Adventure, How

Lots of us want to be more liftable to adventure, less dense and stuck in patterns of who we’ve already been and don’t want to be anymore.  I wager that we can use adventure to greet our new inner shores by kissing new outer ones.   

0. Initially, and because your vibrational familiarity is with who you have been being (who is infected with what Rumi calls “fake adult dignity” and gives automatic no’s to most things and isn’t all that thrilled, honestly, and probably has a bet little addiction you think you would rather indulge in privately, even though your true self would really freaking would not) so, you’ll just have to do some ground hurling; it’s a little a lot like the advice for how one might learn to fly in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, meaning,

“You must learn how to throw yourself at the ground, and miss. Pick a nice day and try it. The first part is easy.”

Don’t let your first set of bruises make you forget that you are trying to fly.  When I biked to the top of Mt. Mitchell on a whim the first hour made me convinced that all the muscles in my body had been replaced by overcooked spaghetti that had sat in water overnight and was disintegrating.  When I arrived at the top I was resplendently grateful I had somehow managed to remember the point is to remember how to fly.

1. In the movie Spanglish, the dad character played by Adam Sandler gently wakes up his kid with, “good morning. It’s not time to wake up. It’s not even time to think about waking up, but it’s time to think about thinking about it.” Pause for effect. “Are you thinking about it?”

You are the Adam Sandler dad character. Tiptoe on into your psyche-lair. Find your sleeping sloth teenager True Fascination and gently whisper to her that it might be time to start thinkin’ about waking up.  

Now tip toe back out. Don’t be a pushy parent.  

2. Stop cleaning and tidying e’rr thing.

And by this I mean YOU CAN HAVE A CLEAN HOUSE AND A THRIVING adventurous thrilling life. But if you haven’t worked on believing that, then it’s like that you’re spending a fair amount of time in what you are familiar with and quite good at, cleaning. The momentum of this is seductive and unclean houses are unpleasant to almost everyone, so it’s easy to forget to nurture the baby momemtums of Listening to maybe quiet feeling urges to Go Giantly Play in some true fascination or say yes to a dare.

Help yourself by pausing to imagine yourself feeling buzzy and fun and warm about someone (especially you) daring you to do something and you saying yes and it being fucking fantastic and you walking out of that experience sparkly with Essential you-ness.

Also helpful: get friendly with primordial ooze. It is on the chaotic edges of the oceans where the vast majority of sea life teems, writhes and frothily abides. Don’t clean up what doesn’t want cleaning. Don’t unduly or prematurely tidy or you’ll become allergic to the chaos necessary to adventure.

Abraham asked a woman who was struggling over the mess in her house, “when is your house actually clean?” She replied. “When I’m all alone, when no one is there.” And she realized that the mess that she was so bothered by was actually the beautiful mess of a creative life in progress. Once she made peace with that, she could develop systems to keep her home clean without being emotionally triggered by the delicious primordial ooze of the creative process.

And, all honest lives are creative expressions of pure life force energy. As such, they require whatever the essential artist requires of her inner and outer studio: wild spaces, quiet places, and hidden aces. To keep her in inevitable proximity to the essential vitality.

3. Tigger the shit out of the impossibility by  just enjoying something challenging as an adventure.  This will elevate your perspective on it enough to keep you awake about what’s really going on and the experience will carry you Deep into yourself, and deep into the heart of the universe.  An adventure is a direct encounter with your personal threshold in an area of your life in manner that allows you to explore and even push out that edge a little.

You can use the energy and details of that impossibility like a navigational star chart. The difficulty, impossible situations, and primordial oozes all bring a laser focus to the exact place you need to activate a better quality of attention. 

At such an impasse you have to tune in about 200 clicks to be able to discern or invent a way around. You may find yourself stranded and have to dig very deep for sleeping and forgotten resources and skills and capacities. This is the moment when you may realize you are on an adventure and that you don’t want to call for help. You actually want to Be the help.

4. Which brings me to my next bit, kick the stool out from under you. Or as Cortez and Alexander the Great did, burn your damn boats.

Here’s an example: while on the Travel By Yes mission, my friend asked if I wanted to bike to a cafe 5 miles away. We were traveling with 13 people in 3 large rigs, with little time for personal exploration. At the time, I had biked in over a decade. At all. I had a bunch of beliefs about why I wasn’t biker and didn’t like it. But my desire to be free was slightly louder than the voices telling me I couldn’t bike. So, in saying yes to the tiny tip of the iceberg of adventure that I could see (five miles downhill, no biggie!) I had no idea that the 26 mile bike ride up and down Vermont mountains would askn nay, require that I continually up and expand my yes to keep up with the bigness of the adventure as it carried me deeper, further than I’d ever been before. 

I can still feel the exhilaration and raw life force hoo ha of pulling out onto the open road for the first time.

And when I tuned in, I realized something neat and unexpected, my legs actually liked it. I mean, they REALLY liked what they were doing. The precious burning, the all in fucking going for it, like a corvette that’s been unused in a garage for a year just wants to rip it all the way out on the highway.

I also discovered that laziness was thinking was an absolute no go. The second I started thinking negatively, I started to lose steam whatever steam I had, immediately. This became increasingly important as the miles unfolded  and I had long since completely drained whatever known batteries in my legs, and started operating on god knows what stuff. I was approaching the part of an adventure that gives the word adventure its street cred.

Do you know the part? If you’ve read this far, maybe you do. Maybe you’ve been ushered into an exquisite new corner of the secret garden of yourself on the wings of an adventure. I’m talking about the part of an adventure that steadily holds you over some chasm that you’ve been backing away from in your normal waking life, and here, now, in this heightened state you are suddenly in a situation where it’s inevitable that you are going to make it across, mostly becasue you have no other choice (I cannot emphasize the burning your boat thing enough, burn, baby, burn).

And so, with trembly legs and wobbly emotional swings like a bipolar rhino in heat and on angel dust, I had to find that part of me that I hadn’t seen in awhile, that secret sixth gear.

Those last “five” miles I rode in my newly rediscovered sixth gear.  It felt like suddenly becoming photosynthetic.   Here’s where the game of me using language to carry you the reader along falls apart. To say I was exhilirated and beyond my own yen is tiny. To say I was seeing as God sees, tasting everything, tasting the music of the wind and feeling how lusty and wild the sun is, pales in comparison with the fullness of that unforgivably alive state.

