Tag Archives: Memoir

Sit Back and Enjoy the Trip: Synchronicity, The Soulfulness of Play, and Our Choices

I open up my journal to write, put pen to paper, and before I realize it an hour of my flight has slipped by. I put down my journal and pick up a copy of Southwest magazine.

Dear Southwest

I booked a flight from New York to Milwaukee the morning of because I learned our surrogate in Milwaukee was going into labor five weeks early. Fortunately, my husband was already there. When the flight attendants discovered what was happening, they could not have been more excited for us. The baby was born during the flight, but thankfully, the WiFi was amazing. Event though I couldn’t be there, I was getting realtime updates and pictures of the delivery room. Flight attendant Tabitha Taulbee Cotton also knitted a blanket during the flight–the baby’s first gift! I will never forget being on a Southwest flight while my first child was being born. I am grateful to Tabitha and her colleagues for making what could have been a nightmare into something smooth, easy, and memorable. We will always treasure the blanket and the story that comes with it. 

When I read the word surrogate I recognize a synchronicity that says to me, 

Yes, there is no doubt. You are meant to be a passenger on this plane. 

I also recognize that this year I’ve been pregnant once again, caring for my son and giving birth to an opportunity for he and I to find meaning within our story.

January 2017

The phone rings and it’s my surrogate son. He wants to talk by phone. We end up talking for a couple of hours. I share his birth story. He shares his concern for me. His desire to connect with his birth mother. Turns out he’s been diagnosed with melanoma and has had two surgeries to remove the cancer. His 30th birthday is approaching.

March 2017

William is in hospital after doctors discover his melanoma has spread to his lungs.

September 2017

New Birth, New Beginnings

Nine months has passed since our January conversation, William calls to tell me that he will be undergoing brain surgery. I ask him if he would like me to journey and meet for the first time.


Notes from my Journal:

I am on the Dungeness Shuttle. Left Port Angeles at 6am. The driver says, there are seven on the manifest

Listening to the recorded safety features the driver plays, I hear, Sit back and enjoy the trip.

Manifesting

The most difficult part of labor is transition.


Returning home on a Southwest flight I heard the familiar,

We realize you have many choices in air travel. Thank you for choosing Southwest Airlines.

As I listened I began to think of the many choices I make everyday to discover new ways to play in the everyday.

I write in my journal my belief that…

The Art of Playing in the Everyday is a daily practice that concerns itself with soulfulness in small details of living and with changes and major decisions.

By writing and sharing this part of my playful journey, I am attending to the Soul of Lived Experience.

My hope is that the beautiful dance that I am living and sharing through my writing and play-based work offers you the opportunity to dance in the waters of renewal and creativity.

[Read the prequel here] 

After years of writing my personal narrative, many deep, interwoven conversations, visual journaling, and performance…in less than a week…

I will say his name * meet him in-person * hold him in my arms.

Personal Story, Birth, and the Real Deal We Call Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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
bird
raven 
butterfly
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…
AND…
I am the woman, I am today because of my experience as a surrogate mother
AND
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! 
 

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: 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?

photo

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

FullSizeRender

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.

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.

Quebec

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