Tag Archives: Creativity

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.

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.

 

 

Write Badly

I am drawn to writers and artists with imperfect styles and quirky combinations of form.

My memoir is not written in a linear fashion. Instead, it is a juxtaposition of story, letters, and dreams.

I have any number of books in my library that I love because I can start on any page and dive right in at that point without skipping a beat.

I’m really having fun with this!

Playing with writing tools and materials…a variety pens, pencils, notebooks, journals. Watercolor paper…watercolor paper of different sizes or canvases to write on and then add paint, oil pastels. Trying out new materials that I have never or infrequently used–like using a feather or a stick from the beach or woods to paint words on a canvas…well, I have all the permission in the world (my own!) to go wild and just play for play’s sake!

I’ve started to intentionally try to write badly….to let colors run together. Lets see–what colors am I drawn as I sit looking at a palette of watercolor or acrylic paints. Who says this color goes with that.

Who says that prose needs to be written this way and poetry doesn’t include long sentences that run together??

I remember…attending a weekend poetry workshop a number of years ago. The poet leading the workshop brought along her publication filled with her poetry. She used her poetry as the model for how we should all write poetry. When I talked to her individually about my poetics at the time she said, “oh, this is lyrical.”  [I took her statement “oh, this is lyrical” as a HUGE CRITICISM and stopped writing poetry for a while.]

Now I intentionally write bad poetry. My own unique form of poetics. I still attend poetry workshops from time to time. The difference between now and when I was told, “oh, this is lyrical” is that I enjoy my style, sharing my unique voice, and I have learned that ‘not all criticisms are worth being listened to and acted on.’

I have a lot to learn about bad writing, moving counter to the music, or letting colors run together as I paint. I’m excited about the many possibilities that will rise up as part of that learning curve.

Want to give bad writing a try?

Pick up a pen, pencil, paper, notebook, or journal…

Start writing with the intention of writing badly…notice what happens.

There are no limits or rules for what materials you can use…

If you want, add a splash of paint, paste an image or two into the mix that you have torn out of a magazine, doodle, draw a quick sketch and add some more bad writing.

I would love to hear how this experiment turns out for you. I’m excited!

p.s. this blog post is bad writing!?**#

 

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?

 

 

 

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

 

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Like Showing My Wild Side

Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

In 1996 I recorded my dance of the selchies (seal woman’s) story juxtaposed against my own personal story of being a surrogate mother for my psychotherapist and her husband. For months prior to filming I worked with a choreographer and practiced my dance during dance class, on a private beach on California’s central coast, and in a dance studio. When the day of the shoot finally arrived, I danced on a stage that was built from hard metal puzzle pieces. Rivets held the pieces of the stage together. As I danced over  the 4 hours of recording the costume that I was wearing was torn and my body bruised. When I finally returned home after we had finished for the day I discovered that my body was covered with bruises.

I remember thinking as I went to bed that night that I was more seal than woman. I had gone onto land and birthed a son while being separated from the waters of my birth and my natural wild Self.

Since that time and while writing my memoir I have revisited my selchie dance and my personal story many times over. I opened Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype today and found some notes scribbled onto a magazine page that I had inserted into the pages of the ‘Homecoming: Returning to One’s Self’‘ chapter. The torn magazine page has two images of women dancing and the word SPEECHLESS set in the middle of the page.

Estes writes, we lose the moleskin by becoming too involved with the ego, by being too exacting, perfectionistic. or unnecessarily martyred, or driven by a blind ambition, or by being dissatisfied–about self, family, community, culture, world–and not saying or doing anything about it SPEECHLESS or by pretending we are an unending source for others, or by not doing everything we can to help ourselves. 

Two words I wrote and tucked away in the pages of the selchie story around the year 2010 are PASSION, DREAMS

The wild woman is fluent in the nature of dreams, images, passion, and poetry.


The power of Mary Alice’s story is the heart connections that connect us all while honoring our unique experiences and beliefs.

Muriel Percy, Ontario, CAN

You made it clear that getting in touch with, and living from the heart is natural and simple…. though quite hidden, and perhaps scary for most modern people…..  And a sometimes struggle, ….but something which can be taught/discovered and shared together, playfully and creatively. Here is my bravo…. but the story is ongoing…..

