Tag Archives: Depth Psychology

Embrace the Darkness

I started an I-Ching series in early September exploring new beginnings, digging deep into our rootedness, and facing difficulties.

Hexagram 4 speaks about the necessity of embracing the darkness.

Go Deep Within the Self

Shadow [Play] is the Path of the Heart Warrior

~ CG Jung

I have found that to go into the depths of my soul I have to face or befriend the darkness.

What is in that inky darkness? The Shadow–what I don’t see about myself. Parts of myself that are hidden, my unacknowledged gifts (what I excel at), as well as, those areas I need to improve to live a well-lived life.

Our night and waking dreams are guides to your shadow play. In our dreams we can find our darkness.

One of the themes in my dreams is someone chasing me. T-Rex came to me in a series of dreams some years ago, looking in the bay window, scaring me in one dream after another until I integrated the instinctual parts of myself. I also have threatened others or even killed others in dramatic ways.

Do not be afraid of Self, of the sky where no moon shows.

I invite you to Shadow-Play. Be yourself and embrace the darkness. Our unacknowledged gifts are a great place to begin. Befriend what is in your Shadow. Ask your spouse, friends, loved ones, or trusted colleagues, Definitely bring this question to dream time or ask the I Ching.

You know me well, can you tell me, what are my gifts?


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
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…
I am the woman, I am today because of my experience as a surrogate mother
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


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!

It Feels Right: I Have a Confession to Make

Writing or creating anything really seems to take its time with me.


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?


We live in a playful world

Every one of us is born with the birthright



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!


who joins me learning the art of playing in the everyday


My Imaginal Being, my Dreams, Psyche–calls me to play and create

for myself and in service to others….

Play is the Thing!


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!

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]




My Playful Journey, My Playful Practice

Each time I play with my grandchildren I learn something new.

Bailey is 14-months old. Chase and Jenny are in first grade. Bailey wants to do everything that her big brother and sister do. I take out the crayons and some paper so she can hold the colors in her hands, make her mark on paper, place them in the box, and dump them out again.


Bailey and the twins are shaping their lives. As their Nana, and a witness to their development, I am privileged to be a part of their play and learning.

as I develop

I am aware of what is revealed as I remember, reflect, and take playful action in response to what I have learned along the way. I am grateful to all who have mentored and supported me along my path. I receive new gifts and playful connections every day.

Some of the questions I ask myself are:

What memories are evoked when I re-visit my playful journey?

Are their changes that I notice? What pathways feel similar? Unfamiliar?

What are the most delightful parts of my playful journey?

What are the most challenging?

What is most important to me now?

How can re-visiting the pathways of my playful journey inform my work with others?

a life view

I believe that ‘playing in the everyday’ is fundamental to a life well-lived. Playing in every nook and cranny of my life, the easy bits and challenging transitions, has offered me both joy in the everyday moments of my life and nurturance as I struggle to find my way.

I believe that I am called to a playful practice which includes helping others to embrace their playful natures and share their unique gifts with others.

from the beginning

Thank goodness! My dreams led me back to play and encouraged my playful nature’s callings to sing, dance, write, draw, paint, explore outdoors, try out new things especially when ‘I didn’t *don’t* have a clue’ how to do this, or that…

I found myself listening to my impulses and moving forward without knowing everything.  No instruction book needed. I’ve noticed that a lot of people’s life storyline includes needing to have all their ‘ducks in order’ before they move ahead with anything. If I’m drawn to something my approach may be to move slow…slow…but often it’s not.

I’m honoring my gut instinct. My gut is reliable I’ve found.


Sooooo, I’m playing with some new things like:


I’ve listened to fiddle tunes for years. Love the play of a swing instrument.

children’s songs

Not really a new way to play for me but I’m finding myself listening to ‘Casper Babypants’ as I dance in my studio, take a break, stretch in the morning.  Is this something a PhD in Clinical Psychology is supposed to do?


Well, you know, there are lots of ways to paint the world. and I want to try them all! I’m finding that Pinterest is a great place to discover some of these ‘ways to play’…I’m collecting these ideas on boards and trying them out. Soon I want to play with a group, interested?

What do you delight in?

What is most challenging for you?

Are you playing with some new things?


Share Your Experience in the Comments or Email me… [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]


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.