(Yeah I’m talking about how All-In, inevitable Burn Your Fucking Boats adventures fling you into the optimal state of being known as Flow, but I wanted to be a little complicated and storytelly so maybe you’d feel and not try to know it so much, and maybe even glean a taste for the possibility of it, maybe even remember a little of the essential lust to be all the way alive. Which is the beginning of every endeavor worth its salt.)

4. Bare the stark and haunting sudden wallop of loneliness and freezing isolation that comes when you disengage from the steady warm drizzle of distracting yourself, rather than engaging your life.

And by this I very much mean: I dare you to leave your fucking phone at home.  And do your human life a favor by remembering that the things you did in order to NOT follow the innate call to adventure well and fully with your life, will likely NOT go softly into that dark night and you just have to be firm with yourself as your familiarity with being entertained and hand fed experience fades away, and your willingness to become familiar with what it feels like to actually hear a true urge.  It doesn’t come on logic channels so we have lost the skill of hearing, translating or properly acting on them and yet they are often the very ways in which our deeper selves are wooing us back into the Aliveness. 

5. Expand and enliven your adventure repertoire. An adventure is determined by the state of being of the participants, not by the action. Last night, dancing on my roof and then painting translated dreams onto people’s arms and backs was not an adventure for me, but a pleasantry. I do it all the time. It was vivifying and delightful, but took me nowhere near my personal edge.

It’s more of an adventure for me to sit through a conversation with a lover and not run away even though I’m saying what’s really true for me and that terrifies me and makes my legs wobbly and knees nauseous. I know it’s an adventure because tho 99% of me wants to call a lifeline in to haul me out of the jungle, one very important percentage of me wants to break through into the secret sixth gear. Every lover has a secret sixth gear! What a fucking thot!

6. Explosive shit ass day got you down? Great! Use all that nutrient rich emotional volatility to launch yourself off on a really fucking great adventure. Next time you get into a tangle or a fuzzle and don’t know what to do with yourself, just walk out the door. Just how you are. Keep walking. Make up the rules that feel right to your as you go. They’re the right ones for right now.

May your fuss be a mighty wind to launch you into Mighty Adventuring. Don’t Netflix it away when you could use that magnificent and unresolved passion to blow your sails straight back. Home. Back home, baby HOME.

7. Hang the fuck ON! When your soul is calling you towards adventure, the Universe responds, powerfully.

Adventures that feel so bright and right, feel so, because they are so.

Adventures concierge you into little known parts of yourself, make the connections, and help you really get to know the city of your secret sixth gear self. But you’ve got to participate by staying focused on the game at hand, tending your thoughts, renewing your yes as it deepens and leaning into the fun in your own unique way.

8. Keep your ear to the ground (you’re always listening for buffalos).

Depending on the nature of the adventure, your primary mode of moving through the adventure may depend entirely on your own fascination; in any given situation, there is always something a little more glowinger than other options.

That’s the right way. And the more woke up and dressed for success your own fascination is, the quicker you’ll be able to identify the glowingest bit and take timely action to engage it delectably and in your own tender perfect you way.

9. Become fluent in the language of Heart of Adventure. It’s in the options for languages on the app Duo Lingo. Just kidding. Just kidding about being just kidding, how do I know? It probably is and I didn’t have the gender-free balls to expect it or go looking for it.

Beyond issues of GF balls and language acquisition, you’ve got to remember that your heart of adventure speaks a unique language as rare and endangered as a polar bear and that by becoming fluent in it we not only preserve an ancient and essential dialect, but add to it because in the moment you leap o’er that chasm, grow those wings, and do the impossible thing, some new and as yet nameless essentiality sails into being.

Embedded in the very sailing forth is the urge to name, to know, to own, to control, to be able access more fully. That urge awakens the fairies of language to shape and shadow, to light and set on fire the nameless impossibility we’ve just found, by gifting it a name.

10. Let life do you. Once when I was cramped and confused sexually, I followed some bright and inspired urges, which led me to an interesting relationship with a partner who loved S&M.  For a gorgeous span of sexual adventuring I recovered my inherent capacity to let go and let life do me.  (Haha, I did a pun!)

It took me out of the part of the place in me that used to make all decisions, the thinking apparatus that confusedly felt that it needed to make everything happen of its own accord, or to organize, fix, support and do everything.

The adventure gently and sexily walked me into a very receiving trusting, relaxedly passive and curious way of allowing life to inspire, lead, and astonish.  

Fatman’s Warm Heart

One of the toughest places in my own life to learn how to TRULY play with, is relationships: there’s too many moving pieces. I can play with a basketball for ages and it’ll never interrupt me and tell me it’s all my fault.

It’s so so so so so so easy to get looped into judgement and anger and self righteous blamey thinking loops that absolutely lock you out of any kind of real play together.  Luckily, life keeps bringing exactly what I need.  Here’s a recent tale of playing my way through that cluster of confusion, and staying in the heart of the play as it moved.

 

“Fatman don’t want you to see her.” His sister tells me, frankly.  Even though Fatman continues to stand within precise french fry distance to me, even though he’s covering his eyes with interlaced backwards fingers so his cold little knuckles are pressed to his eyes while he chews the single warm fry I just gave him.

 

Fatman isn’t yet two. His sister isn’t yet caring about pronouns, or, perhaps, gender, I can’t tell which. She calls my son her sister several times in the course of the play.  I watch the baby’s jaw for signs of slowing, because we’ve been at this for several minutes and I know that when the last swallow happens, he’s going to burst open his little protective finger curtain and find me with those bright dark eyes.  I try to play a little peek a boo, but he just grunts.

 

I prepare his next ketchup-dipped fry and when I hand it to him, the temperature of his skin freaks me out. Both he and his sister are wearing thin T-shirts and no shoes.  It’s cold enough that I have to work to not shiver in my sweatshirt and jacket.

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I watch the mother, playing basketball on the court, in a very warm looking hoodie. WTF?  Wary of the Prime Directive I decide to give my son’s jacket to which ever of them will let me slip it over their damn hat.  Fatman covers his eyes and runs blindly away so I give it to Katyadee.  My son never liked the damn thing anyway. But when I slip it over her cocoa skin, and it settles perfectly onto her body, she stops shivering and smiles up at me.

