Monday 30 April 2012

Playing with Fire by Alli Vainshtein

I guess because I was born the year of the Fire Rooster, playing with fire has always been interesting to me. I dream about diving into live volcanoes.

The older I get, the more daring I am. But it's a different kind of daring then when I was young. I could be foolish when I was young, diving into the pool before checking to see if there was water. I didn't think before I moved, often finding myself in very stick situations. Now I have the perspective of time, I can plan out my daring moves, I can strategically place myself at just the right place where I can have the most fun.

So the point is, what is the most fun?

What do I really want to do with my life?

This has been a question it has taken me many years to answer. What is fun? what do I want to do? What is the most important thing in my life? Is it eating chocolate and drinking coffee? Is it raising two beautiful daughters? Is it my amazing relationship with my third husband? Is it my rewarding job as a teacher? Is it the fascinating doctoral studies I am taking?

I think this is why many people don't ever achieve their goals. Because they don't know what their goals are. They don't know what makes them happy. They don't know how to play with their own life.

It has taken me many years to figure out what it was I really wanted. And part of that is scraping away the extra things that take up so much of my time. At first, it seemed like I was making sacrifices, but then I see that it was setting me free. I realize now that saying no to the things that were holding me back was the most freeing thing I ever did. I said no to everything that was tying me down, the things that were making me feel guilty, the activities that were sapping my energy and my health.

I learned how much fun NO can be.

And learning about no, shows me how the fire can burn away the unnecessary things in my life, so I can be free to do the things I really want to do. I'm learning how these "sacrificies" make it easier for me to play and have fun.

and right now, playing is doing the things that matter to me. Teaching the classes I enjoy teaching, and working on my doctorate research. It might not sound like to fun to anyone else, but I don't live for them.

Right now, I do what is fun for me.

Enjoy your life!

Have fun in your own way, play in your own playground and do what you want!

Alli Vainshtein is an Adjunct Faculty at Riverland Community College, and a doctoral learner at the University of Phoenix. She lives in Tropical Southern Minnesota with her husband and a feline dictator named Pooh. Her greatest joys in life are teaching, learning, connecting with the people she loves, and being creative.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Why Play is Good for You by Susan Cadley

 "Playfulness is absolutely necessary for your health and well-being - it's as important as the food you eat and the thoughts you think." Denise Linn

Do you remember the anticipation you had as a child when June was fast approaching and school would be out for the summer? I don't know about you, but I could hardly wait for the bell to ring on the last day of
school. We all ran out the door with glee, not sure what was ahead, but we knew it wasn't about sitting still! It was time to play, let loose, take a brain break.

The element of play can get lost in our adult world if we allow it. The serious part of you may have a million reasons not to play, but play has some serious benefits. These benefits have been studied and documented by Stuart Brown, M.D., a psychiatrist. In his book, Play, co-authored with Christopher Vaughn, he writes that play is not only practice for survival but a comfort to the soul.

Here are some positive side effects of play;
  • Stress reduction
  • Increased creativity and problem solving
  • Exercise for health
  • Moving energy of pent up emotions
  • Induces happiness

How can you carve out playtime in your schedule; in your day and week ahead? Keep that date with yourself and stay committed. What I've experienced when I create play time for myself is that I'm happier, I laugh
more, and I don't mind any of the things deemed as work in my life. This is because I'm satisfying my playing gene.

If you find play difficult, ask yourself a few questions and allow your soul to answer:
  1. What is your belief about people who play?
  2. If you play, what do you believe will happen, good or bad?
  3. What belief keeps you from playing? (Hint:it's all about your beliefs, which can be challenged)
You have the play gene in your DNA too. So how will you play? Here are some ideas to get you warmed up:
  • Dance
  • Skip
  • Sing loud in the car or anywhere!
  • Paint
  • Sit on a swing
  • Write a silly poem
  • Watch comedy

Sprinkle some fun into your life and feel your soul soar!

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Soul Coach and soul proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul.

Sunday 22 April 2012

It’s Always a Good Time to Play by Glenda Myles

Image Credit

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." Plato

When was the last time that you spent an hour playing. Truly playing with no outcome in mind?

If you are anything like most adults, it’s probably been awhile.

We are so task-focused, our busy lives filled up to the rim with to do’s, it leaves very little time for play. But play is essential to our health and well-being. It is through play that we learn how to work with others, how to tap into our imagination and creativity, how to solve problems, and how to connect to that inner part of ourselves that is our Truth.

How do you play

Do you remember playing as a young child? What were your favourite activities?

I loved playing hide and seek, creating and building things, swinging high, and most other things that take some imagination like reading a good book. I grew up during a time when we spent hours and hours outside, but always loved to read. Perhaps the influence of having a mother who managed a bookstore.

