Category Archives: Play & Create

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.

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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!

 

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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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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Serial Play + Re-Solution + What is Possible Through Play

series: a succession of things of a similar kind or related nature coming one after another

completion or

re-solution

When I write or say the word completion it doesn’t feel good in my body. My memoir’s manuscript is a part of my ongoing archival memoir project. As I develop and live the postpartum of my experience there is so much more that is part of the story….

I’ve intentionally been choosing ways to create that contribute to the body of my life’s work. I’ve been choosing my play spaces and what belongs there by listening to my impulses and dreams and playing with what I hear call my name.

playing with what I hear call my name

I have been developing a

series of play quotes. As I read them I’m aware that the series of quotes and prompts is reflective of my experience and what I’ve learned and want to share through my play-based mentoring.

Every Human Being is Under-Development

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We are all becoming. We play and continue to learn over a lifetime.

Take More Risks

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I’m picking up the fiddle, learning about songwriting, and painting. As I play a new musical instrument, practice, and paint…

I’m creating colorful styles in every avenue of my life.

Root Your Play

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Play plants me firmly to the Earth that sustains me and all living beings.

Do you find yourself playing with a series of similar things?

I’d love to hear about it!

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Playful Enthusiasm

Play is the Door to Creativity. ~Mary Alice

I am a Potter

Michael shares his desire to play with clay with a ceramic artist at a local gallery.

He wants to hold clay in this hand and smoosh it around.

He tells Cindy about how we both took an introductory pottery course in Morro Bay when we lived on California’s central coast. He shares the story of how he created his first hand built piece. How he dreams of creating large pottery pieces.

He asks her if she would like to see his piece, its small and chipped in some places.

photo

 

I Remember what I Love

Shiny objects have been grabbing my attention. I’ve been playing with visual images and listening for sparks of inspiration as I build new ways to share news about what I am creating and want to share with others through my play-based, depth-oriented work.

Yet…

I had planned to write…

paint and create new songs…

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What is really important to me? What will bring me the greatest joy?

What I love…

I trust that what I have placed on the table in my play studio at any moment is what I need (to grow & learn), not necessarily what I want…

When I choose something to try out, something that I am not at ease with, the momentum of that shift leads me to swing back and forth from

‘lets try this one out’ to (‘oh, I know this will feel good’)…

I feel lit up and excited!

My playful Spirit jumps up and down and yells, ‘me, me! see me over here! this is great stuff!’

Get on, Get Off, Get on With It!

I can hear the words of Phil Porter, co-founder of InterPlay….get on, get off, get on with it! 

I am performing my life. I’m stepping off stage after taking my bows and I’m ready for the next play.

What will you see and hear if you come to see this new play?

For sure there will be some scribbling of words, some singing of songs, some colors dabbed on blank canvas.

You’ll hear authentic, natural voices  and the applause of wild enthusiasm that comes from an audience who are as much a part of the play as those sharing their stories on stage.

Ready to get on with it? I’d love to hear all about it!

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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

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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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