 

I catch my breath a little.  I get the whole “helper’s high” thing. Damn it feels good to help another human, even in a small way.  Fatman blindly meanders back towards the smell of fries and bumps into my knees.  He still doesn’t remove his hands because in Fatman’s world, if he can’t see me, I can’t see him.

 

Last night Graham told me, with a voice, jaunty with rebellion, that he isn’t ready to stop being angry at his mother.  I’ve just met this man, and realize that he’s offering some piece of himself up, not as an immovable thing, like, hey, there’s some Sphynx’s here, they’re a pretty cool part of my interior landscape and occasional shoot things with their laser eyeballs, but more as an invitation to peer together at what has long seemed to him to be a big ol’ fucking locked door.

 

A little later, his voice changes when he tells me that when he tries to discover why he’s angry, his mind tells him it’s because “she didn’t see me.”  I can feel this beautiful adult man’s struggle to give any kind of permission to even near this door.

 

Yet here we are, several sheets in and still not eating oysters so I ask him, “Mum didn’t see me. Is it true?”  I know that this style of inquiry can be a tad heavy, especially when you’re kind of drunk and on a kind of date, but when the fuck isn’t it time for deeper truthing?  I can’t totally tell what he thinks of this bold move because he bursts out laughing and seems as surprised by his response as I am.  He gasps out,

 

“No.  No, it isn’t true.”  

 

Fatman calls me back to him by grabbing both my hands with his freezing little brown hands. Apparently I’m horribly out of time in our french fry dance.  He shivers as he waits.  The mother should take better care of her children. The thought bursts onto the scene, hot and frothy with self righteous anger.  

 

Is it true?

 

I’m alone in a late fall woods, there are barely any leaves on the trees. I’m probably ten and I’m as far away from anyone who might know my name or try to care for me as I can manage.  I’ve covered my face and bare arms and legs with charcoal lines.  I didn’t know about war paint or ritual then, not with my mind, but I think a deeper part of me recognized the urge to create a bridge into a deeper way of being in the world.  With each line I drew, I was freeing myself from the tangled homelife behind me.  I should have been shivering, but wasn’t, not even slightly.

 

I was on a quest.  I’d been writing stories about fairies for years and was now following their trail.  I revel in how fully open I can allow my senses to be here.  There is no horrible musics of anger here, just things coming and going, waking and dying, and living in the simple good way of forest creatures.  I love how careless I can be here, how I can indulge my enormous curiosity and hunger for discovery.

 

The adult me now knows how pivotal those “parenting gaps” were to the poet, warrior, teacher, dancer, lover woman I’ve become. I remember lying beneath a vine full with dark red winter berries, on a carpet of yellow fallen leaves and waiting for the first berry to fall. I waited all day and one still didn’t fall. That’s poet training.  I got wildly and absolutely lost and had to get clear enough on the way in in inside to find my way out. I fell through ice and had to warm myself enough using breath to walk out.  

 

That wild, unsafe place was the very training ground I needed to become the me I so delight in being.

 

Should my parents have kept better tabs on me?  I walk through a life of people who are terrified of their own desires and have virtually no relationship with their own wonderment. Fuck no they shouldn’t have. Sweet goodness, what perfect for me parents. Thank you mama and papa.  

 

Now Fatman has both his hands in my warmer hands.  What a facey. He has most of an entire french fry stuck in the snot mask on the lower half of his beautiful face. I tried to wipe it but he’s having none of that.  For a moment he meets my gaze, full on.  And there’s this narrow window where Old Soul in a New Baby finds the same in me. I feel the tides of self righteous assurance begin to shift in me.

 

Fatman shouldn’t be cold right now. Is that true?  His fiercely alive gaze dares me to say it’s true.

 

He slips one hand off mine and reaches towards the fries, not to take one, oh no, that would break our dance, but to indicate the time for gazing is done and the time for the next french fry is indeed upon us.  I test this and try to hand him the whole beach fry basket but he shakes his head strongly, and grunts, “nuh nuh nuh.”  His sister interprets,

 

“Fatman don’t want that.”  She points.  “He only want the next fry.”

 

She looks so warm and pretty in that teal warmie that I can hardly stand it. It’s all suddenly just a tad too fucking much.  I feel that slidey, falling off the cliff deep clarity haze coming on.

 

I reach into select the next fry.

 

The things, that I realize have been little anxious burrs in me, begin to float in.

 

I don’t have to know how to handle all the clients coming in, just the next one.

 

I dip the fry in ketchup. Not too much ketchup.

 

I don’t have to know Everything about All that I want in a Lover, it’s okay to just know what I want right now.  

 

I hand the fry to Fatman who doesn’t reach out with his hand this time, but lets me put it into his mouth. O….

 

It’s okay to love the wanting. To be simple and close and appreciating the beauty of pure wanting, even, and oh, sweet Jesus, ESPECIALLY all the pretty pretty winds inside an unfulfilled desire.

 

I can palpably feel the current of life force whirring within each of these wantings …

 

to be warm …

 

to have all the babies warm and with shoes …

 

to have men love and forgive their mamas so that they may more fully love and forgive themselves …

 

to be good and somehow goodly available to love and partnership

 

to learn how to come home after a life of gypsy dancing through inner and outer geographies

 

And it warms me to love the wanting again, to renew my love for the precious and necessary shivering of more life breaking through the forever waking soil of my now.

 

A Lucy Goosey Father’s Day

Of course it was laughing that brought him back to me.

papa and mama

Spoiler: this is a post about the power of playing together to reunite, reignite and invigorate the core love that a family needs to be actively connected to in order to swim and not sink

As a young mother, in full time college, I agreed to work with my father in construction, even though it made me nervous and wiggly feeling on the inside.  In those days, I thought a relationship was whatever it appeared to be.  Mine with my father was impenetrable, and compared to some of my easier feeling friendships, his person felt as real to me as a piece of firewood, and then there was all that childhood repressed stuff lurking in the shadows.  Did I want to spend my day next to THAT!?

