Category Archives: Playing in the Everyday

Labyrinths, Vestibules, Channels: A Playful Approach to Reach Equilibrium

Inner Ear

In my dream my right ear is covered with some matter. I slowly un-peel what is blocking my inner ear and see small bare bones that are plainly visible. Some of the bones seem to be split off. The skin looks pink and healthy and the bones are small. Need_to_Hear

The first association I have to my dream is ‘listen to your inner ear’. The cochlea resembles a wound up snail shell–something I am reminded of through my dream play and a comment left by Donna May on the Play=Peace page on Facebook. Yikes! Yes, of course, a transformative spiral…one that comes around again and again encouraging me to increase my ability to listen and deeply hear what is being communicated.

When I took another playful step to honor my dream and began to research the inner ear–it only took one look-see and I began to laugh at my folly. Of course!

The inner ear is a maze of tubes and passages, referred to as the labyrinth. In the labyrinth can be found the vestibular and the cochlea.

I’m being guided to the Labyrinth of my dream and entering through a Vestibule–a chamber or channel communicating with or opening into another. [a room so familiar to me as a child attending Catholic Church].

To gain Equilibrium–Keep my Balance

The vestibular is the organ of equilibrium. The vestibular’s function is to register the body’s movements, thus ensuring that we can keep our balance.

The vestibular consists of three ring-shaped passages, oriented in three different planes. All three passages are filled with fluid that moves in accordance with the body’s movements. In addition to the fluid, these passages also contain thousands of hair fibres which react to the movement of the fluid sending little impulses to the brain. The brain then decodes these impulses which are used to help the body keep its balance.

WoW! I love the psyche-soma dynamics in all of this! Swing! Hang! Thrust! Shape!

I just wrote in my journal this morning that I am DONE, DONE, DONE with LISTS.

When I feel the IMPULSE to move ahead and I ACT! Suites me best…

LISTS really make me anxious, obsessive, and crazier than usual! [I always have multiple projects going on at any one time so LISTS can put me on OVER-DRIVE!

My Mantra

What moves me….is what I will hear….DEEPLY…and act on


Playful Action!







Chestnut Trees & Recalling One of Life’s Turning Points

On my walk today I pass under a golden-colored chestnut tree. The chestnut fruit has a pointed end with a small tuft at its tip, and at the other end, a pale brown attachment scar. I remember my scars.

I pick up some of the chestnuts that are now scattered under the tree’s canopy and revel in their shiny rich brown coloring. I put a few in my pocket and rub them like worry beads as I walk. I remember that as a girl I loved walking under the chestnut trees that lined the Ballard streets. When the fruit dropped to the ground I would stuff my pockets full just as I have today.Chestnut

Chestnuts are plentiful this autumn as are the archival images and treasures that I keep close to me.

I’m preparing for my Connecticut in-residency performance and workshops. While walking I’m musing over some of the thoughts that I shared during my interview today on ‘Creativity in Play’.

My play-based work and my practice of ‘play in the everyday’ informs how I move in the world.

I stop and ask myself questions like, how can I play with what wants to be included? Where do I begin? How can I listen more deeply? What playful action is called for?

In a September dream, Joy is sitting right next to me. Joy is beside me and I’m surprised.

Even now, Its time to invite Joy in! Play is always spiraling around me and calls me to look again at who is sitting right there. In easy reach.

As I recall one of my life’s turning points I am writing handwritten letters to my surrogate son, going through physical and digital boxes of images from my life story, clearing, playfully organizing in our new home, dreaming, and sharing my dreams and stories with others.


I am fiercely committed to my playful journey. At times I feel impatient. My life is moving in a spiral, cycles that move from fulfilling to disappointing, easy to frustrating. My motto for today is–

Things have a way of falling into place.

selchie dance

Be There, Allow it to Happen, Take Part in the Play

The image ‘911’ often comes up in my dreams as an image. In waking life (my waking dreamtime) I find myself looking at my phone and find that its 9:11 or I see that the clock in my bedroom is set at 9:11.

This dream image and timing reminds me of my surrogate son’s birth. He was born at 9:11 p.m. The time shouts emergency! ~Mary Alice

maple-leafToday I am taking Lila, our 4-month-old basset hound, on her first walk in the neighborhood. Her nose is like a vacuum cleaner picking up scents low to the ground. Smells that I am unable to make out but she so clearly revels in. 

Grandmother Spider’s webs and then I suddenly remember Camille Claudel’s story. Clotho at the Museo de Orsay.

Big leaf maple leaves that shade us during our Western Washington summers and go out in a blaze of glory in Autumn.

That I was cold walking, damp really. The sun is not going to make an appearance this afternoon as I had hoped.

I look for the defenseless, lop-eared bunny who I had seen outside hiding under a bush the other day. I worry for the bunny’s safety.

In my dream I’m at the home of depth psychology overlooking water. The car pulls up and I see the house. I am driving alone. There has been an effort to contact the home’s owner but I have not received an answer.

The home is quite expensive and has two sections. The property is landscaped with green grass and plants that are healthy and growing. I am giving the tour, a 360° view by camera. I see some outbuildings where I can stay to dive into research and a memorial with a cross and inscriptions reminding me of Jung’s tower in Bollingen.

There are animal sculptures that are sculpted into the stairs and the house itself. There are signs that say ‘Animals’ (this way), like the signs I have seen in villages that dot England’s countryside. There is a sculpture of Lion and Hippo.Bollingen

Dream Journal Poetics (a collection of selected images from my 2015 dream journal)

911 so often comes up in my dreams as an image and in my waking dreams I find myself looking at my phone or the clock in my bedroom at 9:11. This image and timing reminds me of my surrogate son’s birth. He was born at 9:11 p.m. Also the time shouts emergency!

Likely why he’s popping up now

I’m alone standing

Notes on ‘Late-Life Transformation’

I don’t like the label ‘Senior’ Citizen. I bristle every time I hear it or read it in print. ‘Magical One’ is a better fit, ‘Crazy, Weird’, ‘Transformative Citizen’. I’m not an ‘Elder’ yet but that is a label I can embrace much better than ‘Senior’. ‘Honorable One’ is another respectful Title.

Clear as a bell, a young woman’s voice calls out to me 

Often a disembodied voice calls out or makes a declaration in my night dreams, something like ‘you have breast cancer’ [that next week a medical diagnosis followed that voice’s declaration in waking dream]

Lay something down and go back and have another look

Say what matters without edits

Show up to create no matter what

It’s the long hair that’s out-of-place

Return to sub-way

On my daily nature walk or creating from my archival dreams I want to

Be There, Allow it to Happen. Take Part in the Play.