If I Have to be “Out of Control” it May as well be Fun!

Why do I create? When I ask myself this question the answer that keeps popping up through all the other flotsam and jetsam of my brain is “because I can’t help myself.” “There has got to be more to it than that,” I think. Seems so “out of control,” so “someone else made me do it,” so “I must be inhabited.” Of course not being able to help myself doing something so compelling as creating is not such a bad habit. It could be worse. I could not be able to help myself from doing any number of things that would be bad for my health, or bad for my morale, or bad for my spirit. And in the spirit of transparency there are a few other things that do “seem” to have control over me. But that is for another blog.

So if I have to be “out of control,” at least it is over something that gives me joy and wonder and well, so many more things. Admitting that I can’t help myself was the first step in creating this list.

Why DO I create?

I can’t help myself
it is fun
it is exciting
it gives me pleasure
it gives me satisfaction
it gives me a sense of being active in my own life
because I can
it gives me insight
it gives me new ideas
it keeps my brain and body active
it keeps me engaged with the world
it aids in time of change
it keeps me positive
it energizes me
it helps me to see the world in new and different ways
it companions me
it teaches me about myself
it teaches me about others
it keeps me in the present
I can give it away
it enhances communication
it gives me a sense of power in my life
it heals
it inspires me to create more

And what is all this stuff that I can’t stop creating. Dances, stories, songs, miniature books with my littlest girlfriend Taylor( 5), collages, visual art, environments for therapists and spiritual leaders and other healers to create in, http://www.soulplay.org  a beautiful home… the list goes on.

Having a container to create in seems to be the ticket. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, can find structure and freedom together again at last and create (play) with just about anything in the easy to do forms and principles of InterPlay http://www.interplay.org InterPlay provides me with a fun and innovative approach to being a creative force in my own life and it helps me hold lightly the reality that I just can’t help myself when it comes to creating!


“Kiss The Joy As It Flies: The Art Of Incrementality”

A few years ago an InterPlay friend of mine gave me a refrigerator magnet that says “What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?” I laughed out loud when I read it and remember thinking playfully that that notion is as fine a philosophy to ponder in this life time as any other! Especially knowing the power of incrementality to create ease and grace in our lives.

You put your right hand in
You put your right hand out
You put your right had in
And you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn your self around
That’s what it’s all about!

You put your left hand in
You put your left hand out
You put your left had in
And you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn your self around
That’s what it’s all about!

How easy is that?!

It takes awhile with the Hokey Pokey, good incremental dance that it is, to at last get your whole body in and out and in and shaken all about, but eventually it does happen. And by then every part of you is ready to be shaken with every other part. Wheeeeeee!

When I was 6 months pregnant with my son Logan I attended a dance party with some wonderfully wild friends of mine and we did the Hokey Pokey. I remember so clearly, after putting my hands and feet and legs and arms in, putting my slowly expanding belly in… and out… and in… and shaking it all about! This child that was growing just south of my heart was the embodied wisdom of incrementality at its finest. And I imagined its little hands and feet dancing away with me in that moment, hoping that the dance in me was  being passed on in those incremental Hokey Pokey steps.

Incrementality, the art of putting “one foot in front of the other,” lends itself so fully to bringing our bodyspirits into each moment. It is not only a way to build something piece by piece, to create something idea by idea, to work toward something step by step, it also gives us  the capacity to be here! and then be here! and then be here! While we are working, building, creating! It teaches us the art of  dancing with each moment as it comes up, and how to kiss the joy as it flies!

Kiss the joy as it flies! The first time I heard this I laughed out loud in knowing delight. It is such a great cross between the Buddhist understanding of impermanence and the InterPlay understanding of grace. Everything changes and ease gives us the capacity to dance in each moment, the possibility of being with the change, being in the change, even being the change.

In five weeks I drive my son to college. After 18 years of incremental parenting he is ready to launch, and I am once again reminded, in the most startling of ways, just how the joy flies.

You put your whole body in
You put your whole body out
You put your whole body in
And you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn yourself around
Kiss the joy as it flies
That’s what it’s all about!

The Mystery of No Frills to Reveal the Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human!

When ever I do the InterPlay form Walking, Stopping and Running with No Frills, which is as often as I can in InterPlay (interplay.org) community, I find myself wishing that everyday could be walk, stop, run with no frills. This might come as a surprise to people who know me well, because I am a frills kinda gal. I believe it is all in the details, and I can often be observed studying details of art and architecture, flora and fauna, food and even everyday life functions. I am fascinated with the way details make up the whole and how, when all the details are in place, even someone who is not necessarily taken with them or even notices them can feel the influence.  And I take great care in my home life, in my art work and in my teaching to make sure the details are where I think they belong, as I have come to know this is one of the things that creates ease, beauty and peace.

