Tag Archives: play-based approach

So Go Create.

This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love

and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know

because the beauty is in the act of doing it.

Not what it can lead to.

This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,

My body remembers what it feels like to write in flow….in my play studio or outdoors sitting on a log in the forest or on the beach. While writing I am also having a conversation with my playful, creative Self about the joy I am feeling. In the past I would tense when I realized my Friend was slipping away. Now I know that She will return to offer me more moments of joy as a writer.

I remember dancing solo in the middle of a group of dancers on a studio floor. Suddenly I felt the sensation that I was free!  I traveled to destinations I had never visited before. My movements were effortless. 

I remember leading a group ritual and a young woman in the group called out for us to move to the deck facing west to watch the sunset. I walked out on the deck with others in the group and I started to sing…effortlessly my voice raised itself in what was to me a melodious sound filled with light energy.

I remember painting with watercolors just after my breast cancer treatment. The colors I choose and the images that form are not prescribed but come out of the moment of inspiration and reflection. 

This is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less glorious.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
Infinite.

I am remembering Rumi’s,

Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.

Writing in the evening, hmmm?  I am a morning person. I love the quiet of the morning which offers me an opportunity to begin my day slowly, reflectively. I walk up the stairs to my play studio in our 100- year-old home and I close the door. In the morning or evenings often I can see the stars or the moon rising from behind a cedar tree or playing peek-a-boo with drifts of clouds. When I sit down to write sometimes I sit in my rocker and sometimes at my desk in front of my laptop. My words tumble out using pen or my fingers to tap on the keyboard. As a writer I am checking in with my morning and evening body and e-motion-al rhythms. I write when I am feeling playful or depressed, tearful; resistant or receptive. 

For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and means
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
through you.
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care

When I write, dance, paint, share stories, play the fiddle as a beginner, lead a workshop, perform, learn something new, deal with a prickly issue, face my dragons…I am practicing ‘the art of playing in the everyday’. In my world view, everything can be playful. Play and Creativity go together. Can’t have one without the other. 

So go create.

Write, paint, sing, make something, relate, improvise, share stories, innovate, problem solve, re-search, and choose to act in ways that lead to meaningful change.

Saying No, Means Saying YES!

Saying no to one opportunity

brings open space and creativity.

Saying no to some one else’s want

brings flexibility and self-respect.

Image

Saying no to fear

brings en-couragement, openness

vulnerability.

Saying no to judgment and criticism

brings playfulness and receptivity.

Saying YES to my Swing! Nature

Playing in the Everyday with some New Things and Growing what I’ve already started:

  • Global Play & Local Collaborations
  • Contra Dance, Learning to Play the Fiddle
  • Musical Inspiration with Army Jazz Band, Janiva Magness, Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts, PoetryMusic
  • Playing with my Grandchildren at the Beach & Pool, always a De-Light!
  • Creativity Calls, New Creative Adventures
  • Spending time with Friends
  • Producing–Arranging a Special Showing of Michael’s Watercolors
  • Bird Watching
  • Facilitating Full Moon Earth Day Ritual with our Drumming Circle
  • Soul Motion
  • North Olympic Land Trust Crew
  • Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Volunteering
  • Hiking and Nature Photography
  • Drawing & Painting
  • Writing with a Partner, Singing, and Recording Children’s Songs
  • Singing out of Key
  • Swing!

Are you saying NO, so you can say YES?

I’d love to hear about it ALL! Comment or write to me, share your story! (its been proven beyond a doubt that when you SHARE your story you GAIN BEYOND MEASURE!)

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What does Your Playful Spirit want to Mess Around with Next?

Customary ~according to usual practices of a set of circumstances

Customary ~regular~well-established

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Want to try turning your customary way of doing things into play?

What I’ve learned is that my life is lighter and less stressful when I turn what is ordinary, mundane, or even something I am not eager to do, or is challenging, or that I don’t feel good about into play. I laugh at myself a whole lot more and my days feel rich and alive because I’m fully into whatever I am doing.

When I take a walk or hike I play with abandon. I sing and create new melodies and lyrics as I  walk along, or pick out one thing to focus on and revel in it.

When I’m in my play studio and writing— I find that it’s not good for me to sit too long at the computer. I look for ways to get up and move. I pause, get moving, and wait for that next impulse. One hour becomes two….or if I only have a few minutes to write, I am focused and energized because I am playing…

When I’m working on something new that is technical or new to me I like to…

Take breaks outside to breathe deeply.

