Category Archives: Play-Based Approach

I’m Crossing the Finish Line: Work as Play

After writing for 5 minutes about ‘crossing the finish line’ while visualizing and drawing that finish line in my visual journal, I realized that I had bumped up my ‘Can Do’ and deflated my ‘Critic’.

This is what I wrote: When I see myself crossing the finish line, I am smiling, ecstatic, filled up, and joyful. Treats and celebration await! When I cross the finish line I embrace the moment, playing in the everyday of my life. All the work that has led me here feels so worth it in this moment. I can do anything! Life is abundant. I’m clear, focused and yet–soft, gentle, receiving. Whoo! There is more to come but for now–I am enough!

After I completed my writing, I remembered the ‘Start Your Memoir’ challenge that I offered in February 2017. I am really good at new starts and now I am good at ‘crossing the finish line’. How about you? Listen to my podcast and learn more about the ‘Art of Playing in the Everyday’ and how work can be play (which leads us through the portal to creativity and innovation in our work). Imagine that!

Listen to: I’m Crossing the Finish Line: Work as Play

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.

Playing with New Things and Perfection: We Are All a Little Weird

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love. ~ Dr. Seuss

Stepping into new experiences in our lives can feel challenging. If, on top of those feelings of inadequacy and lack of confidence, we add a desire for perfection we can too often give up on the practice we have just begun.

I have been trying out some new online video tools. I am comfortable with audio or being filmed during a performance but somehow looking at myself on the phone or computer screen as I record a #scope or LIVE event feels uncomfortable and frankly doesn’t feel playful.

Listen to: The Art of Playing in the Everyday and New Experience (Part 4) 

(Oh! Perfect!)

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.

 

New Series: The Art of Playing in the Everyday and New Pathways (Part 2)

Last week I spent a week at my daughter’s home caring for my grandchildren and grand-dogs while she was away on a business trip. Yesterday it was time to go home. Heather, Bailey, and I found ourselves in a long ferry line. We would have been waiting for 3 hours or more to be loaded on the ferry so we decided to get out of line and take a different route home. On our way–we discovered new places to play–state parks, an underwater museum, and new places to stop for treats and re-fueling.

We stopped to walk and listen to the birds, watch the Dungeness River flow. We enjoyed sharing stories and playing with Bailey on the bridge. We discovered new playful spaces along our route and deepened our mother-daughter, nana-granddaughter relationships.

 

Do you take the same path to events or the store nearby home? When you leave for the office, studio, or place of work on Monday–do you take the same route to work? If you work at home, what could you change even slightly to create greater ease and relaxation in your creative space?

There are so many benefits from playing in the everyday. While traveling to and fro in your day consider creating new pathways, heighten your decision-making skills, increase your options, discover new adventures, bring more joy, deepen your relationships, and break free of routine.


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

Give me a call/text at 206/200-4542, leave a comment following this post/podcast, post a comment on the Play=Peace Facebook page, or write me at maryalice@playequalspeace.com

The Question: How do I Bring more Joy into my Life?

 I don’t know how to play

Everyday I hear from folks who report that they don’t know how to play. I also hear from people who tell me that I inspire them to play more, to make play a priority in their lives.

The Question: How can I bring more joy into my life?

The Reality: I am feeling depressed, stressed, unmotivated [fill-in the blank].

The Solution: Sign-up now for our ‘Play Notes’ bi-weekly newsletter and receive inspirational play quotes and mentoring haikus + play-based, depth-oriented blog posts + additional resources and updates

AND

When you sign-up you will receive a complimentary The Art of Playing in the Everyday‘ e-Book to help you re-claim play and joy in your life.

Sign-up for ‘Play Notes’ for inspiration today and receive your free e-book [Just click on sign-up now!]

Self-Doubt & Play

There was a couple of days last week when I was feeling it. Doubt came for a visit.

I danced with Doubt for a while before I realized that the rhythm was all off between the two of us and I needed to look for another partner. Play showed up at that point and I haven’t looked back.

A couple of my friends shared with me that Doubt is often a sign that it’s time to go in another direction. Oh, that makes sense, I thought. I felt lifted and was able to pull myself out of the hole I was in.

I realized that my direction is not linear but has many different spirals and loops. I don’t have to run to the end of the road. I can release my expectations and ride along just enjoying the view for a while before planting my feet again firmly on the ground. There is no need for re-solution as I travel.

I am attempting to write in draft form without editing as I go along. It is harder than I thought to let go and just get it out. It is also a challenge to not look at other resources or do re-search as I write.

Attempting. Good practice.

Since giving Doubt the boot!