Betsy Wetzig, Allentown, PA

**Below you can watch both the selchie dance and 1 of a series of memoir project performances**

How are you fluent in the language of dreams, images, passion, and poetry?


WANT A WAY TO ADD 21-DAY ‘START WRITING YOUR MEMOIR’  IMAGES AND PROMPTS TO YOUR JOURNAL WITH EASE?
   $12  Buy Now

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

A Love Affair with Writing and Creativity (Not Knowing What You are Doing)

Sometimes it just drops in * active possibility * writer’s advantage

As I was sitting on the couch this morning writing I began to wonder,

What does it feel like to fall in love?

I continued to write in my journal and realized that I am in love. In love with writing. In love with my playful, creative journey.

My own experience is that falling in love has the quality of dropping down Alice’s rabbit hole.

Besides my own experience of falling in love, I have witnessed many of my friends become suddenly and seemingly out of control * acting crazy * not knowing what they are doing.

When you are falling in love your beloved is unique to YOU.

When you are falling in love adversity brings you closer. You get all fired up! You want to be together all the time and you can do this because you are energized and motivated to be together.

When you are falling in love there is an attraction * commitment * an investment that can seem like an obsession like no other.

Becoming aware that I am falling in love with writing and my own playful, creative process is no small matter. My state, this crazy state of being in love, means that I am open to dropping down into the depths where, it is possible, I may remain without opportunity for recovery. That is, if I enter into my love affair and lose myself entirely to that liminal space.

Right now I am available and open to a commitment. I’m willing to invest my time because I am committed to creating new pieces of writing. There is an attraction, a calling that I can’t dismiss.  Writing and creating new projects energizes me when I am tending what is unique only to me as the writer and creator.

I have been writing personal narrative and my memoir since the 90s. There is a certain amount of obsessiveness related to writing about my personal experience and story. Thoughts of the son I relinquished in 1987 have preoccupied me over many years. I wrote my doctoral thesis on surrogacy and also created a selchie dance and video which shares my personal story through the lens of the selchie (seal-woman) myth. As I continued to write I began to write a more detailed version of my story in 2004 in the form of a memoir which now is an edited draft manuscript. My memoir is now part of a larger memoir project and I am working toward completing my story this year. I am performing my story and being transformed through the writing and performative process.

My writing and core life story are coming around full circle. The son I relinquished almost 30 years ago has contacted me. He now knows his story and my story is being flushed out in ways that are magical, healing, and transformative. There is magic in new beginnings that happen to us moment-to-moment. When anyone falls in love with their creative process, their muse, their beloved, it is certain to be a crazy time of upheaval and uncertainty and also a time of meaning, and purpose, and transformation.

Some writing * creative prompts for you to play with:

  • I want to spend all my time ________________.
  • I feel renewed and highly motivated when I…
  • I am committed to…
  • I am open to ….

WANT A WAY TO ADD 21-DAY ‘START WRITING YOUR MEMOIR’  IMAGES AND PROMPTS TO YOUR JOURNAL WITH EASE?
 
   $12  Buy Now

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


WANT A WAY TO ADD 21-DAY ‘START WRITING YOUR MEMOIR’  IMAGES AND PROMPTS TO YOUR JOURNAL WITH EASE?

PURCHASE A COPY OF THE ‘START YOUR MEMOIR E-BOOK’   $12  Buy Now

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

FAQ: 21-Day ‘Start Your Memoir’ Challenge

Thank you for participating in the 21 Day ‘Start Your Memoir’ Challenge.

PLEASE NOTE**You will receive 2 separate emails each day of the 21-day Challenge– (Prompts & Blog Posts)

Not a participant? Wanna play? You can join here. (It’s free.)

The following info will help you get the most out of the experience, and hopefully answer your questions.

If you still have questions about the challenge, please ask in the comments below.

I suspect you may be here because you are missing some of the writing prompts sent by email. *JUST BREATHE*

Missing Emails

It’s a frustrating fact that email can go randomly missing, or not be delivered.

Here are some things you can do improve email deliverability:

Add my email address to your address book:

maryalice@playequalspeace.com

this will train your email to go into your inbox, instead of spam or elsewhere.

Not sure how to do this? No worries. It only takes a minute, and this online guide (with pictures for your email provider!) shows you how.