Create your playground

If you could create a playground for your adult self, what would it be like? What things would be included? What would you spend your time doing?

My playground is a big empty room. It has lots of windows to allow the natural light to pour in. It’s painted a soft green. I add some sheer flowing fabric on the wall hanging down from the centre of the ceiling to give it a cocooning feel much like the fort in the picture above, complete with chandelier. It is the place where I can dance and move, where I can daydream and create, and where I can bring in items that peek my curiosity.

Learning about yourself

With spring upon us (at least in the northern hemisphere) and the Aries fire energy urging us to get outside and to play, be sure to find time during this week and month to play. The creative time is essential to mental health. Block off a certain time each week and allow yourself to simply play, indulge in it. Allow it to fill you up.

Now consider, what does your choice of playtime activity say about you? What would someone learn about you in an hour of play?

Glenda at Myles Ahead Studio is a professional marketing strategist working to bring more creativity into business and make more ideas come to life.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Play by Kelly Besecke

Creative people need to play with their medium. Writers play with settings and characters and words, painters play with color and line and texture, dancers play with movement and rhythm and shape. It's from this time of play that more focused projects emerge. And creative play keeps the creative person happy and creative—you get new connections in the brain, you get the experience of flow, and you get to feel like your brain is skipping and your spirit is frolicking.

But right now I have another kind of play in mind. I'm writing this on the last day of South By Southwest, Austin's annual festival of film, interactive technology, and music, music, music. I'm not a musician—or a filmmaker or technology person—but SXSW is some of the greatest playing I do all year. I spend the weekend wandering around the city watching my favorite musicians play and sing. I run into other fans who share my tastes, I meet friends, I chat, I eat, and I sit in the sun. I lose myself in other people's playing—musicians, playing for themselves, one another, and me.

The kind of music I listen to and the town I live in have somehow come together to make a family, a network of musical friends. These musicians all know one another, are in and out of each other's lives, and sleep on each other's couches when they're in town for the festival. They're all fans of each other's music, and when they converge in one place, they join in on each other's songs, making a festival of personality and sound. It's like Pepperland.

It reinvigorates me. It inspirits me. Happifies me. Leads me to make up words. Inspires me to write.

An interviewer once asked one of my favorite musicians to tell him what music inspired his songwriting. This songwriter is a music fan with a long list of musicians he admires. But he told that interviewer that his songs more often come from movies he watches than from music he listens to. And his songs inspire my writing. And so on.

Martha Beck encourages a creativity technique she calls The Kitchen Sink, which boils down to this: when you're stuck or frustrated, do a whole bunch of unrelated things and see where they take you. I do this even when I'm not stuck or frustrated, just because it feels so good and is so good for me. I sink down into right-brain floaty space, where I follow my impulses. It looks like this: I read books about personality type, peruse Johnny Depp fan sites, look out the window and watch the treetops and clouds dancing with the wind, look at a picture-book of 1960s advertisements, get in the car and go buy food I don't usually eat, and spend some time people-watching. In other words, I play.

It's good to play on my own projects. But this kind of playing, the SXSW/Kitchen Sink kind of playing, is about getting outside my own main gig and into an even more right-brainy place of wandering, meandering, floating, making connections, seeing different kinds of things from new perspectives. It's like clouds drifting, changing shape, doing slow somersaults, coming together, sticking together, coming apart and sticking again to make new and bigger clouds. Moving, moving, moving, drifting, and things come together.

Play is all there is, I want to write, as yet another brilliant singer-songwriter closes her set and the audience gets up for beer and food and CDs. It's one of those statements that isn't true, but is, in the moment—the kind of moment when everything that really matters comes together, the kind when you know that this—this—is what it's all about.

So I thank my musicians, because their playing helps me play. My favorite musicians, Storyhill and Carrie Elkin, have introduced me to so many others who make for me (and for them) a musical community. Here are a few of them: Danny Schmidt, Sam Baker, Raina Rose, Justin Roth, A. J. Roach, John Fulbright, Dustin Welch, Chuck E. Costa, Robby Hecht, Devon Sproule, Paul Curreri, and Anthony DaCosta. To all of them, and to you: long may you play.

Kelly Besecke writes about spiritual meaning, progressive religion, and authentic living. Her first book, You Can't Put God in a Box: A Thoughtful Spirituality for a Rational Age, will be out in 2013. Kelly is a dreamer, a thinker, and an incurable idealist who loves singer-songwriter music, impressionism, and every dog she's ever met.

Saturday 14 April 2012

The Helter Skelter Seduction by Amy Palko

I suspect that when you were a child, you were probably a lot like me. When you went to your local playpark you had your favourite apparatus. For some it would be the swing. For others, the roundabout. For me, it was always the slide. The Helter Skelter kind in particular. The more curves the better!