  • I am focusing on the ways I attend to and care for each moment. Each time I give my all to any one life event or relationship it feels so much more satisfying than when I am trying to do it all, flitting from this to that.
  • I am noticing when my neck stiffens, my breath is shallow. When I hold my breath and am not opening up to what is…
  • I am giving myself permission to play, explore, be curious, go on a grand adventure, take myself out on a play date. There is no perfect way to do anything. All I can do is give it a go and make the best of it. Practicing and deepening my resolve to fully savor each moment, task, conversation, mundane or meaningful pursuit seems to be what is up for me.  On my way to any new directions.

I may be leaving behind something I have held close for a long time. It is going to take some amount of care and wisdom to pull this off.

I am really not sure. But then, who is?

I can give myself all the permission in the world to play, fiddle, rip into, take a huge bit of life, go for it! No one can take that away from me. It’s mine.

Commitment is not a one time only deal. I am re-committing again and again to noticing what no longer serves and, then, making my way to where my heart leads me.

 

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!

 

Play=Peace: What’s the One Big Thing YOU NEED?

Many of you are enthusiastic followers of Play=Peace (Thank you!) or you may just happen to open this post and discover us. (Welcome!)

For years I have been speaking, writing, performing, leading events and retreats, and collaborating with a number of inspirational creatives. When I founded Play=Peace I was a play-based, depth-oriented, licensed clinical social worker. I released that part of my identity a little over a year ago and now offer individual and play-based services as a mentor (an experienced and trusted advisor). I’m devoting more and more of my time to writing and art-making. I love, love, love working with individual clients on Skype, via phone, or in-person. I continue to co-create with some amazing professionals. Daily I create an intention to play in the everyday and act for the greater good.

I have a question for you all! I really, really, really would appreciate it if you would take the time to share your answer here in the comments, by email or phone. The reason I do what I do is YOU! I WANT you to en-JOY life to the fullest. Your feedback is a very IMPORTANT part (yes crucial part) of my being able to help you as you move ahead and become who you are on your unique journey.

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My hope in writing this post is that after receipt of your answers to this one question I will be able to offer you what you need. Simple as that. 

What’s the one big thing we are missing that you need?

Are you most interested in:

  • Setting Healthy Boundaries
  • Improving your Self-Esteem
  • Decision-Making
  • Playful Parenting
  • Memoir Writing & Art-Making
  • Decreasing Stress
  • Composing a Creative Life
  • Play-Based Approach to Depth Psychology
  • Setting Goals & Actions to Meet those Goals
  • Forgiveness & the Freedom to Become
  • Play-based Entrepreneurs
  • Playful Writing
  • [fill in the blank with your need so I can serve you better!]

There is no hidden agenda here. I really want to know what you need so I can deliver!

You can comment to this post, send a note, or call me directly at 206/200-4542.

Your feedback is a very IMPORTANT part (yes crucial part) of my being able to help you as you move ahead and become who you are on your unique journey.

Thank you so much for your support and help. Creating what you need through a play-based, depth-oriented approach is my goal! My guarantee is that I will take all of my experience, learned skills, and creativity to support you as you imagine, play, and create a life of joy and purpose.

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Play: A Mutual Exchange of Gifts

“The nature of living and loving is the act of reciprocity. As women, we are told that to be the guest is to receive. We are told that to be the host is to give. But what if it is the reverse? What if it is the guest who gives to the host and it is the host who receives from the guest each time she sets her table to welcome and feed those she loves?

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To be the guest and the host simultaneously is to imagine a mutual exchange of gifts predicated on respect and joy. If we could adopt this truth, perhaps we as women would be less likely to become martyrs.” ~Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

I LOVE Terry Tempest Williams! One of my favorite books that I go back time-and-time again to is When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

I took an afternoon walk and then sat down to write a post about the benefits of volunteering this summer. After writing for a bit I did a Google search to look for quotes on volunteering and service. As I read through the list of quotes I began to squirm. Something didn’t feel right.

Yet another lesson…

It wasn’t until I found Terry’s quote that I started to understand. Once again I couldn’t see what was so obvious but in my Shadow (hidden away). What I am being pushed to explore are the many ways I can volunteer–or freely offer to share my gifts.

  • giving and receiving are key words in my ongoing story.
  • important puzzle pieces in my memoir project

Volunteering–freely offering to share your gifts

  • What is too much giving?
  • Who am I becoming as I help to instill a love of nature, music, and the arts in others?
  • What is my ethic as a volunteer?
  • What is most important?

My ethic is play

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Playing with a mutual ex (change) of gifts

This one is challenging.