Call out to Mountain, Water, Sky.

Ground myself asking the Earth to support me.

Remember what has come before and write a short note in my journal to go back to later.

Draw a quick sketch in my visual journal.

Shake my rattles and play with new rhythms on my drum.


Archival Memoir Project (AMP): A 12-month Play-based, Creativity Group

Creating your own Archival Memoir Project is a way to move beyond the ordinary and share ‘what you are deeply into’, intimately involved in, curious about…where your heart lives with others.

My AMP continues to grow as I develop and become… Currently I am playfully re-writing my memoir’s manuscript. I would love to bring my archival memoir performances and workshops to women’s studies classes, and more…

In the near future I’ll be offering a 12-person ‘Archival Memoir Project’ group:

  • We’ll play as a group with our stories, collections, treasures, and lived experiences
  • We’ll record (write, draw, dance, paint, photograph, film, re-search…) dreams and feelings as we play and consider what we want to create.
  • We’ll choose the actions that we will take to create and publish our AMPs
  • We’ll share what we are creating with our friends, families, and communities.
  • We’ll explore ways to interweave our stories as individuals and as a group.

When I imagine our group I see us meeting in-person quarterly during our creative process. In between our in-person gatherings there will be a private Facebook group for us to share and receive help when needed.

Just a taste of what I am playing with… Interested?


I’d love to hear from YOU!

Share your Response in the Comments or Email me…

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My Play-Based Approach: Singing Silly Songs + Messing Around

When I am totally into everything I do! and ‘play in the everyday‘ my life is filled with joy, laughter, and gratitude! I love that! ~Mary Alice

Singing Silly Songs

While in Port Townsend recently with a friend I noticed a shop with lots of color in the window.

Do you want to go in Mary Alice?

The shopkeeper was playing Beatles songs written in a style meant for children. The first song immediately brought a huge smile to my face. No more monkeys jumping on the bed! 

For years on my daily walks I’ve sung to my dog (or the environment!) and created new tunes. Sometimes I take a tape recorder along. I love to sing and create lyrics and melodies. Usually the melody comes first and then the lyrics. Is that right?

For now I’m just making these songs up as I go…some older versions of my songs are recorded on the kind of audio tape we use to put in our answering machines to collect messages. Heavens!

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Messing Around

Messing around is a lot more fun than driving things ahead, focusing, or taking a linear approach. I know, you’re saying not a whole lot gets done, NOT MY EXPERIENCE

AND WHO SAYS ‘DONE’ IS THE BE-ALL AND END-ALL ANYWAY…

Some of favorite ways to mess around:

  • Making faces
  • Stomping in the mud
  • Dancing in the rain (not hard to come by in the Northwest)
  • Visual Journaling with Paints
  • Writing Whatever Comes…and then Messing with those Words Some More…

There are so many Ways to Play in the Everyday…some Silly, some Movin’, ALL full of Treasures & Meaning

Because I am fully committed to my play-based work and believe in the importance of play so strongly I keep going back to ‘sit in the chair’, ‘make that next connection’, ‘ask for help when I need support’, listen to the YES and dismiss the NO and…

I continue to be silly, mess around, laugh! embrace tearful moments, give voice to what matters. SWING! DANCE! SING! MOVE!

AND Continuing to Play with…

Archival Memoir Project (AMP)

My personal ‘archival memoir project’ (AMP) includes performance, images, dreams, letters, and written memoir. My memoir and its ‘postpartum’ (or the 4th stage of the birth process) are meant to be a developing story. What does it mean to give away too much? To abandon yourself? and then re-claim play and creativity?

One part of the developing story that I didn’t expect is the call that I hear to help others create their own AMPs. I’ve been listening to feedback from audiences following performances and asking myself some questions:

  • What are the array of collections, memories, and lived experiences that could be part of these AMPs?
  • What might these AMPs mean to individuals and to the collective?
  • How can these AMPs be shared with families and communities?

Two projects that are unfolding as part of my personal AMP are Forgiveness: Performance & WorkshopComposing a Creative Life: Aging & Late-Life Transformation. 

Have any Silly Songs to Share?

What are you Messing Around with?

I’D LOVE TO HEAR ALL ABOUT IT!

Share your Experience in the Comments or Email Me… [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]