Gmail users: Check your promotions tab or spam folder. If my email landed there, drag the email into your inbox.

  1. If you don’t see your daily prompt email:
    Please check your spam folder, or the promotions tab if you use gmail. 99% of the time it’s hiding in there. 
    If you don’t find confirmation after checking junk and promotions, it’s possible the email address was typed in wrong. That happens a lot, especially when typing on your phone, etc. So try signing up again, and triple-checking your email address. If the the sign up button on your device of choice isn’t working–Try signing up from a different device.
  2. Make sure my email address is in your address book, instructions are above.
  3. Join the 21-Day ‘Start Your Memoir’ Facebook Group – there are lots of other group members who will be happy to help out and share missing prompts. Just ask!
  4. Visit the Play=Peace Facebook page, where I share the blog posts with journal prompts. You don’t need to be a Facebook user to see my page.To make sure you can see all of my Facebook posts, Click the LIKE button, and when you hover over the FOLLOWING button on the top menu, make sure SEE FIRST is checked.
  5. Pop over to my ‘Create a Life that Comes from the Heart’ blog, where you’ll find each day’s blog post & journal prompts.

Important: Treat the course emails like a gift card. If you lose them, they won’t be replaced.

It is recommended you save these emails, print them out if you want to make sure you have access to all 21 images & prompts or purchase:

Start Writing Your Memoir’ e-Book
Buy Now

*Thank you* for understanding that I am sharing this challenge with lots of other people and am a mentor, creative coach, writer, and artist without a staff — so I won’t respond to requests to replace missing 21-Day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge emails.

I want you to get each and every prompt, but sometimes email just isn’t delivered.

That’s why I’ve got you covered by posting on my blog, in the 21-day ‘Start Your Memoir’ Facebook Group and on the Play=Peace Facebook Page

Fair enough? 

We limit screen time in my family which leaves us more time to play and create in a variety of ways!!

Supplies:
All you need to begin is a notebook and something to write with.

Of course, you can embellish with crayons, paint, drawings, photographs. Some great resources can be found on Pinterest ‘Visual Journaling’ Boards.

The ‘Create a Life that Comes from the Heart’ Blog:

There’s a blog post to accompany each of the images and prompts. You will receive each day’s blog post in a separate email. Print, add to your Pinterest boards, or Share as you desire.

Get all the images and prompts: Start Writing Your Memoir e-Book  was designed to make your writing even easier. Buy Now

Download, printout, and use like a playbook or cut out and add to any notebook.

Here’s what you can expect from joining the 21-Day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge:

Registering for this project automagically gets you on my ‘Play Notes’ list.

I send out play-based, depth-oriented ‘play notes’, blog posts, and resources by email.

As a subscriber you will receive information on working-with-me as a mentor and creative coach, workshops and events, and Play=Peace Shop products that are being offered. ‘Play Notes’ subscribers are the first to hear about early bird discounts.

Sharing & Connection

You are invited to share your experience in the ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge in the comments on the ‘Create a Life that Comes from the Heart’ Blog.

Use the hashtag #StartYourMemoir in your blog and social media posts so we can find each other and build our creative community.

Join our closed FB Group for our Challenge here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/startyourmemoir/

Questions? Comments? I hope so!

If you want to share about your experience or ask questions, please comment on the ‘Create a Life that Comes from the Heart’ blog or go to the Facebook group to post.

If you have unanswered questions – add them in the comments on this page.

I’m open to questions as you participate in this project. Due to number of participants, I kindly ask for two considerations:

1. Please ask your questions in the comments area of the blog posts (this will avoid questions getting lost in email)

2. I won’t answer each question personally, but instead will answer questions in our 21-Day ‘Start Your Memoir’ Challenge Facebook group.

Scrolled Down Without Reading? 

Important: Treat the daily challenge emails like a gift card. If you lose it, it won’t be replaced.

As I won’t be able to answer requests to replace missing emails, so please check out the above options for getting prompts you may be missing.

*Thank you* for understanding that I am sharing this challenge with a large group and am a playful mentor, creative coach, writer, and artist without a staff. 

Yes, I totally repeated some stuff in here, because. You know.

Thank you again for being here.

The 21-Day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge is my playful passion, and I’m so thrilled to be sharing it with you!