I was confused. I thought that us not knowing or actively loving each other was the inescapable truth, and not simply a result of my cluttered, sloppy and unexamined thinking.  I didn’t know how to make that correlation. This was the first relationship that I got to begin to even conceive of the thot that my thots about it determined what it could be.

In the beginning, working side by side, we were not seeing each other, but our stories of each other.  And that tight restricting sense of not being able to be myself continued.  I counted the hours until I could leave.

I don’t think I’ll ever really know exactly what I did inside of me to prepare for the breaking open.  I’m kind of a miracle junky, so let’s just say my profound wantingness to be Inside of love brought this silly little miracle of a moment.

It’s early morning. I’m alone in the cathredral part of the living room, way up high, and I’m with the wall.  I’m smoothing a rounded wall, and the morning light is following the lines with a kind of fairy-like helpfulness.

And then an unfamiliar voice rang out, in a deep and unfamiliar Bronx accent “Hey Lucy!”

My mind flipped spasmodically like one of those machines they use to check your vision at the eye doctor as it tore through the lenses of perception, first fear, “holy crap, is there a stranger way out here?” then, “where the heck is my dad?” then, “that voice sounded a little familiar” then a few beats, I put my trowel down and settled back onto the scaffolding, feeling the light follow the lines of this movement with the same generous tenderness, as I answered, in an equally deep and unfamiliar Bronx accent, like I was suddenly a Mario-esque wise-cracking character about to argue with Mama about too much spice in the sauce, and with only the tiniest nervous quiver,

“Yeah, Goosey?”

I heard a small chuckle from somewhere deep in the house.  And then that same voice asked me to bring him some tool, except, it wasn’t me, it was,”You lazy SOB, ‘ow many times, I gots to ax ya … “

and the game, suddenly, was afoot.

precious goosey

Goosey!

Suddenly we no longer were anything really, certainly not an estranged father and daughter, but something else, some voices in the air we had never met before, a Lucy and a Goosey, rough, joking workers who, we discovered as the day went on, didn’t give a shit about being careful with each other, and had no broken history so we just played for the funniest joke, the funnest possible scenarios.

We are not one of those improv acting families. This was the first time for each of us.  And yet we found ourselves transported by the role playing. I was as genuinely curious about what he’d say next as I’d ever been about anything.

I was so absorbed in the moment that I didn’t have the bandwidth to note, but later I realized that I was absolutely thrilled by the sudden fluency and levity in our interaction, it was a dream come true to have that kind of access to my father’s playful heart. And as the game deepened, I found myself sometimes too stunned by the depth of his humor to even laugh properly.  The deeper we played, the more the politeness dissipated like a bad fog.

Through these sudden, silly roles, we’d miraculously found a way to act ourselves around each other. I’ve never encountered quite so severe and sudden a relational shift as that before that moment. And I’m still kind of in love with the sweet magic of it. We never went fully went back to our former relationship, and when we tried to, we had a lot of familiarity with each other’s playful hearts to use as ballast to anchor us to love so we never ever got lost in a fight since that moment.

We never hashed out the stuff that happened in our earlier relationship, when I was working out how to be a free, happy, kid and he was working out how to be a free, happy dad because that never seemed fun. Lucy and Goosey would never dicker like that. They talked about gettin’ a slice and takin’ off work early to dive off the pier.

Once in while, after a particularly fun playtime together, he’ll sigh and say something like “I wish I’d played more with you when you were younger”

To which I reply,“you taught me how to find play anywhere, anytime, with anyone. I needed space to learn that. You were/are the perfect father. But now I got that, so you can play with me, now.”

How to have a good ol’ murmuration of Joy

heyo bFullSizeRender-4eauties!

This is a shout out from the road, or, more accurately, The Emerald Coast. It really is emerald.  And manatees really are as fun to swim with as I thought they might be. Wow.

The Travel by Yes mission, now in it’s 11th month, is bringing us deeper than ever into some new fascinating insights about how Flow State & playfulness want to samba with each other and make life easier and way way way more fun and flowy. It’s thrilling. We’re joy guinnea pigs most days.

Which means this guinnea pig has had to learn how to do a lot more Buoying. those little, on purpose play moments that keep the momentum of joy rolling and easy to access.  Sometimes I slip into them on accident.  They help me not get mired or slip under the Blanket of Seriousness and Forgetting.

And that’s where a dare comes in …

Recently, one of my teammates issued a dare to the world, to try your hand at a 100 Gratitude list, where you get yourself into a kind of appreciative frenzy. It takes some finagling to really pull this off, and in order to do it right, you have to keep tuning in.

At the point with others jump off the ship, you steer harder into the turn, find a deeper joy, a stronger whiff of glee.  When she gave the dare, I shied away from it. I have done these. Old hat.  It’s for others.

The next day, I found myself alone at a park, in a state I’ve never been, tired and a bit sick. Everyone was playing and I was half-heartedly twiddling with a piece of sidewalk chalk, bored, tuned out. And then I remembered the dare.

And I remembered the bigger bit about JOY and how freaking important it is.  And so, I began.

It was so much harder than I thought.  Writing that much with sidewalk chalk over rough terrain is surprisingly arduous.  After I began, I leaned into it, which means, I actively marshalled my focus into the task at hand, what is good in my life? What makes my heart glad?  How can I steer into the fun of this dare?  Where is the center of my joy?

About halfway through, some of the team appeared, and jumped in. By that time, I was deep in flow state, locked into the rhythm of the gladness, and the writing, locked into the happy task, the bigness of it, the glory of it, how impossible and fantastic it was.

When the team, and my PRECIOUS AMAZING CHILDREN started helping me, so that we were sharing this amazing goal, and

playing deeply together in what we love,

I nearly cried, no, I totally did, but then the joy went deeper, and I felt myself shifting into that poetic, ethereal shared flow state where we were all moving and laughing and appreciating in harmony, like a murmuration of absolute joy.

I just wanted to share this with you, the sweetness of it, and the usefulness of it.  I hope your heart is blooming, dear friend, and that you find yourself stumbling into more and more moments of genuine play and ease and fun every day.

