Tag Archives: Play in the Everyday

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


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?


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Daily Practice, Elimination, and Harvesting

I love the way the wet dandelions that have gone to seed look after a shower. Its a small thing, yes, and yet small things can bring great joy. ~Mary Alice IMG_2214

Daily Practice

Play in the Every day means that every moment of my life can be part of my playful journey if I let it or want it to be so.

What’s the first image you think of when you hear the word play?IMG_1435




Play in the Every day: Lila

‘Play in the Everyday’ — DEFINITELY NOT our culture’s view of play.

By the time I’ve gotten out of bed in the morning I’ve re-called my night dreams and recorded them, made an intention for the day, given thanks for a few of the people and events in my life that I am grateful for, and meditated.

I’m playing with it all and I’ve just begun my day!

Lila, our 4-month-old basset puppy has changed both my sleep and morning routine. Its 2:30am and she’s up and ready to rock-and-roll! Patience comes into play here as we take care of her needs and remember that our sleep deprivation will pass.

Lila provides me with plenty of reminders to play since play=puppy!

As I have committed to a practice of  ‘playing in the everyday’ it doesn’t take long even in the most challenging of moments to remember that there are always choices about how to play in the moment with any circumstance or life event.

When I become impatient (and believe me I do!) I often begin to sing which creates a shift that helps me see in that moment how can I play with my impatience and transform it.

Play in the Everyday: At the Gym Again

Oh my gosh! I’m at the gym again. Believe me, it’s not my favorite place to play but I’ve created a schedule that has already benefitted me with a greater sense of physical well-being. I’m going slow with it.

I stretch in the morning. Without stretching I am much more likely to injure myself at the gym, feel achy, and I don’t sleep as well. So stretching is a must.

A few years ago I came across a book by Jane Pretat, Coming to Age: The Croning Years and Late-Life Transformation. Jane’s book is true to what I’ve experienced as a woman who is growing older in a youth-oriented culture.

Play in the Everyday: Handwriting

When I write with my favorite pen in hand I feel a greater sense of curiosity, playful experimenting. E-motionIMG_1927







Play in the Everyday: Gardening & the Unexpected

My garden’s growth is beginning to slow although I am told that the kale will continue to grow winter long. Time to put the garden to bed. Time for rest.

We transferred raspberry starts in September. The ever-bearing variety that produce fruit in July and September. Apples are growing in abundance. So good in my morning oatmeal, yum!

The last of the cherry tomatoes are ready to harvest. Its a joy to offer some of the harvest from our garden to neighbors and our local food banks and kitchens. Next year I’d like to offer recipes and simple cooking demonstrations at our community garden. So many folks only open up cans and processed food and never consider using fresh produce.

Last night our toilet wouldn’t flush when we were ready to go to bed. It was too late to call the plumber and we know from a previous visit that our beautiful cedar tree has produced roots that are blocking our sewer system and repairs ultimately will be costly. Arghh! Michael drove down the hill, flashlight in hand, and found his way to a port-a-potty that is located by the high school track. He came back upset, I listened and helped him as best I could saying very little. After talking Lila outside for her nightly constitutional we finally settled under the covers. Then, at 3am the smoke alarm started to bleep in the middle of the night!

It heartens me, that, in the middle of this continuing saga, I remembered, you guessed it, playing in the everyday. Playing with ways to listen deeply, problem solve, and take action is a gift that offers me the opportunity to move ahead in compassionate, life-giving ways even in the midst of problems with elimination and surprises that arise in the dark of the night.

Play has helped me move into much more difficult circumstances than the blockage problem. With daily practice I play with both mundane circumstances of life and the metaphors of releasing what needs to be eliminated. Playing with what presents itself in my daily life helps me discern what is most important in my life and creates new ways of embracing what is vital and life-giving.