Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

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Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

I had the fortune to wander through a forest-nestled playground with a group of young children a few weeks ago. It was the beginning of Autumn here in Vancouver. The leaves were turning golden yellow and burnt orange, falling large and small from soaring maples. The idea was to take the kids to one of the most imaginative outdoor playgrounds in the city. Full of colorful slides, swings, bongo drums, climbing apparatuses, bouncy and spinny things, the playground did not fail to delight their curious eyes, exploring hands and climbing feet. After a while I suggested we change things up. There was another playground about a 10-minute (or 30-minute for little legs) walk away. I thought it would be nice to stroll along the winding […]

Unleashing Your Creativity ~ 16 Practices and Mindsets for the Reluctant Artist

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Unleashing Your Creativity ~ 16 Practices and Mindsets for the Reluctant Artist

Creativity is something we tend to resist in ourselves. We grow up believing “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, or “I am not an artist”. And with the forces of industrial civilization demanding that we do things just so, followed by endless assessing and reporting on how well we do things just so, we have all succumbed to what I call The Disease of Being Right. Wrong must be avoided at all costs. Such is the short leash on our creativity. In his book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie discusses how he used to go into elementary schools to teach students how to make sculptures from sheets of steel. When he began each class, he always started with the same question: […]

The Adventure We Long For Lies in our Childlike Heart and in Feeling the Unexpected

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The Adventure We Long For Lies in our Childlike Heart and in Feeling the Unexpected

“Tiny humans see magic and possibility where big humans only see mess and responsibility. May we see the magic again through their eyes and rediscover all the possibilities life has to offer.” ~ L. R. Knost A child is excited to wake up in the morning. Open to surprise, she wanders through her home and yard drawn to the next thing capturing her attention. Maybe it’s the dog, or her new magnetic toy, or the bright golden dandelion blooming through the sea of green grass. Each moment is filled with wonder for this young one, a bubbling awe leading her from one fascination to the next. Each moment is an unfolding adventure. As people depart the wonders of childhood for the predictabilities of life, however, […]

Letting the Body Lead ~ Trusting the Movements of our Inner Wisdom

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Letting the Body Lead ~ Trusting the Movements of our Inner Wisdom

When it comes to designing my playshops, I can be a real procrastinator; or so it would seem to my mind. Leading up to the event, my mind will say many times, “You need to get going! You won’t have enough time to do it all!” But despite its admonitions, I still don’t move. I stay on the couch, or seated on a log in the forest, or doing anything but designing my events. And then one day, I just suddenly start doing it. I know in my heart that it is time. My heart moves me, my body, without much thought. And as always, I have more than enough time (and the participants love the playshop!). It would seem our mind knows what is […]

Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

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Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

The more you give people things to play with, the more they can give back to you, and the world! When you practice the Spirit of Yes And, you discover how easy it is to make people smile in the simplest ways. Their smile opens them up to their heart, and more fully allows them to give back. I was standing at a grocery checkout line waiting to purchase a whole pie for a potluck, when an elderly lady in front of me turned around and said, “That looks like a yummy pie!” I was happy! She was inviting me to play! “Yes it is,” I replied. “I plan to eat it all myself!” Grin! I passed the ball back to her. And then she smiled and laughed. I […]

How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

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How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt A three-year-old girl was attempting to play with her older brothers who were messing around with swords. The mother didn’t know why she was bothering her brothers’ boyish fun, and was tempted to redirect her to something more suitable. In that moment, however, she caught herself. She went on to say, “Instead of reasoning, I met her in her world.” The daughter had a toy snake in her hand, and the mother moved next to her and suggested that maybe she could use it as a sword. She played along with her daughter’s imaginative impulses, and validated her in the process. Mom parked her […]

Play ~ The Artful Dance of Living: Surrendering to Joy and Our Magical Universe

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Play ~ The Artful Dance of Living: Surrendering to Joy and Our Magical Universe

“Children dance before they know there is anything that isn’t music.” ~ William Stafford The essence of play is an experience rooted in the present moment without attachment to specific outcomes. It is this moment that matters, and the experience of joy, wonder and imagination. That is why play is such a gift. Over and over again it brings us to the here and now, away from our discursive and troubled minds. Just a few moments of joyful interaction with another, or swinging on a swing set, or twirling around in our living room, can shift our energy, change our focus, and redirect our day down a road we would not have traveled otherwise. We temporarily let go of our plans, our agendas, our thoughts, […]

3 Places to Hide

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3 Places to Hide

One of my favourite ways to play is to hide on others. Those closest to me know I like to disappear, and then suddenly jump out from behind a tree or from under a stairwell, and of course, joyously scare them! How fun!! Well, just in case you need a few more ideas, here are three places to hide that I particularly like. 1. In the Elevator                       My friend Ross spontaneously decided to play Hide and Seek with his boys in the elevator. To his delight, they played along, scurrying around, trying to find a hiding spot! One of my participants who I shared this story with decided to try this with her son. […]

6 Ways to Live a Playful Life ~ How Big is Your Playground?

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6 Ways to Live a Playful Life ~ How Big is Your Playground?

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” ~ Dr. Seuss. Play is training for unconventional and creative living. One could say play is a radical act – for adults! When we allow ourselves to live as authentically playful beings, we stand out from the crowd, from the ways we, and others, are expected to be. As we grow up, we lose our spontaneity and freedom. Look at how children behave. They twirl around street posts and skip over lines while the rest of us walk straight down the sidewalk. They dance carefree to a busker’s music while the rest of us stand and watch. They engage strangers like friends while we offer only a generic courtesy. They speak up fully and emotionally, while we keep our […]

Every Moment is a Playful Moment

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Every Moment is a Playful Moment

It’s less about finding time to play, and more about allowing yourself to be playful in this very moment. This beautiful being’s name is Sophia. Like many dogs she loves to carry long sticks, and right next to you, excitedly and repeatedly bumping her prized possession into you! While four of us walked with her through forest trails on the Sunshine Coast I had a playful idea! What if we had to avoid her bumping us with her stick, kind of like avoiding being it in tag? Suddenly, the four of us were like screaming small children, delightfully jumping around, and of course, Sophia got excited, coming closer to us, making us leap and laugh even more. A friendly reminder that every moment is a playful moment! 🙂 Breaking […]