All my love,

Natalie

How to really, ACTUALLY have a bombdig of meaningful and life blooming fun this holiday season ( in 10 helpful bits )

I was once so NOT into Christmas that I just stopped doing it. Then I booked myself (JUST me) into luxurious hotels far far away and let my family celebrate without me. Seriously, I did that. But, oh how I missed the magic, togetherness and tenderness of this season. Also, elves, and cookies! And Santa’s rosy cheeks and …Instead of abandoning my family to go write poetry by the shore, I decided to learn how to stay ME, playful and real through it all, so that every drop of this life has me signed onto my joy-boat, no matter what.

#1   If life is a pie…

(and I very much like to think that it is, probably warm cherry with homemade whipped cream) then, the heightened togetherness of the holidays introduce rarely played roles into our pie. Most of your daily pie is just you being you, and then here come the holidays and suddenly you’re someone’s daughter, or an aunt, or an ex, or you’re obligatory Santa, or an only friend or a mama.  Sometimes the surprise of encountering the full range of all the beautiful human games we play, can shock us out of remembering the primary-ness of our primary role: to vibrate clearly, happily, and extra yessily.Your only role in life is a vibrational one.

And no matter how rich you are, ain’t none of us can afford the luxury of forgetting to tend our primary role, because Law of Attraction just don’t quit.  There are no vacations from consciousness.  You are always drawing in what you’re vibrating at. If you let yourself get stressed out and start doing obligatory rather than hell yes things, and lose your self care rituals, you’re going to draw in dramatic and stressful life circumstances which is why so many people arrive, gasping and depleted on the shores of New Years Day, desperate to return to their true role, Being Happy.  They scrabble using diets and new structures to hold them in place so they can clean up their frequency, relax, and feel good again. 

But I say, why ever leave the sweetly connected spot? Why not hold Your own hand all the way through?  And in a season devoted to frolicking why the heck would we be anything but wildly playful?

#2  Which is why 

you’re going into this holiday season with your conscious guns a blazin’!  Think of this as the Big Game prep time.  Instead of (or in addition to) getting ready for Christmas by shopping and cooking or avoiding shopping and cooking, you’re going to tend your vibrational playing field so that you will encounter the best of each you meet, and be delighted and sated by all you engage in.  You’re going to have the best, most deliberate and love-drenched holiday of your whole, bloom festival life.  Ready?  

#3  First! Joy O’ Clock is your sacred

little nugget of time that you stake out as a the biggest gift in the world for your aligned self. Here, you do JUST ONE THING: tend and grow your joy. JOY O’ Clock becomes a home for all your consciousness tools and a safe space to begin to use them regularly.  Make a home for love to return to and love will flood your shores. Your joyful rituals will be a life raft through the holidays.  They help you stay wide awake.But what does it mean to tend your joy, I mean, really?  I know that I’ve had to kind of dig to recover my original know how about the Joyful Life.  Here’s some of my current thots that are workin’ for me:

#4  WE are the architects

of our own life experience and when we take the time to imagine things the way we want them and to clear up everything that’s stand in the way of that coming in, we live the life of our dreams.  
Grid it! ( WHATEVER it is, you can dream it better: dinners with in laws, Christmas Shopping, Christmas Morning … )Here’s how:  Get some markers and blank paper. Put on some cheery music and close your eyes, let everything go for a moment, then begin to fill the page with emotional words that feel like you want to feel on and during the holidays.  Get arty. Draw shapes that match the feelings. Go deep. The longer you meander around those good feeling words, the stronger the point of attraction you’re creating.

p.s. As you grid, you’ll find a pure tone that feels AMAZING, but then … you’ll encounter the stuck beliefs  that don’t match those dreams. Those are what Abraham-Hicks calls your bugaboos. 


They’re not true and they are the reason you’re not living your dreams now.  

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Grid for our Travel by Yes mission!

#5  And so you clear

the energetic stuckies.  Like giving away old clothes. And most of your old stuff is around other people.  We let old, so boring resentments and discontents cloud our beautiful, loving hearts for long enough!  Why not let this holiday season inspire you to find ways to return to love in these areas?  If you do nothing else, do a gratitude list for each of the people you’ll be celebrating with. It changes everything. And you can do it in your head while driving. You can do it with your kids. You can do it in the shower.

If you’re feeling like you want to go deeper,  I recommend using Byron Katie’s “The Work” and â€œHo’oponopono” or our version â€œHo’oponoyesso” and the focus wheel just can’t be beat for thrilling yourself with new love and clarity.  I’m also a fantastic coach.  Just sayin’.  

#6  Then you play

and slip into full presence, listening to a story from a long forgotten elder, or maybe making cards or googly eyes with a newly discovered baby niece.  You’re unbusy in the head, relaxed, not wanting to be anywhere else, and filled with huge gratitude for this precious now.      We get so durn STARVED for fully presence during this busy time of quick and often superficial engagements.Buoy the season by making deliberate playdates

with those who are buzzing for you. For me, these playdates have quickly become one of my bestist pleasures and keep me wildly happy.  Here’s a quick how to for making playdates:

  • plan to do something that rings for you and feels even a tad meaningful. Be easy, and loose, the plans will likely evolve as you play together.
  • Don’t invite everyone and don’t be scared to say no to others. A good no makes a good yes even greater.
  • Don’t cancel or get so busy you can’t really be present.   Intend to show up with all that you are.
  • Cell phones off!  Gift yourself with the fullest presence. 
  • Do a gratitude list with the person before you play together. Remember their bright lights.  Savor their beauty. It’ll help draw the best out of them.
  • Do a grid for the interaction. How do you want to feel?  Take five minutes and grid it into existence.


Now that’s you’ve laid the vibrational ground work, and feel ready, it’s time to …

#7  Pack that Beautiful Adventure Bag!

“If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family”  Ram Dass

I carry a literal adventure bag everywhere I go.  Yes, I am currently on a mission to slow travel the world via yes, so the adventure bag is pretty much a necessity.  Headphones have literally saved my life more times than I count. So have the sidewalk chalk and bubbles I carry.  But more important than that is my energetic Adventure Bag, chalk full of the consciousness tools that allow me to stay happy, in balance and playful with my reality.One of the favorite things In MY energetic adventure bag, this holiday season, are the kooky rituals that keep me rocking, keep me playing in the yes, like…

#8  Peeing With the Trees 

I ONLY pee outside when I’m at my parent’s house. 

