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“Making new maps”: Placing attention on what matters

 

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“….in honor of what can be born of darkness, and care, and rooting deep in place, may we make new maps together out of hope, and fallen twigs.”  S. Lindsteadt, A Green Language

 

Leading with a series of questions is risky, but I’m going to take the leap anyway because I don’t know any other way to begin this.  Perhaps, I’ll suggest as a preface that you consider these questions when you have some quiet moments for reflection in the next few days. The end of the year, even the winter time, is a good period for rest and reflection, so we can figure out our next steps.  Don’t worry about a deadline.

What matters most to you, now?  Who and what do you feel a meaningful connection?

Do you feel divided in your energy and time because of feeling ladened with care?

Are you desirous for deeper alignment of your values and your actions/behavior in your life and in the world? 

 Do you experience connection to the sacred when you’re outside in the natural world?

Do you feel you have energy to fine tune your commitments?  Do you feel you have choice here or do you feel trapped in some way?

Are there people/dates/organizations on your calendar that you need to ‘let go of,’ ‘quit,’ ‘remove,’ ‘unsubscribe’ from?  

Who and what is missing on your calendar, in your schedule?

These questions are surfacing in my interior reflection pond in these last days of this year.  There’s both promise and pressure to a new starting point like the new year.  It’s a time to re-imagine what’s possible now, given where we are, given our individual – collective energy.  Having a fresh starting point like the new year, can allow us to re-place [place again] our divided attention/energy on the places, people, organizations/movements, commitments that are in deepest alignment with our values and what we hold as sacred.

Sylvia Linsteadt’s words of invitation and blessing to ‘make new maps of hope,’ appeals to my idealist side, the side that lives in the ‘what if.’   What if I shift attention more completely here?  What if I release this?  Who will I be making room for?

My map of hopes and twigs

As I place my hope-filled commitments in words now, I do so with an intention to honor the lands and waters of my ancestors that have and continue to nourish my bones and spirit. May they guide and direct my heart and actions.

~I commit to continue to practice as an urban contemplative, nurturing connection to the natural world, practicing embodied connection with self/others/the Divine through song, movement, story, and stillness, and sharing this journey more publicly through writing, to build connections

~I commit to be more vulnerable and open to the Divine, to “Love’s way”

~I seek to travel with others who are practicing loving, stewardship of the earth, and acting on her behalf as led to do so

You?  If you sense a desire arising for revising, paring down, shaping up, re-focusing your attention and energy, a revising of your interior map, I’m hopeful to share more questions, reflections, prayers, field notes from my wanderings and pondering in the future to accompany you.

FALL 2013 – InterPlay “Life Practice Program” in Seattle

Interplay Life Practice Brochure

Interplay Life Practice Brochure

My practice in nurturing relationships and spaces for curiosity, play, and reflection, is evolving to include being part of the upcoming InterPlay Life Practice Program teaching team here in Seattle!

Beginning in September, the InterPlay Life Practice Program will be launched with the opening retreat, “Secrets of InterPlay!” When I participated in the program almost 10 years ago, it was during a time of professional transition. Meeting once a month on a Saturday as part of a cohort, I found the body wisdom curriculum enriching, and the supportive relationships and space to play with the question of”What next?”

There’s an amazing cohort that’s already forming!  YES’s from artists, educators, healthcare professionals, ministers, mind/body practitioners.  Is this the time for you too?  Would you benefit from a supportive/creative place where you can land and play with, “WHAT’s next for YOU?!”

I would love to speak with you about your interest! The next Life Practice Program Information session is on Friday, June 14th, at 6:30, Queen Anne Christian Church, Seattle, WA.

You may download a complete brochure here.

Restoring Your PLAY Factor: “Playing Along”

Recently, on a morning walk through my neighborhood, I found myself within earshot of a lovely interaction.  A young family was walking to their car along with their 2.5/3 year old daughter. The child informed her parents, “Baby is in the car.”  A brief moment passed, and I heard the mother say with genuine enthusiasm, as she opened the car door, “Hello Baby.”   I thought to myself, THAT’s PLAYING along!  May not seem like such a big deal at first, but what this mother offered in FOLLOWing the cue, was a great big ‘ole fat gift of affirmation to her child and for herself to let go…and to rest into the opportunity presented to play.

Imagine UPPING your ‘playing along’ skills.  The ‘over culture’ says that being a leader is all about initiating stuff. The truth is people can’t be leaders if no one is there to follow…to play along…ecstatically…full on!  Truthfully, following, can actually be restful, energizing, without being passive.  Give it a go!

Benefits of PLAYING ALONG:

  • Allows us to REST our initiator side, that part of us that needs to “work” on stuff, or make SENSE of everything, or be extra ‘dazzling’
  • Opportunity to back someone up
  • Affirming the side of us that’s willing to throw it all in and just follow – receive  what’s happening around us

“Restoring Your PLAY Factor”: The Invitation

Hand of Invitation - Harriet Platts

Hand of Invitation

On Tuesday, April 9th, we’ll begin a two-week playful exploration of what it means to modulate the dimmer switch on your play factor. Maybe it needs to be turned UP a bit?!  Or maybe, you have just the right amount of playing around in your life right now.

