know it

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To begin …

Start to listen, now.  What is extraordinary appears in the spaces of deeper and more exquisite listening. The day will carry you to new inner and outer vistas.  You can prepare by turning up your willingness and carving out some quiet space for just laying on the floor, or slowly thawing spring earth, and, just, listen.

 

Notice any deeper askings that might be knocking on your heart. You don’t need to do anything, just notice. The day is a little of a hot air balloon and will carry you up where clarity lives.  But for now, you might want to tune your inner ears to that precious and next level knocking.

 

Give some love to the part of your that might feel nervous, resistant or skittery about engaging something brand new.  What tools do you have for clearing a resistant frequency?  Grid, tap, gratitude the heck out of it?  What are ten things about it that feel bright and zooming?  I find that doing gratitude for an experience will return me to the heart of the original urge and keep me at a level where I can accept the gifts of it with delight and true fun.

 

Ask your higher self to pave the way for the most delicious and productive and shiver fish yespleasemore experience ever.  Then just hold that tone and let the Universe blow you away with deep abiding joy and clarity.

 

To bring …

 

Adventure bag.  Things that want to go in there.  Trust your intuition about this.  If your heart says bring slinky dress, bring the damn thing.

 

Slinky dress.  Just kidding. I mean, more clothes than just the one pair.  You want in and out shoes. Versatile clothing and a jacket that’ll do it’s work.  What else?  Smell into the heart of adventure, trust what you hear. Pack accordingly.

 

Always, your joyful willingness, curiosity and unquenchable yes.

In great joy,

Cap’n Nat

For those of you who’ve sent your owls to me to confirm your spot, you’ll receive your mission details for meet up location on the evening of the 22nd.  Be ready to be ready.

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I’m doing a course that requires people to really adventure each week. The kind that gets under your skin. The kind that takes you out of your skin. and leaves you a tad skinless on your own shores. A few of the students keep asking how to adventure. And after pushing it off, ‘I’m taking a stab at the fucking how. Tho, writing about skinless shores is not The Easy.

How to fucking adventure

0. 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.”

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, fun house-dance land. Find your sleeping sloth teenager Fascination and gently whisper to her that it might be time to start thinkin’ about waking up.

2. Stop cleaning and tidying e’rr thing.

Take a stab at learning to abide and breathe through the part of you that simply will not, shall not! abide any unclosed gap, even if the gap isn’t ready to close, even if the question hasn’t been truly answered, even if the journey is not over, the closing note yet to sing out. There’s a level of presence of big picture lens wearing that helps here.

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.

This doesn’t mean going full slob, it means learning to make distinctions around when you are unnerved by a thriving ecosystem because you’re not up to speed with the boom whoosh or when something is truly broken or needs a clean up. The crux of the distinction for me lies in my emotional response, the first makes me feel uncomfortable and I just want to clean it away, where as a true urge to clean, mend, heal, restore order feels relieving, bettering.

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 its very nature, an adventure will carry you into chaos of impossibility, that’s what makes it an adventure: 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 your powers. So useful, if you’re into that kind of thing.

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, (which, is so effing important to me). At the time, my biking playground was closed. I had a bunch of ideas 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, I said yes, I didn’t know I was saying yes to the tiny tip of the iceberg of adventure that I could see, and that I would have to 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.

Here’s how it went: Becca and I sailed out at dawn off the top of the mountain where we’d camped the night before in the rigs with the 13. I can still feel the exhilaration and absolute life force thrill of pulling out onto the open road for the first time. Especially because those first few miles took us down a very steep mountain downhill, crazy fast downhill, in and out of the first rays of sun dropping me back into the cool pine dense patches of shadow, me whizzing so fast, and absolutely that every thought left my head.

Then a hill that I had to climb appeared, and I instantly wanted nothing to do with it. I remembered clearly why I didn’t like biking. That uphill crap was for over achievers! But Becca the Butt was up ahead, clearly not stopping, clearly not struggling. Did I want her to leave me in the dust? I did not. And fuck going back up that nine mile sheer drop off of a cliff I’d just come down.

So forward, up the next Vermont mountain became my yes. 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 (it turned out to be TWENTY SIX miles actually. I have the best skanky lie-face bitch best friend ever) 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 it 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, somewhere I’d not been in a long while, and never accessed biking. 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.

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.

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 fully.

Adventuring well is like log rolling, if you stop before the river has carried you to the other side, you get immediately rolled. In extreme sports this can mean death or mega injury. In adventures of the heart, it might mean becoming inauthentic and misrepresenting yourself. Either way, the heart of the adventure begins to immediately die the moment you stop truly conversing with her.

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 girl balls to expect it or go looking for it.

Beyond issues of girl balls and language acquisition, you’ve got to remember that the 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.

It took me out of the part of my thinking apparatus that confusedly felt that it needed 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.

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I’ve festival these sweet buns on and then back off again, sang hallelujah beneath a waterfall with other exhausted dancers and gave back our tears to the river, you know the tears, the ones that come when you are so IN that the only response left is to become the river. In my life of mucho shared play and revelry, I’ve also fallen apart, had my tent stolen, had my massive tent destroyed by storm, lost kids, lost myself, and found my deeper self each time. I’ve learned a few things.  This was written, originally, for those who are coming to the upcoming Yescapades, but I decided to share it with you cuz, it tis the season of revelry.

