Category Archives: Depth Psychology

Playing in the Dark + Walking with Others without Pity

To those who have dared the darkness, and those who have walked with them, without pity. ~ Marion Woodman, from Bone: Dying into Life

As I write I am aware of the many people who have inspired me along the way. Right now I am allowing the names of those who have breathed life into my everyday to tumble in. Some of these folks have frankly been more like thorns in my side than soft hugs or light touches against the soft skin of my cheek. The latter have been and will continue to be chosen partners to walk with on my playful, creative journey.

As I write I am aware of my desire to let go of constraint and get on with it. I am making an attempt to write way ahead of my thinker! I’m a body intellectual, amongst the many facets of Mary Alice, and so its a challenge to get ahead of this-is or thats-is that want to be heard. There is so much that I do not know, haven’t seen, haven’t experienced and I want it all!

As I write I am aware of those writers that I admire. I love their style of writing, their courage, their way of languaging what they have to give voice to. Critics are always going to be part of the scene because I dare to share. I am interested in traveling to the multitudinous places that my dreams will take me. No pressure folks! Ha! Part of the fun is planning the trips with no expectations and the freedom to include everything imaginable without concern for cost, where I will stay, or an itinerary.

I remember when my husband, Michael, and I  traveled to London for a month’s stay. He created a color-coded grid with the dates of our stay and every aspect of our trip–reservations, tickets, time slots; train, plane, automobile…Horrors! We made an agreement that every bit of the schedule could be changed at a moment’s notice. Similarly, I DO NOT want my life’s journey to be on a grid. When I write I want to be able to switch tracks on a moment’s notice.

As I write, I am aware of the value I place on play and creativity in the everyday moments of my life especially in the moments where I dare the darkness, face my fears, meet my Shadow. I am grateful for those who walk with me as I struggle, those who walk with me as I stumble.

I am curious.

I am clearing what is not longer necessary.

As I write, I am aware of my desire to bring more consciousness into my playful, creative journey. Writing and creating in new ways helps my brain to stay limber, my heart to remain open, and my gut to speak the truth. Each time I make another attempt to dive deep into unknown waters I am freed to take another leap into the muck and beauty of what we call life.

To those who have dared the darkness, and those who have walked with them, without pity. ~ Marion Woodman, from Bone: Dying into Life

Podcast: The Art of Playing in the Everyday

[ctt template=”3″ link=”8yn00″ via=”no” ]Be Curious. Begin to Play with Whatever is Before You at the Moment. http://ctt.ec/8yn00+ #playintheeveryday #play[/ctt]

I jumped on ZCast and recorded my first podcast about what led me to a re-claiming of play and creativity in my life and the practice of ‘the art of playing in the everyday’.

What do you mean by play, Mary Alice?

What does it mean to play in the every day?

Between the ages of 35-40 I began to re-claim play in my life. I was drawn to dance, singing, and storytelling, improv classes, InterPlay, Voice-Movement Therapy originating out of London, authentic movement, and sand play.

I had just started a doctoral program in clinical psychology with an emphasis in depth psychology. I was recording my dreams while completing my hours to sit for my licensed, clinical social work written and oral exams. I wanted to go into private practice as a depth-oriented psychotherapist.

I was transitioning from a woman who ‘performed her life’ as

  • a single mother of 3 children
  • as a registered nurse working in high-risk obstetrics and antepartum care
  • as a surrogate mother for her psychotherapist and her husband
  • as a clinician
  • as a researcher
  • as a student

and transforming into a woman whose focus

  • was on her dreams and what the higher Self wanted for Mary Alice
  • playing in ways she was drawn to
  • creating through writing, performance, improvisational dance, and storytelling.

I started to see a man on California’s central coast whom I would marry 4 years later. (*we’ve been together now 25 years!) When I first started seeing Michael on weekends and holidays I was preparing myself for an empty nest. Two of my 3 children wanted to attend school in Washington state and my youngest daughter wanted to try living with her Dad for a while. After seeing Michael for a year, I quit my full-time job as a health education coordinator and instructor for Kaiser Permanente and moved to Cambria. I settled into a new life accompanied  by my golden retriever, Gem. Michael had a basset hound named Dandy. We remodeled a home in town. For the first time in many years I was not working full-time as a single mom. New possibilities opened.