WAIT, don’t run! There is some very useful and only SLIGHTLY peepee-involving spiritual stuff here.

  
I’m not (very) feral or a pee advocate (wait, WHAT?) But I am a wide awake for the breezes at dawn, playful little spirit budlet, who sometimes gets kooky pants during the holidays, where there’s so much unintentional hooby hah.  And in order to maintain my connection with ME in the midst of all the hooby ha a la, I have developed playful rituals that keep me awake, conscious and consciously happy.The practice of peeing outside is an odd one I accidentally began many years ago, when all my sisters and their kids were visiting and I couldn’t wait for the bathroom to clear.  Beyond pee-full, I was also fussy, overfed, bored and impatient, so I huffed my way outside.  Once out there, the

stars started their magic on me, and by the time I’d finished and breathed the cool night air, and thanked the earth, I was unfussy, and had some clarity.  The tree pee interrupted my unconsciousness.  

#9  Boogie in bathrooms

just a 3 minute private jig with my headphones in will shake loose any fog and get you right back into your business. I also like to have a couple of aces up my sleeve, like fresh new high consciousness games that get everyone synched up and playing in their connectedness, or just being prepared to play your favorite game.  Idle hands really are the devils tools and if you don’t have deliberate structures offered, people tend to just default to more food more booze more wooze more lose.  

#10  Call your alignment bud

when you feel yourself losing momentum.  If you don’t have one, look around, they are the conscious, grounded, balance and nearly always happy person who loves the hoo hoo out of you and will say glorious things to you when you call or text, like “go climb a tree, NOW and don’t whine. It’s never attractive.”

# Yes.  OR, you can just take a shortcut to ABSOLUTE glee

by simply following the yesses.  Seriously, as Bashar says, if you are always following the path of your highest excitement, you’re always EXACTLY on path.  You can keep it simple this holiday by being a little fearless with your no’s and even more fearless with your yesses. What do you want to say yes to?  For the love of all that is, well, love, SAY THAT YES, and keep following the path of true yesses as they light up for you.  And let the Universal manager handle the rest of it.Happy holidays playful darlings,
all my love,
Natalie

Seasons of Slow Travel or 4 Things we kind of know now

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Today is our 90th day birthday!  
Whee HAWWWW!!!  We’ve been home-free & yes-bloomin’ for 90 days.  As Dickens likes to say, “it was the best of times, it was the most expansive of times…”  Wait, I think I’m misquoting.  But it has been one hootenanny of an adventure.

Let’s begin with a word about promises, especially all the ones we made at the beginning.  There’s a a chance that they may have been just a scoche cavalier. Like how a mother-to-be promises to scrapbook and journey every precious moment in her baby’s life, and then barely manages to scribble a single entry: “tomorrow you’re one!  Wowee! Mommy’s tired!”
For example, that whole, “we’ll blog regularly and let you all know what we’re doing thing every step of the way” thing was so much easier said than done!  Some days so much of our energy was going into the wing building that becomes super necessary when you deliberately hurl yourself off a cliff.  Also, about half way through, one of our members attracted in someone with less than wholesome intentions, so telling everyone where we were in every moment stopped being a yes (see Season of Shadow Dancing below).  But it’s been, bar none, the most exhilarating, life changing, thrilling and gorgeous time of our lives, so here’s a little of what we’ve learned along the way …
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1. There are seasons of slow travel.  There is a Season of Much Goingness, where the days are centered around Hard Travel, and there’s a Season of Stop Moving and Be Here and Receive Many Gifts. There is a Season of Yearning, and a Season of Delicious Balance, where everything is going well, and though growth opportunities still exist, mostly all the systems are clicking smoothly into place and there are no huge gaps. Which leads me to probably my favoritist one which is the Season of The Huge Gap, where you discover a brand new desire that you didn’t even know you had, and in the moment of discovery, you’re far from it. In the Season of The Huge Gap, you begin the oh so, oh so delicious journey towards this brand new dream.  And then there is the season we just passed through, a Season of Shadow Dancing, where something you didn’t know you have in your vibrational Craw becomes really REALLY clear. Here the structure of the travel keeps you so wide awake that you can’t numb out or ignore, so you listen, dance with, play into, and allow the energy to unstick, to flow again, and release stuff you’ve had stuck for eons.Sometimes the seasons line up perfectly with the natural cycles of the earth, like how the season of Shadow Dancing bloomed open for us in a blistering Omaha summer,  which was like being in a sweat lodge.  The things that we had ignored in our previous lives were suddenly there, ready to be played open into the highest versions of themselves.

It’s been really soothing to discover these seasons.  It lets me relax and stop trying to fight them.  Trying to produce during a Season of Shadow, or a Season of Hard Travel is like trying to cook spaghetti sauce on the wing of a jet in flight.  It’s messy, and impossible in the unfunnest of ways. But now, in this Season of Slowness and Sumptuous Clarity, I can’t stop producing. Songs, activity books, poems, and outlines for new books are just flying out of me like birds out the open window.

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2. Home really, really and freaking truly, is in the Joy.  

Our ideas of home have been so radically challenged by this Travel by Yes mission.  We began where most people begin, “home” refers to a specific house where the bulk of living occurs, and travel takes you away from that.  But embedded in the very notion of slow traveling the world, is the concept that we will be home inside the travel. In fact, we choose it because we believe it’s our current best option of being home in the world.

We’re uncovering and sifting through all these distinctions for ourselves, or as Rilke says, every day, we “live the question.”  When we find ourselves sitting across the table from a new person, who was a stranger two hours ago and is now a soulmate, and we’re sharing our hearts and giving each other the gifts we came to this life experience to give.  During those times, we are no longer thinking, “this kind of intimate, extraordinary connection is only possible while traveling, and soon I will go back to my “home life” because that dichotomy is gone.  There is no “other” life to compel our attention, nothing to go on vacation from.  In the Travel by Yessing, we are discovering how to live within our highest, yessiest choices.

The other day my young son asked me if we were home.  I told him that I feel home when I’m happy.  We were standing in a river and I asked if he was happy. We both agreed we were, and then he yelled out, “I’m home!”  I admit that there’s more to it than that, like beds, and keeping clothes dry, and all of that. But at its core, this truth feels clear, singing, and a beautiful place to stand while we continue to live the question.