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1. Establish your Fort/ode to You love nest/nook/alignment pod
When we play deeply and in new and expansive ways, we get tired, we get off, stuff comes up.  Creating a space for to take good care of you allows you to stay with the playful momentum and to be awake and renewed and in your groove when the next Yes comes.  When we don’t get what we need, we shut down.  Creating a little nook as homage to your brightest spark signals a deeper ignition.
So, first things first, you’ll set up a tent or build a fort for you.  We have fort experts who are here to hang sheets, ribbons, and play open this tender little space with you.
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our resident fort building experts. Mackerel, in the middle, is unusually overdressed

It’s a simple thing, really, sheets over a tree limb and a pillow can do.  The key bit is that it’s there when you need to recharge, or to be alone.  Often festivals and shared play experiences wear people down because they don’t have a zone to just come to center.

Next, stock your alignment pod with the tools and things that help you come to center. A temporary alter to your joy?  A project that’s been hailing you?  Mine has a simple mat and sheet to sleep on, a great pen and something I feel excited to write on, a candle and a sparking thing.  Some music making thing.  And beauty.  A flower, a wispy, light catching thing.
Now, leave it.  It’s there for just you.  There if you want to party with yourself or to invite someone in for tea, poetry or to watch the stars from your fort.
2. Don’t. Over. Think. It.
If you feel a buzz, come. The end.
We lose trust with our core selves when we second guess our intuitive urges.  We rebuild that essential relationship when we begin to listen without our questioning or judging.
3. Scan your range of emotions about the Yescapades
What’s your mix?
This composite, whatever is, is what you’ll experience.  Got a hodgepodge of wariness, curiosity, excitement and worry?  That’s the kind of cake that’ll come out of the oven.
If you want a different, tastier, less confused cake, make a better recipe.  I like to lean in the direction of the things that are bright for me. Worry is an old, unfun habit and when I lean towards my genuine thrill, worry loses traction, easily, like a leaf falling off a tire as it dries.
Try doing a rampage of what you’re excited about for this experience and really knuckle into the bright bits, looking for the sweet meats and expanding on them.  Doing so will bring you back into range of your original bright intuitive urge to say yes.  Rampages usually start slow and build momentum. If you’re not familiar with that momentum, enjoy playing around with the sheer thrill of building positive momentum.
You can also do a grid on how you want to feel during.  Put on some captivating toons and then type into the ‘vision cloud’ emotional words that truly evoke.  Feel each one, and let the next word take you deeper into how you want to feel. Journey with the words. Feel free to repeat. It’s about the tone you’re evoking, not about originality or word accuracy.  Have fun with tone finding and activating.
This is perhaps the most important step because this tiny bit of ‘work’ sets you on an entirely new path.
4.  Pack intuitively.
Like in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium where the bouncy balls kept jumping back into the customer’s bag. They wanted to adventure with that fella!  What wants to come with you to the Yescapades?  is there a journal, a scrapbook, painting, project, tinker toy sculpture that you’ve been longing to play more deeply with?  Does it want to come along? Ask!  And then pack accordingly.
Deep play is DEEPLY inpsiring and you’re going to have a lot of insight and creative inspiration flowing through you. You may want to bring your nets to catch those butterflies!
We love what happens to a ‘normal’ day when you approach it from the coccoon of some unexpected dressing, a costume, or a sparking or new way of dressing.  The unexpected element adds both an element of playful unknown to each interaction, and an invitation for the world to play with you back.
Also! playing with dressing differently can be a journey of discovery into the flavors of you. This is a perfect opportunity to explore the infinity of flavors that you are and are forever becoming.
5. Trust that the yes will deepen.
That urge to say yes to this retreat will soon lead you to an even deeper and sweeter yes.  And as you continue to play with, in and through it, you’ll discover the yes beyond all other yesses (spoiler: You are that Yes.)
Get ready to meet, and to play deliciously, with that Yes.
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Have you ever had one of your big dreams come true? I’m talking about the really big giant dreams that you’ve had for a really, really long time. That’s what is happening for me right now. As I’m writing this, a ridiculously adorable little lizard is climbing up my wall. And, yes, I did dream a little bigger than that. Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to live on the ocean. And since the first time I came to Belize in 1996, I wanted to specifically live on the ocean in Belize. And here I am, hence the lizard.

One of the interesting things about manifesting something so tremendous is that it is a little shocking when life continues to be, well, life. There’s a little bit of pressure to feel like I’m supposed to be floating on the clouds all the time. Like I should never have a need for my conscious play tools ever again.

It’s simply not the case. I still get periodically (ok, several times a day) irritated with my toddlers, and even though I love the heat, I occasionally feel uncomfortably warm (I’m typing this naked). I still need to do my morning routine of gratitude and meditation and motion. I still periodically need focus wheels and grids. I still have to stay aware and mind my vibration and continue to care how I feel. It’s just a WHOLE LOT EASIER NOW!