Many times over the years I have been asked, How did you do it?

The answer is, I made choices.

When I first met Michael I was dreaming of Red-Tail Hawk. SHE and HER energy led me to Michael. My dreams foretold our meeting and what would develop as a result of our relationship. HAWK’s energy in me allowed me to embrace a chapter in my life that many counseled me against.

What are you doing?

I had a full-time, well-paid, professional position as a health educator. I was about to begin a new career as a depth-oriented psychotherapist.

My dreams insisted that I PLAY

I Listened.

I was led to people and spaces where I could experiment, try on new ways of living my life and understand my life’s work. A series of inquiries, readings, and sessions with healers and my analytical work with Jungian analysts repeated the message:

You are called to play and creativity. You will help others find more laughter, more play, more creativity in their lives.

As I embraced my calling, step-by-step, I discovered not only ways to play with groups and tribes that I discovered along the way but, also, and importantly, I started to see all aspects of my life as play and playful. I poked around and tried on ways to play with my night and waking dreams;  creating healthy, loving relationships; playing while at work! and I envisioned and sought out ways that play opens doors to creativity as a parent, grandparent, professional, entrepreneur, writer, artist, and much more.

Every day mundane tasks no longer were a drudge or something I had to do, but, instead could be played with and play-full.

My walks, hikes, gardening, time spent outdoors all took on a new cast–a playful one!

Nature is Playful!

Everywhere I looked I could see PLAY.

and so it is today. Even in the most challenging moments

PLAY IS AT THE FOREFRONT.


What do you mean by play, Mary Alice?

What does it mean to play in the every day?

I invite you to listen to my podcast and consider for yourself:

Are there ways that I bring more play and playfulness into my life–at home, at work, while dreaming and creating?

I don’t want you to miss anything!

If you are not already receiving our Wednesday ‘Play Notes‘ with play-based quotes, resources, and updates? CLICK HERE

DID YOU KNOW? that I am available to work with you one-on-one as a play-based, depth-oriented mentor? WORK/WITH ME!

The 21-Day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge begins on January 5, 2017. It’s FREE but you DO NEED TO REGISTER.  Register NOW!

It Feels Right: I Have a Confession to Make

Writing or creating anything really seems to take its time with me.

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I collect ideas, dreams, images, and what-nots for an undetermined period of time and then when the time is right to let it rip-I share my collection. Its occurred to me lately that it might be wise to share bit-by-bit, in dribs and drabs, dot-to-dot. For NOW I’m ready to share what I have stored away.

No Matter What I Play on…

Many people, when they learn about Play=Peace and my play-based work, tell me that they don’t play enough or even that they don’t really know how to play at all.

There are also folks who ask me incredulously,

why would I need someone like you to help me learn to play?

well….

We live in a playful world

Every one of us is born with the birthright

to PLAY

YET

our Culture pushes us towards stress, poor health, migraines, worry, tension, conflict, pressured-scheduled living or lethargy, workaholism, and much more that is harmful to our well-being and opportunity to live full-out!

NO MATTER

who joins me learning the art of playing in the everyday

I GET TO PLAY!

My Imaginal Being, my Dreams, Psyche–calls me to play and create

for myself and in service to others….

Play is the Thing!

and

There is another Side of the Coin

Stress and Pressure live there…

It all what you want to Choose. I’ll be playing! no matter what…

I’d love to hear from you!

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Creatures of Habit-[at]

We are creatures of habit.

Each habit-[at] is uniquely its own.

 

Spring Blossoms

A place that is natural 

–for the life and growth of an organism.

I went to bed last night asking, ‘what will I write about tomorrow?’

This morning a dream tells me ‘we are creatures of habit’. what is my natural habit-[at]?

what are some of my habits? are they a good thing? or not?

Each morning I get out of bed and prepare breakfast

When I wake from sleep if I remember a dream I write it down in my journal which is by my bedside on a side table. I listen for the first morning sounds for a bit, stretch, and sit up and put my robe on.

