season would that be?

What can that season help you understand about your writing and your unique playful journey?

Don’t Hold Back, Write About What You Feel

Each moment brings an opportunity for play so why not playfully write in those moments that string into minutes.. and then hours…I had a journal with a key to lock my journal as a girl and I loved putting pen to paper and writing even then. As a child, I got the message that my brothers and sister were not suppose to make a sound at home so as not to disturb my dad. As a result I didn’t feel heard and listened to…writing gives me the opportunity to express myself. One of many art-forms I use to play and create with..

Louise DeSalvo’s quote, Repressing our Stories Can Harm Us, sent me to Google to look up repression, to revisit the word and attitude,

Google says, repression is ‘the action of subduing someone or something by force’. Re-visiting assumptions is valuable…I’m taken by the word ‘force’ in this definition of repression.

  • Am I using force to hold back my stories?
  • Do I forcefully stop myself and others from sharing theirs?

Do you believe in writing as a way of healing?  I sure do..

Writing has been instrumental in helping me to integrate my dreams and experiences in a way that transformed my life. In my 30s and during the time that I offered to be a surrogate mother for my psychotherapist I often said, ‘oh, whatever you want‘ when asked what I preferred in any given situation. I most often placated the other person to avoid conflict or criticism.

I had very little sense of boundaries and attracted people into my life who were more than willing to take advantage of my leanings. (my psychotherapist being one of the willing takers).

The woman I was at the time of my surrogate pregnancy and that same woman today in my 60s are very different.

When I write and speak about learning ‘the art of playing in the everyday’ its more about the approach and practice than it is about the form play takes. When I or anyone else brings a child’s wonder and curiosity to any experience play happens. Writing about my dreams and experience has brought a life filled with playfulness and creativity. Laughter and joy.

After writing in my journals and continuously focusing on the art of writing for many years,  I have found that I am beginning to write and not hold back.

As Betsy Wetzig, my friend and collaborator, wrote me after witnessing one of my memoir project performances and reading my writing over a period of time:

I now have a deeper understanding of how playfulness can be a medium of understanding…. for one thing it can help us deal with the “scaries” as it lets us interact with ourselves.

There is value in writing about our personal experiences and what we feel. what is real.

  • Don’t hold back.
  • Be open.
  • Be courageous.

 

 

 

What You Choose to Write + Create + Share Reveals So Much

My choices have led me to the development of my life’s view. I believe that play can be instilled in every moment of our lives and is the portal to creativity.

When I chose to be a surrogate mother for my psychotherapist and her husband I had no idea that what I experienced during the conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum would be so life altering.

Postpartum, Act 4

The story I have been writing in a variety of forms, for well over 10 years, continues well beyond the birth and relinquishment of my surrogate son. My story is really our story, a story that offers in its postpartum, a life filled with play and creativity.

Now that my son and I have made contact by phone and I have shared my version of our story with my son, I believe more than ever, that our story continues to develop in ways that are meaningful and filled with purpose.

My core story starts with a woman who gives her Self, her Soul away. Her initial intention is to Help an Other. She doesn’t consider what life will be like after her agreement has come to its natural conclusion. She is a woman of integrity who never gives a thought to not fulfilling her end of the bargain.

It is not until just after the Birth of her Child that She Recognizes what her Contract is really about. Creating * a Newborn * and a New Life for Herself and Others, a Life of Giving and Receiving the Gifts of Play and Creativity.

The day I returned home from the hospital after giving birth to my surrogate son, I recognized I was being called to Become…

I felt stirred to action. To help my Self and Others:

  • To Play
  • To Create
  • To Laugh
  • To Wholeness
  • To Individuate

I continue to feel the pull to act, to become, to perform my life, to practice the art of playing in the everyday so that I can create a life that comes from the heart and help others on their journeys toward individuation.

What is the personal experience you are choosing to write about?

What are you creating in our life?

How do you feel about sharing your story, your creations, and who you are becoming…?

 

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

 

I WRITE (CREATE) WHEN I AM BUSY, TEARY-EYED, JOYFUL, OR OTHERWISE ENGAGED

I am finding that I can write just about anywhere and under any circumstance when I embrace imperfection.

There are times in my life when I haven’t written in my journal.

One of the longest periods of time of not writing was during my surrogate pregnancy.

Two years after the giving birth and relinquishing my newborn to his adoptive mom and dad, I began to record my dreams, I also started to write daily in my journal. I’ve been writing ever since and have stacks of journals in my play studio that I go back to again and again for reflection and inspiration.

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are and why we’re here. ~Sue Monk Kidd

I spoke to my surrogate son, Bobby, just a few weeks ago. He told me during our two-hour call that at an early age he realized that he looked very different than his parents. He asked about his beginnings. He told me, they just kept putting me off.

As our phone call was coming to a close, Bobby said, now that I know my story I have something I can tell people about who I am.

I asked Bobby if he ever writes in a journal. He said he hadn’t written since graduating from university with a degree in journalism. I suggested that he consider writing again saying, now that you know more about your beginnings you have a story to remember and to share with others.

It took a great deal of courage for Bobby to call me. All his adoptive mom and dad had told him up til the time of our call was, her name is Mary.

Bobby’s courage en-courages me to write imperfectly. To write about who I am becoming and the life experiences I am called to share.

 

That Day Has Come: Play It Forward + Create With All Your Heart

Has that day come for you?

Are you ready to give birth to the stories inside you?

I wrote in September 2016  ‘Writers on Writing’,

I can feel the electricity sparking off in my body. Tears come easily. I feel the need to walk and use this energy to act. I wonder what my a scan of my brain would show in the moment of writing — likely such a scan would look very different when I’m writing memoir versus not writing.

When I lowered myself to the floor while stretching I went into the fetal position breathing as deeply as I have ever breathed before. I’m anxious. I’ll keep breathing knowing that I can keep writing and be with my anxious self no matter what comes up. What’s the worse thing that could happen? I won’t die if I keep writing. Actually the opposite — I’ll live life to the fullest, I am a writer.

As with all things in my life I playfully write. I bring the same playful attitude to writing that I instill in washing the dishes, riding a carousel, or jumping in mud puddles with my grandchildren.

When I write I play full out. I dig a hole to china and then dig some more…

I write in the company of all the writers who have come before me. I write with all my heart and share with openness and as much generosity as I can muster.

As Isabel Allende says, Write about what should not be forgotten.

Write about what you would rather not know. Write about your fears. Write about what you love. Write about what fills you. Write about betrayal and regret. Write about your shadow. Write about what you don’t want others to know. Yes, write especially about your shadow–what you cannot see and must see to become, to perform your life, to write and share your life stories with heart.

Some journaling prompts to help you play it forward:

I wonder what I would feel like if I wrote about…

Something I have never considered writing about is…

If others knew about ______________ they would not want to…

Writing for me is…

When I create something new I want it to be…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a Life that Comes from the Heart