Category Archives: memoir project

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

Tell the Story of Who You Are With Your Whole Heart

Important Question: What is keeping me from completing my memoir?

Psyche’s Answer: You must give birth to and release what you have been carefully nurturing for soooo long!

Courage: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart

In 1987 I released my newborn into the waiting arms of his adoptive mom.

30 years later, I am struggling to release the story of who I am and what I am becoming…

After my mom died in 2008 I dreamed:

In the middle of the front yard of our home there are large stones that spell out a word:

The word is COURAGE


I became the Goddess without the feminine ground that would return me to humanity. 
I am beginning to understand the power of archetype. I am conscious and making choices YES!
This morning I wrote down a new writing schedule in my journal. These hours will be devoted to writing and preparation for birth.
I begin to page through the edited version of my manuscript and I see the words
bird
raven 
butterfly
and am able to fly, and dive deep, anew…and where I never imagined possible, until now. ~synchronicity in the moment of writing/excerpt from a friend’s email

I am doing what needs to be done to complete my memoir, perform my life, discover more…
My surrogate son’s 30th birthday is Saturday. This is the first birthday I am able to wish him a
Happy Birthday!
 I am celebrating my son’s life, our story.
What I said yes to…
I will never say yes to again…
AND…
I am the woman, I am today because of my experience as a surrogate mother
AND
because I play
because I create
because I write… I am READY to complete a lengthy work filled with story, images, dreams, and letters.
I am READY to deepen my work and accept the challenge of completing my work. It is difficult to write about completion and release…there’s a lot for me to learn. This is another step in making sense of what holds me back. Not wanting to let go has brought me to tears, sobbing, many times. I can do this!
IMAGINE what will birth next?!
I’m going to keep writing and watch to see what synchronicities emerge. Undoubtedly many of these connections will bring difficulties and challenges + de-light!
Want to find out more about our Memoir Project? Great! 
 

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!

Conception: Each Story Has A Beginning and Then…

Experience tells me that writing memoir is first–to conceive.

…to become pregnant with…

play and create

Its taken many years of playing with art-making, writing, and storytelling to come to an understanding of my life view and play-based process. In the end, It’s really simple! Play opens the Door to Creativity.

conception

There are events in our lives that change everything, shape our life view and how we move in the world, influence what actions we take to create a better world. These experiences are seeds that grow in understanding as we develop.

My playful journey and creative process really took off when I understood that my experience of being a surrogate mother was not the real story, but, instead, a core event in my life that helped me turn a corner and understand my life’s purpose.

 pregnancy

As we grow and develop there are times when life offers us challenges and at other times we can feel at ease with the world. Some of the parts of the creative process may be effortless and others may feel like we are laboring and having to push really hard to force our creation into the world!

I’ve written and re-drafted a number of forms of my memoir’s manuscript over the last 10 years+ and have kept a running journal of my dreams, emotions, and insights as I’ve continued to progress as a writer. My journaling has been written by hand. In the last few years my journals have become visual and now include images, notes, and other treasures.

postpartum

After we give birth to any creation there is a fourth stage of labor, the postpartum.

The after-birth

My postpartum includes all that has happened since the birth of my surrogate son. Everything I have learned from art-making, performance, and writing about my experience influences my life’s work and life path.


The 21-Day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge is accepting registrations now.

Click Here for registration and details!

 

21-Day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge

[ctt template=”3″ link=”nae28″ via=”no” ]Lets Get Started! The 21-day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge begins February 6, 2017 #startyourmemoir[/ctt]

These are the stories of our lives. Writing a memoir can be at once cathartic and at the same time paralyzing. How do you put into words the most personal and deeply felt moments of your life? I was faced with this same question as I wrote my memoir about my 1987 decision to become a surrogate and everything that followed. Now I’m helping writers begin their own writing journey with a 21 day writing challenge that will gently encourage you and give you the tools to break through your creative blocks. 

Why 21 Days?

You won’t write your entire book in this time, but research has shown this is enough time to form a lasting habit. We’re going to start the process of playfully challenging our creativity and the intention is to set you on the path so you can build a meaningful writing practice. Write your memoir. Share your story. Discover what it means to dig deep into the well of your experience.

21-days of prompts, ideas & images to inspire, motivate, and encourage you.

A playful, creativity, depth-oriented community to support you. That is my intention.

How it works

Starting on February 6th, you’ll get one email a day with inspirational, play-based, creative prompts. There’s a community group on Facebook, and we’ll support and cheer each other on. It’s free to join and it’s entirely self-paced. You’ll work on your writing when and where the inspiration strikes.

About Me

I earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. I’m a creative play coach living in the coastal town of Port Angeles in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. 

It is totally FREE to participate in our 21-day Challenge, however, you do need to register. 

CLICK ‘SAVE ME A SPOT’ to receive the daily prompts and to be added to the private FB group.

Save Me A Spot

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