Play is joy. Playing with our painful experiences brings joy. Even though I’ve written about giving and receiving, setting healthy boundaries, and creating balance in life for years…

This one is challenging.

Shadow play is the only way for me (or any of us) to live authentically, free to share our gifts, our stories.

  • In my 20s I borrow money and give gifts to my friends in exchange for recognition.
  • In my 30s I volunteer to give away a baby and following that give-away begin to put the puzzle pieces together and visualize a healthier picture of myself as a giver and receiver.
  • In my 40s I re-marry and am diagnosed with breast cancer. These transitions in my life provide me with opportunities to practice receiving from others with a full heart. Trials and errors continue with what and how I give to others but things are improving.
  • In my 50s both of my parents die. With their deaths comes an understanding of my own mortality and a desire to create positive change.

Now I’m in my 60s…

This one is challenging.

I am playing. Sharing my ongoing story.

Helping others to create a playful foundation.

Focusing on the Important Bits: Orange is the Best Color

During a graduation celebration at my daughter’s home last weekend I heard my grandson, Chase, call to me in the backyard.

Nana!

I bent down to give Chase a hug. After we embraced, he said excitedly,

Nana, I saw a sunset! IMG_3731

How wonderful Chase. What colors did you see?

After pausing for a minute, Chase said,

Orange is the best.

and then, he ran off to play with the other kids…


When Chase told me about the Beauty he witnessed I remembered:

Dreams that my Mom shared with me in preparation for death. Dreams of being levitated and carried gently on a magic carpet by angels. Dreams of travel. Dreams of being visited by deceased family members and friends.


The sun sets each evening in the west preparing us for the final descent of our lives.

Each moment in our lives has its Beauty and can be explored with curiosity and wonder. The people in my life, both youth and elders, both in my inner circle and those that I meet along the way, offer me sparks of Hope through their trust and openness.

Courage comes from the Heart.

The ability to step up and take a risk takes Courage.

We moved to the North Olympic Peninsula a little less than 2 years ago. I fell in love with the Olympics when our family first visited the Hoh Rainforest, Kalaloch Beach, and Hurricane Ridge. This year I began working as a volunteer with the Olympic National Park, North Olympic Land Trust, and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. I’m also volunteering with the Juan de Fuca Arts Foundation and spent a wild 4-days dancing, listening to some great music, and meeting people from all over the Northwest at the JFFA Music Festival over Memorial Day Weekend.

As I meet community members in town, hiking, at an arts event, in drumming and healing circles, or while out taking my daily walks we share our stories. At this point I’m being offered so many stories I often can’t remember who told me what. My Swing! nature loves people and the sharing of stories. Ideas are flowing and I’m envisioning what’s next for my play-based work locally and beyond.

I’m playing with Shape and my Organizer. Many of you who read my blogs, have attended archival memoir project (AMP) performances, or participated in Play=Peace workshops or retreats know that I’ve been working and struggling in many ways towards the goal of publishing my first memoir. Well, its been a playful journey!

Years ago an editor at the Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference told me that a memoir is not about the experience but about what follows that experience. I took that to heart and have focused on who I am becoming as I have been writing, re-writing the drafts of my story and its postpartum (or what I’ve learned from my experience and want to share with my readers).

The trouble is that my lived experience and what followed is ongoing, playful, and creative and I haven’t wanted to end the story and send my baby off into the world! I gave one baby away as a surrogate mother and last year gave my son away at his wedding. I’ve just been having a hard time letting go…

Anyone else have trouble letting go?

I’d love to hear about it! I need the en-couragement to let go of this baby so I can FLY!

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On Play + What Comes Naturally + Hangin On

The grey sky and rain encourage me to walk up the stairs to my studio.Image 5

Playful writing this afternoon leads me to synchronicity, awareness, choice.

flow…..

Drawn by the setting sun, I walked out onto the deck to get a better look. I began to sing in an effortless way. I remember you.

Dancing with abandon on the dance floor I embrace what pulses. I remember you.

my body re-members….

Joyful moments follow chaos and life is lyrical when I play.

On Play

Not everything comes naturally for sure. I don’t always feel in the flow of life.

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Sometimes I just hang on and wait for the impulse to play…

Some things are difficult

or not so pleasant

I wish I didn’t have to go there

There are times in my life

…when i feel i can’t do it

….when i procrastinate

…when i feel afraid

…when I feel overwhelmed

I am the dancer of my life

and play helps set me free!

Repeat after me…

I am the dancer of my life

and play helps set me free!

Do you re-member moments when you felt in the flow of life?

How about the difficult moments?

What are some playful ways to move into the flow of your life even (and importantly!) when you find yourself challenged, struggling, or in a new season of your life?

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