Even as an adult, when I saw this Helter Skelter slide, I just couldn't help myself. I had to give it a try…

The Big Kids' Slide

Stairway to the Sky

One Step At A Time

Swooping Slide

Long Way Down

Here We Go!

Gotta love Helter Skelter!!

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Creative Dream Adventure with SARK by Andrea Schroeder

Years ago, I went to Toronto to do a writing workshop with Creative Dreamer Extraordinaire, SARK.

Afterwards, I was lucky enough to be invited back to SARK's hotel room (!) to hang out and keep chatting about Creative Dreams and writing and succulence and all things juicy.

It wasn't too long before we got hungry and ventured out to find some food. It was a really lovely night (spring, I think?) and we walked around for a while, looking for a place with yummy food that wasn't obnoxiously loud (which is difficult to find in downtown Toronto and one of the reasons why I moved away from there).

At one point, SARK stopped in front of a beautiful rug shop, with piles of gorgeous handmade rugs piled up in the windows and proclaimed:

"I Have A New Creative Dream!"

First we stood in silence, feeling the magic of a new Creative Dream being born.

Then SARK shared her dream: to be photographed naked on those piles of rugs.

I share this story to say: there are a lot of ways to have a Creative Dream.

And whatever your dream is - it's perfect. Just the way it is.

Most people think their dreams are too big or too strange or too impossible or too grandiose or too flashy or too stupid or too small or too insignificant.

Not creative enough. Not worthy. Not interesting enough. Not anything that anyone is ever going to really care about...

But the thing is, your dream isn't anything but perfect.

Even though sometimes it's so hard to see that. And it's so easy to compare your dreams with other people's dreams and feel like your dreams come up short.

But the thing is, your dream isn't anything but perfect.

Remember that, sweet pea.

With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea Schroeder lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at

Friday 6 April 2012

Do You Have Time to Play? by Ginny Lennox

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”

Kay Redfield Jamison, Contemporary American Professor of Psychiatry

When I found the above quote I really liked it. I agree with this quote but I also believe that it’s not only children who need to play but all people. No matter how old or how young we are, we all need to take the time to play. It helps us to relax, to get to know ourselves better, and it allows our creativity to blossom.

When you look at your day or week how much time is left to play? Can you arrange your schedule to allow time to play? I was someone who forgot how to play for a long time. I became so absorbed in my job that I forgot to leave time for me. It was only after retiring, that I realized that I hadn’t seen the sun rise or set for a very long time. I went to work in the dark and came home in the dark not because I had to but because I had become so consumed with my job. I had not really enjoyed the change of seasons or just relaxed unless I went away on trip for the specific purpose of relaxing or seeing the color of the leaves. If I had built some time for play into my life, I am sure I would have felt better and probably would have been much more productive.

It is easy, even when you are retired, to become so involved in projects that you forget to take time for yourself and to play. I made that mistake once but I am trying not to do it again. Now, I make sure there is time to do something just for me every day. When I paint, I feel like I am playing. When I write, I feel like I am playing. And when I am taking pictures I can get lost for hours just playing with my camera. It would be easy for me to become too serious about any one of these things. I tend to like things to be perfect. But when I see that happening I step back, take a deep breath, and remember how much more fun it is to play than it is to be perfect. Then I pick up the paintbrush, the pen, or the camera and begin to play once again.

How do you play? Playing is not something that comes naturally to me so I would love to know what you think of as play.

Ginny believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. On her blog, Special Moments in Time, she encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day.

Monday 2 April 2012

play by Angel Young


Such a small word. And when we were kids wasn't it easy, spontaneous, wonderful. I was lucky enough to have a rural upbringing and my childhood was full of barns which in turn were full of straw bales. It may not sound like much to work with, but we built houses, palaces, tunnels all manner of canvases in which to play our broad fantasies! Wow. What a gift! I'm so glad for those days and that freedom....

And freedom - isn't that what we're really talking about here, what we are trying to capture? But some how we've prioritised work over play, over our own emotional and mental freedom. That work can take all sorts of different forms - work-work, house-work, other people's priorities, not to mention kids and their work - which is of course - play!

I think with this you have to start small. Don't wait for the perfect moment of complete freedom. Sneak the play in!!! Start doodling, or get those magnetic poetry juices working each time you go to the fridge. Take a picture of your breakfast table this very day! Start a one-print-a-day finger painting. Whatever you can do to get you going - whatever you can do to get past the you-must-work-all-the-time censor.

You will be amazed at what you can achieve! Ah how the light touch of that freedom feels! How it makes your heart flutter! And life with all it's variety needs these flutters, your heart needs to know you care about what it loves. It needs this nourishment. So indulge a little - you have permission - at least from me! But the challenge is take that step yourself - and play! :0)

Angel lives in the UK, and is currently enjoying a sewing fad and a love of film photography.