Coffee. I pour milk into the bottom of my cup which reads ‘Writer’ and add dark, hot, aromatic liquid that stirs me.

Oatmeal. First I get the small pot out of the drawer, fill it with just the right amount of water, and turn on the flame to bring the water to a boil. Then I go to the pantry and pull out the oatmeal, almonds, and raisins. I usually add cinnamon to the oatmeal while it is cooking. I slice the almonds in half with a sharp knife and take two teaspoons of raisins out of the package. I add the sliced almonds, raisins, and soy milk to the cooked oatmeal. Finally I use a large spoon to help me transfer my oatmeal and yummy add ons into my cereal bowl.

How I get out of bed or prepare oatmeal is not all that interesting. They are routine behaviors that I repeat regularly and that have a tendency to occur unconsciously.

My morning habits are a good thing. I don’t have to think about them. They are healthy and help me start my day in a positive mood.

Can I change my habits? Well, of course. I can and I do….

Michael has had by his own admission the same breakfast for well over 60 years! He likes his routine and is the ultimate creature of habit. 

I on the other hand cherish diversity and like to play with multiplicity. I might like (some day) to play with the way I get out of bed in the morning. Change the side of the bed I sleep on. Change the color and style of our bedding.

I can see myself choosing to bake some delicious goodie at the start of my day. Something that is not good for me but fits my playful nature and love of baked goods and carbs. Fresh baked bread out of the oven, yum!

Playing in the everyday: how about creating some new habits?

My natural habit-[at] includes dreams, coffee, and oatmeal with almonds. Its a playful environment.

From time-to-time as a writer I challenge myself to write down every bit of my day in my journal. When I engage in this style of journaling I am amazed at the detail I can pull out of even the  most mundane of days. which is not mundane at all. Each day I am in my natural habit-[at].

Lately I’ve been taking the steps to create some new habits or at least thinking about it…

Each step is the place to learn

I’ve been listening to fiddle music and researching fiddles and teachers in the area.

The sign reads: Quality fiddles for all levels of students

I’m about to start fiddle lessons and just about ready to call on one of my musical buddies to help me create a children’s song album.

The thing is play needs no purpose

I have the desire to try some new ways to play. This isn’t going to be pretty folks!

My strings will sqeek! I don’t know… I know only a smidgen about creating a music CD.

The question, how do I? will come up frequently.

Oh, what the heck. I’m writing and leaning into sharing-publishing. I’m painting and learning to mix colors bit by bit. I’m dancing new steps with new partners who tell me I have way to much swing! and I bounce too much!

I’m all for greater play-diversity in my habit-[at].

How about you?

Share your stories, questions, comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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Share Your Story with your Whole Heart

Turning the page and finding so much more…

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Openness

Generosity

Bravery

Playful, Action Steps

vulnerability is not weakness

= courage

vulnerability-coeur-heart

the willingness to do something when there are no guarantees

vulnerability is the way to live

Judging by the amount of time it is taking me to write this post I am both desiring and struggling to be vulnerable on the page.

I want to share what I’ve collected or what has captured me with my whole heart but am I willing to share my vulnerabilities when there are no guarantees?

Can I continue to write, perform, share, teach, offer help, give, reach out, do the best I can without guarantees?

So many times I am unsure if anyone is really wanting to connect. To create real connection.

People close to me tell me that I’m taking too much of a risk. Be yourself, ha!

This week I found myself sharing in-person and here about how I found my way back to play, re-claiming play in my life, after years of achieving degrees, analytical hours, and striving to achieve. Yes, those  years are valuable and helped me become who I am today…

AND

when I was called back to PLAY and understood that life’s playfulness and creativity, wild imagination and dreams were there for me so that I could learn and develop…become….individuate…

THAT’S WHEN IT ALL HAPPENED

Pushing, Cautiousness, Criticism, Comparison weren’t getting me anywhere I wanted to go…

What does Vulnerability mean to you? Share in the Comments or Email Me to schedule an individual, customized play-based retreat:

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