And yes, I could and likely will write some really sexy things about our expanded and fluid notions of being an intentional nomadic community at home in the goingness, but suffice it to say here, we’ve realized that our joy is where we come home. And yeah, houses are a nice thing to be in.  Because showers.  And stoves.  And comfy-wumfy beds.  But so are tents, RV’s and the shadow the moon casts on the giant oak I slept beneath last night.  Home, home, home.

3. Dumbledore knew what he was doing, or, Wizardry really is the new black.  

We’ve noticed that when we’re doing our Conscious Play tools regularly, we’re able to show up more authentically as the playful badass butterfly-winged ninjas we are.  We’re not confused or flustered by the pace of this living. We’re up to speed with it and ready to put up more sails, take more wind, say bigger yesses.   But when we just float hither thither without using our CP tools to steer towards our highest yes, we tend to vibrate haphazardly. We give attention to any old thing, and that creates a more dramatic trajectory than any of us have any interest in.  

Ironically, this play company has gotten more serious about tuning our frequency than ever before.  In our prior, pre-leap lives, we could be sloppy with our thinking and draw in strange stuff, but still have a home, and jobs. But out here, in this fast moving stream, it’s more obvious when we’re being careless with our thoughts and drawing in stuff we don’t want to experience.  

Developing the systems and playful rituals that support us in being able to galavant, wizardly forward, has been some of the funnest co-creation I’ve ever been involved with.   And it gets yummier and more magical every day.  Which leads me to the 4th thang:

4. The best is yet to come.  

What an exciting thot!  We’re co-evolving an eco resort and dive shop down in Belize with the Yes-Mamas group. Neverland Beach Resort operates on the principles of Conscious Play and is destined to be one of our favorite places in the world.  We’ve got the first of six activity books in a series called The Yes Book, which helps you play your way through the six core playgrounds in your life coming to press very soon.  We’re scheming out a year of retreats and playshops all around the world, including the First Ever Conscious Play Summit in Maui!  And we’re dreaming forward a super fun contest that involves our RV and $100,000 going to a new Travel by Yes crew before we launch the European section of the tour.  We’re so excited to keep offering our playshops, guerrilla art and dance shenanigans everywhere we go and to keep co-blooming the systems that support us in playing on purpose in our gorgeous lives that we love with every drop.  More discoveries, frontiers, delicious encounters and slow perfect dances! AND next month is YesPlayMess!  Which we’ve been excited about for half a year!

We know we’ve only scratched the surface.  Ninety days has flown by.  So much growth and shared delight, it nearly overwhelms. So many dreams coming true and new dreams being born. We’ve realized that our forever favorite season is the Season of the Next, all shimmery with infinite possibilities.

So much love to all you Yessers out there in your perfect Season of Now.

Love,

The Travel by Yes Crew,

San Francisco, CA

Indiana Jones & the lover playshop   ( her perspective )

how do I play INSIDE of love …

To give you a sense of the scope of my journey as a lover:   

I was once so wholly baffled by love that when it went wrong, I would uproot my entire family’s lives in reactive helplessness to the drama of romance, having to move, and to seethe and blame and all that hullabaloo all ending in me feeling all sorts of unlovable, and all sorts of unable to change that.  

Fast forward to now, where last night I taught my first Lover Playshop with my Good Sweet Man and we rocked it  AND we have a waiting list for the next session (which we’ll do a lottery to choose.)   

I’ve gone from being out of control at the hands of dramatic romance, to being a teacher of a deeply conscious and playful way of loving that locates you in and deepens your center.  I’ve learned how to be as playful in love as I am in dancing or making mudpies, as loose, honest and true.

All that and I’m not even sure if such things as Lover Playshops actually exist, and perhaps this is one of the enormous pleasures of it all for me: being a kind of Indiana Jones of play.  Instead of whips and hat, I have a toolbox of games and sweetie pie processes that players can use to stay friendly and in proximity, even as they grow through challenges.

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To be clear! I still want the jacket.

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me n’ my honeyHoneylove

What a kick I get out of doing a thing that maybe ain’t been done before!  And doing it well! The first lover workshop was gorgeous, right out the gate, in fact, it was exactly as beautiful as I’ve dreamed it.  Which adds another layer of delight and satisfaction, that I’m using my deliberate creation skills to build the most delicious reality imaginable.  In the key of love

Finally, recognizing the Indiana Jones bit softens something that’s been a wee bit stuck:  How the heck do I answer the bajillion questions I get about play and what it is EXACTLY and how it all WORKS.  

I realize that I’m an adventurer on the frontier of conscious play.  Magellan didn’t know exactly what was on the other side of that good feeling urge. He just knew that his path was through that Straight, through the unknown, fueled by the delight of Going with the Goingness, with being in throes of genuine inspiration.

And I have no idea where all these playshops and all the work around conscious play leads, but I’m thrilled and ready on this incredible horizon.  And unlike so many stalwart adventurers who have gone afore me … 

I’m not alone.  

This ship of Discovery is full of loving playhomeees, like my Bernie and my Don and my playful community and all the new apprentices who are studying how to offer playshops all around the world, and like you, reading this blog about love and play, and sailing right along with all of us, in our hats and our cool leather jackets.  

(pssst ….  stay tuned for His Version of the journey coming up next!)

LO NAFSEEK LIRKOD

“After a bomb killed two dozen young people at a Tel Aviv Disco a few years ago, Israeli youth refused to be cowed.  They resumed a robust nightlife.  Today, outside the scene of the bombing, beneath a stone memorial listing the names of the dead, is a single inscription: LO NAFSEEK LIRKOD.

It means, “We won’t stop dancing.”  –Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post Magazine

Tool:  Allowing a playspace to deepenBackstory:    Yeah, so okay, I’ve been totally watching cheesy dance movies all by myself and LOVING THEM and feeling wildly inspired by them.  AND yeah, I totally passed on going to a two week dance camp.  And have decided to not go to ecstatic dance anymore.  AND yeah, I’ve totally been dancing alone in crazy places, in bathrooms, on the roots of trees that crawl out over the precipice of an island with new baby eagles, in the driver seat while the whole car is rolling with wild dancing people.