So how could it be that this no frills version of walk, stop and run has its way with me.

The InterPlay Walking, Stopping and Running form by its nature is very playful. You walk when you want to, run when you want to, stop when you want to. You can skip and jump, leap and spin, swing, make shapes and anything else a body can do. You can also play with others, or simply be in stillness and watch others play. It is a delightful and fun way to build, and feel connected to, community!

In the No Frills version all of the messing around with jumping, spinning, swinging and anything else that isn’t walking, stopping and running is dropped. The agreement is to simply walk, run or be still. At first sight it seems very limiting. Not many choices, one might think. No real opportunity to express oneself, be creative, play with others.  Its real gift can be easily missed. However if you are willing to really give yourself to its simple mystery, you will find that Walking, Running and Stopping with No Frills is sneaky deep!

I have come to discover
the vast detail
in the simplicity of No Frills.
Now walking and noticing my own stride.
Now walking side by side with another and noticing “our” stride.
The third thing.
Now I run ahead, noticing the growing distance between us,
still feeling comforting connection.
Now feeling another join me in running.
I love when I am joined.
Now walking and feeling another run by,
the breath from their running caressing me.
Now noticing my body in stillness as others walk past,
or run past
or simply stand next to me. With me.
We are one bodyspirit playing.
Now noticing when I choose to follow, how satisfying it feels.
Now noticing when I choose to simply witness.
It feels equally satisfying.
Now noticing how easily entertained I am by any of the choices I make.
And how much I delight in getting to know my playmates by
simply walking, running and being still with them.
By simply being in easy relationship with them.
By simply being.
I laugh out loud, wondering if my laughter is a frill!

This is the gift of No Frills… a deep knowing that I am not separate from this world and my fellow playmates… I am very much connected, inter-related. I belong. Never underestimate our need for assurance. This simple form, with its capacity to reveal how profoundly we are in fact connected through the very dance of its simplicity, gives this assurance. In the relationships that are created by simply being together, we get to witness the unbelievable beauty of human beings in the simplest, no frills version of who we are.

Now that is what I would like to carry around in my bodyspirit everyday!

“My Littlest Girlfriend!”

My littlest girlfriend is 3 1/2. She is unabashedly passionate about everything she does. Her current delight is being Mumble from the movie Happy Feet. Mumble is a tap dancing penguin who is ostracized by his penguin community because he can’t sing, like all penguins should be able to do, and he can’t help but dance like no penguin ought to. Taylor dances around the house, out on the sun deck, down in the grass and across the side walk. She does a great imitation, fake tap dancing at its finest. As a teacher of dancing with life she is a sage. And as my littlest girlfriend, who has grown another two inches every time I see her she keeps reminding me that change is inevitable.

Everything changes. It is the dance of life. Everything is born, everything dies. It is the way of transformation. It is the miracle of impermanence that has its way with us whether we like it or not.

Impermanence makes things precious. Every gardner knows this. The beauty of the garden lies in its ever changing nature, in the waves of color and shapes, smells and textures that are constantly moving thru it. The beauty of the world lies in this same constantly changing dance. And we can step into this beauty, can leap smack dab into its very center.

Learning to improvise gives us the capacity to play with change, to dance with inevitable impermanence. Why not! There is nothing we can do to stop it, so we may as well join it… love it… become it!

When we play, mess around with what is, bring our curiosity to the moment, we might just discover that the moment isn’t what we think it is. A moment of doubt can become the surprise of mystery… a moment of loss can become the instant we are finally able to see new life emerge…. a moment of boredom can, at last, be our time to find stillness and simply be.

One Friday noon Taylor and I were sitting at the dining room table, pretending to be rabbits, happily eating our salad.  As I watched her munching away, her complete and utter innocence stirred something deep in my heart, compelling me to realize that in the vastness of this immeasurable, wondrous and impermanent universe there is no one like her. There never has been and there never will be. She is absolutely and profoundly unique.

In that instant I was touched by mystery. Actually to be honest I was bold over by it. I thought I might even reach enlightenment. Perhaps I just had the briefest glimpse of it. What ever happened, I was transformed. Caught off guard, I was forever changed.

Shaken awake
by my littlest impermanent girlfriend,
pretending to be a bunny,
grazing on greens,
soon to morph
back into Mumble the tap dancing penguin,
keeping time to the beat
of her own heart
as she showed me
heal ball toe
on her fake styrofoam ice berg.
Now that is what I call
becoming the dance that is life!