Just the other day, I was feeling so exhausted from the fullness of life, and it occurred to me to ask, what is the relationship between play and rest? I’ve often felt like to play, I had to feel totally rested, or energized, or inspired in order to engage in play, but in fact, RESTEDNESS – the dynamic state where stress or pressure feels suspended for just a moment,  can actually be a by-product of play.  Resting out from whatever version of PINCH-PRESSURE you feel, allows for one to experience a new sort of peripheral vision throughout the whole body. It’s the experience of possibility, a physical roominess of sort.

Please contact University Unitarian Church at 206-525-8400 to register. For church members, it’s $15 for both classes. For friends/non-church members, it’s $30 for both classes.  The classes run from 7-9, on April 9th and 16th.

THE PLAY OF MAKING PROMISES: An InterPlay Retreat

may2013flierJoin us for this half-day, spring retreat where through movement, storytelling, singing, connecting with others, and just being, we’ll inquire into what we KNOW as embodied creatures about making promises.

May 4th

10:00 – 3:00

Seattle First Baptist Church

~A light lunch will be provided~
To register, call church office at
206-325-6051.
FREE Event!

Through storytelling, movement, singing, stillness, and connecting, we’ll explore:

~What we “know” in our bodies as individuals and as a community about making promises
~The nourishing benefits of play that support healthy communities
~Your desire for fuller connection with self and others

You may download and print the flier here.

Patricia Doheny is a member of Seattle First Baptist, has practiced and taught InterPlay since 2006, teaches Creative and memoir writing at Des Moines Sr. Ctr, and uses the tools of InterPlay in her Clown Care work and retreat leading. She recently led InterPlay at the 2013 SFBC late winter retreat.

Rev. Harriet Platts, MS, MDiv, MA, works as a chaplain, artist, and teacher. As a spiritual care provider in healthcare settings for over 15 years, she nurtures relationships of trust for meaningful self-exploration and person inquiry. As an artist and InterPlay teacher, she invites people into deepened/ truer connections with self and others through curiosity and play. She currently serves as a Spiritual Counselor with Group Health Hospice.

(The topic of promise has been inspired in part by the subject matter of the book, “A House for Hope,” written by Drs. John Buehrens and Rebecca Parker. Dr. Parker will be giving the Rodney Romney Legacy Lecture at Seattle First Baptist, on May 11th, and preaching on May 12th.)

 

STRONG in VOICE WHEN SINGING

Last weekend, I traveled with 30 + Unitarian ‘sisters,’ to retreat at Rainbow Lodge for the annual women’s retreat.  My bodyspirit was tired, but as soon as I headed out past Issaquah, I cranked up the music in the car, and I felt the cares lift.  I led the opening session of our retreat, “CREATE, PLAY, REST: Sharing Our Self-Nurturing Practices for Life,” and we began, naturally, with a song. When I lead others in song, I feel strong in my voice. I know the pleasure of making music with others, and music’s capacity to gather people in a moment’s time for celebration and connection.

On Saturday, I took an early morning walk out along the trail, close to a gushing, babbling brook.  Though it was chilly, the sun’s warmth was just right.  And then, the idea just popped into my head.  I should invite others to come out here with me after lunch, and sing in the sun.  I extended the invitation at lunch, and 6 brave souls gathered with me.  I taught them a ‘layered,’ song by Velma Frye, where a phrase is repeated, and then another phrase is layered on top.  “Set the clock of your heart,” the first group held as our foundation.  “Breathe in the dawn,” the next group joined. “Lift high the chalice of your life, taste the joy the joy of being awake,” I rang out as the third voice. The song spun out of us, flowing from the root of our hearts, out into that wooded space.  It was created in a moment, and then, it was over.  Just like that.

April InterPlay Classes at University Unitarian Church

"Restoring Your PLAY Factor:  Introduction to InterPlay"

“Restoring Your PLAY Factor: Introduction to InterPlay”

Restoring your PLAY factor: Introduction to InterPlay

Play increases flexibility, spontaneity, and wonder! In these classes, you’ll be introduced to user-friendly play forms and body wisdom tools from the system of InterPlay.   Both a creative process and philosophy, InterPlay supports people returning to more natural, easeful states in their bodies through movement, storytelling, singing, and just being. This allows for lightness of spirit, better use of energy, and greater sense of wellbeing.

Explore in a supportive community what your body can do –  stretching, breathing, moving your hand in a dance, 3-sentence stories, fake tap dancing, connecting with others,…and in the process, create REAL possibilities for your body, mind, heart and spirit to work together again!

Date/Time Tuesdays, April 7th and 16th, from 7-9 pm.

Location:  University Unitarian Church

6556 35th Ave. NE

Seattle, WA  98115

Cost for Non-Church Members:  $30 for both classes, paid to UUC when registering;

Limited registration to outside participants (6 slots);  Contact University Unitarian Church office, M-F,  at 206-525-8400.

You may download a flier here