As my daughter infamously once said when she woke from a nap, inside of a crib that was being moved onto the moving truck, “What the heck is doing?”

What the heck IS doing?

I think what is doing, is that my dance playspace is deepening, like a hue, like an inevitability, like an epic tale.

And if I try to stay doing the same things, and pretending I am satisfied by them I’ll get nutzo and probably try to eat someone to relieve tension.

Playspaces are where we get to keep up with our expansion.  The play itself becomes a boat that locates us on the river of life and allows us to stay afloat, and lets the spirit whoop it up in the human realm, but that boat keeps moving.   And instead of clinging to where my dance boat has taken me, I’m becoming curious about where it’s taking me now…

I know that dance is where my body becomes a net for what the soul requires. So, just like in a relationship, I must stay present in the conversation, truly listening for what is next, what wants to come through this gorgeous net.

 

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What I want more of:  More lined up intentions.   OMG, do I love synching up intentions!  When players share a similar willingness and vision for the dance there is so much harmony and honey.

I want MISSIONS and high jinxs and impossible moments and deep, edgey play at the edges and in the centers… I want to join with people in high up places via dance. I want more body skills to go deeper into the play. I’d love to have a few wonderful local dance partners who help me explore the edge, who are listening, who don’t want to wallow in the stuck places, who are so familiar with joy and blooming that the compass of dance plays points to the second star to the right and straight on ’till morning.

Learning Lover Play

It’s summer,  the whole world is in bloom, and we’re all wearing as little as possible. Could there be a more delicious time to to deepen your frolic in the lover playspace? 

The inimitable Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate, in his first guest blog, explores the nuances of the lover journey from less fun to so much deep lover yum

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Don is a dancer and a lover. He lives and plays in New Hampshire with his family. 

He is the go to man for silly puddy, manly jokes about lady feet and the sweetest dance of your life. 



I have been involved with conscious play for about three months beginning with my first encounter with Play Nexus.  I have been involved in, what I would call semi-conscious play, for much longer.  By semi-conscious, I mean that I liked to play, thought about the benefits of being playful, and engaged regularly in playful practices.  What I didn’t do, was take the concept of play into the scary or difficult places.  Play or playfulness was an add-on or an aspect, a costume if you will.  I would use it occasionally to relieve tension or stress, but I never played with the tension and the stress.  I would use it as an escape from difficult emotions, but I never played with my difficult emotions.  I would use it to attract a lover, but I had never played with love.

Part of this realization came from a game called the play map.  With colorful pens and markers and a big piece of paper, we began creating a map of our primary playgrounds, or the places in our life where we wanted to play.  I found it easy to come up with a number of areas in my life where I feel really playful; giving gifts a real playground for me, and generosity in general is an active and conscious playground (though it was here that I began thinking of it as a playground).  My work was an area where I felt I needed to be more playful.  So I had maybe six or seven playgrounds on my map at the end.  When sharing our playgrounds, I realized a vital area I had left out, love and sex.  I had friendship on my map, my children were there, my community, but not the most vital and potentially rewarding area of my life.  It was eye opening to me that I had not even thought to put that on the map, and I definitely had time, I was searching my mind for other playgrounds during the exercise, but this area never emerged until I saw it on everyone else’s list.

What did that mean?  I realized that I viewed intimacy as work; hard work; often unpleasant work; serious work.  I have often split my relationships apart by separating friendship from intimacy.  “We are great friends” I would say, “but we struggle with intimacy”.  Or I would say “We have a great friendship and we also have a lot of passion”.  The difference, the reason for the split,  was that while I had learned to be playful around friendship, intimacy and sex were difficult and required, I thought, a different kind of attention.  Why so difficult?  I had a lot of fear; fear of inadequacy, of doing the wrong thing, of being too strong, of being too weak, of hurting, of not pleasing.  I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, and didn’t know how to learn.  So I separated those areas where I felt proficient, confident and playful, from those which required work to overcome my fears …

It was in the context of my realization that I was not playful in this essential aspect of my life, that I remembered the way that children play.  Children naturally practice the everyday things in life through their play.  They play house, they play mommy and daddy, they play at building and relating and living and dying.  They learn softer skills as well, like how to share and correct and own their own imagination and learn from each other.  Everyone understands that play is a vital, essential part of childhood development.  Somewhere, we lose that idea that, even though we are still learning, that play is our best tool for learning.  How that is lost is another discussion, but I think it is safe to say that, as a culture, we separate out those things that are work, and those things that are play; and we generally treat the things we view as most vital, most important to survival, as work; including our love relationships.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that a relationship is a lot of work.  What I am realizing is that relationships should be  lot of play.

The work ethic is deeply instilled in me through culture and family.  I often approach new things with the desire to work hard and master something, all with the hope that when I am proficient, I will be able to be relaxed, playful, and creative; as though playfulness and creativity are hard earned rights.  Needless to say, that approach rarely works.  Even when it appears to work, as it did when I was learning dance or database programming, it was because I was deeply in love with what I was doing, and with what I was learning.  These areas never felt like work because I took so much joy in them that I was naturally playing.

Realizing this really begged the questions: Do I love loving?  Do I love sex?  Do I love intimacy?  

The answer was that I wanted to love these things, but I had become so bogged down in my fears and my attempts to work my way to proficiency.

The answer to the real question, of how then do I fall in love with loving and intimacy and sex, is to play.  Like children play, I realized my way forward was to play with love and intimacy and sex.  In this context, play is not about form, but about attitude, it is about the approach to your lover.  Play is about experimenting emotionally, being willing to make a mistake, to do the wrong thing, to learn and grow, to say what you really think and feel and want.  Play is about coming in with the skills you have and enjoying the process of developing new skills and pathways and spaces.  Playfulness makes it easier to open, easier to try, easier to learn.  Play opens the doors of creativity and expression.  Play allows for differences, for rules and for rule changes, for creating new games and new roles and newness in general.

I have a new island on my play map; lover island.  It is largely unexplored.  I know there are high places and deep places to explore, and I am excited to engage in that exploration, to play and dance my way over this terrain.  I am falling in love with love itself, with intimacy and sex, and falling very deeply in love with my playful lover.