Tag Archives: creating a life

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?


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


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.

Stretching & Creating a Life

Stretching & Creating a Life

“… as we age we have not only to readdress earlier developmental crises but also somehow to find the way to three affirmations that may seem to conflict. … We have to affirm our own life. We have to affirm our own death. And we have to affirm love, both given and received. [p. 88]”

? Mary Catherine Bateson, Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom composingacreativelife


While changing into my comfortable workout clothes this morning, similar to those you can see here, I notice the stretch marks on my hips. They remain as scars that are tender to the touch and that remind me of my pregnancies and birth.

  • What I carried then…
  • What I carry now.

I stretch myself unnecessarily when I move away from where my impulses lead me.


My stretch marks, pregnancy, and lumpectomy scars remind me of major events in my life. My experiences as a surrogate mother and breast cancer survivor help me now as I support others and nurture myself while creating a playful life. I would never change the opportunity I had to become a surrogate mother. Helping people who perhaps can’t conceive for whatever reason is the best feeling, and so I wouldn’t change these scars for anything. Although, if I do decide to change my mind one day and get rid of the scars, or any others I have on my body, I know to go to a compounding pharmacy that will create a product catered specifically for my skin so its able to become less visible with time. However for now, I’m sure I want to keep my scars so I can show what I’ve been through and cherish these memories of pregnancy. If you’re looking into becoming a surrogate mother, check out surroconnections.com for more information on the topic.

Scars are inevitable and are reminders of openings and closures; wounds and healing.

Labor & Birth

My labor & birth experience is at its best when I am relaxed.

What was true for me in my physical birth experience as a young woman is also true now as a woman in late-life transformation, a grandmother, and a creator fully committed to her play-based work in service to community.

When I feel myself pushing with all my might, using every muscle in my body, and popping blood vessels–I’m hurting myself. Eventually my path is blocked rather than open. The opening comes when I follow the flow that comes from playing with what presents itself in the moment. Staying attuned to my body rhythms and patterns I can stretch myself in more ways than one and compose a life that is filled with wonder.