I think often of the Abraham saying that the only reason you want something is that you believe the having of it will make you feel good. And I do. It’s easier here in this place that matches so many of my preferences to lift myself back up and stay there for longer.
Here’s where manifesting a really big dream like this is super helpful. First it is such an incredible touchstone that I can manifest anything. I’ve been lining up to get here for 19 years. I basically feel like a rock star for manifesting this. AND my favorite is that I have realized that one of the reasons I wanted to be here is that it has so many of my favorite play places, and that’s THE EASIEST AND BESTEST way to lift back up, right? Most of the people here are really joyful. There’s tons of music and dancing. There are loads of kids here, and pretty much everybody loves kids. People have a deep connection to their culture, heritage, art and traditions. There’s ocean! And reef! And loads of animals and amazing natural spaces. And oh my Lord, the food!
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And so I realized that is the deeper meaning of that Abraham saying for me. Our dreams, the things we are manifesting in our lives, are almost always connected to our favorite play spaces.
There’s no doubt you can be happy anywhere. I proved that a couple summers ago (perhaps we can talk about that in another post). Happiness is never about a place, but surrounding myself with some of my favorite ways to play has been such a blessing and feels like an incredible step forward for me.

 

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This is NOT me, sadly, I wish it was. My body-imposed cavegirl diet is costing me MY LUSCIOUS BUTT

Tonight I biked hard for the first time this year. And by hard, I mean, racing vehicles hard. I was giddy with the new buds of late winter pushing up already in the deep South. I was giddy to be on my pony again and super giddy from this week of deep play in the online playshop Money Boogie.

Considering the depths of my joy, it’s surprising to think that it took me a full three minutes to realize that I might be dying.

And then another SOLID minute or two to make the decision to get off my bike. That seems like a fair bit of lag time for such a critical feeling situation.

I laid there in the sun, kind of sort of bleeding from the chest. I’d recently gotten some kind of lung funk and hadn’t realized the extent of it until I PLAYED THIS HARD.

You know where this is going.

This is a metaphor.

Okay, so, when you are sitting down on the couch, you may never know you have a tender spot in your foot, or whatever. It is in the wondrous activation of deep play that we encounter, and play with and love into and EVENTUALLY play through those wobbly bits.

But there is no rush to get through. Life is delicious. The stillness is delicious. All of the all of it, is so very very delicious.

I discovered the joy of pain as I laid there in the new sun, hurting so effing bad and so effing alive. And I realized that my lungs want some love. And so I breathed the thousand healing smiles inside of the sun down into my lungs and Nidra-ed my insides back into calm and realzied that I had found my pace again.

For a moment, I’d eagerly pony-jumped ahead of the pace of my delight AND THAT’S FUN TOO, because damn it life IS EXCITING and if you aren’t eagerly leaping ahead, you aren’t in range of the thrills that are your birth right, but for a sustained playful existence, I prefer staying close to the pace of my delight.

Mmm, roll that around a moment: The pace of my delight.

What other freaking pace is there?

Okay, here’s the helpful bits:

You can tell you’re leaving it when you start to feel more anxious than excited. You can tune back the pace a bit by doing a calming breathing or taking a quick five minute stroll or boogie to your favorite song.

You can tell you’re finding the pace because the excitement feels just right, the joy feels Just Right, YOU FEEL JUST RIGHT BECAUSE YOU ARE.

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The pace of your delight is the pace of allowing.

Really, when you get down to it, it’s the only pace in town.

Happy delighting! Happy perfect now, however it finds you, it’s perfect, and the moment you decide it is, you find the pace again …  ahhh …
Love, Yee Old Bloody Lung Kinsey

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!)

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.  

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Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.     ~  Tom Robbins

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The Backstory:  Late night, trying to get my creative jiggly on. We’ve  been frittering around in story prompts for a while, and not finding a point of entry into the juice when Miss Tuscaloosa suggests that we write a manifesto.
Immediately, I feel a rush of equal parts fear and excitement.  Can one write a manifesto for play?  Can I?
At first glance, manifestos seems so unsilly, so serious. But then I start to get curious about the bright whooshing spark I felt at the idea, I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice to young creatives to simply flow their curiosity instead of trying to create something.
Hours later, I had down flowed that curiosity. Flowed it so hard, and, SO FUNLY.  That unexpected flow carried me far from where I stood when I felt a little intimidated of Writing a Manifesto. I’m not sure what to say with or about the finished product.  I don’t totally understand parts of it.  But I think I understand the curiosity that drove its creation and I trust it.
Can you smell the invitation embedded up in here?
You sure can. But will you? Will you journey into the truer honey of a thing?  Will you share the manifesto that’s snuggled in your heart with the world? And with me too?  Or, not even the manifesto, how about the thing that is sparking, that would even want that kind of playing with.
If you want a more tangible advice on how to, check this article.
I can’t wait!!!!
Love,
Cap’n Natt

Manifesto for Conscious Play

Introduction:

We are undoing what is done unproper

making room at the table for what is fluid, what is grace, is new. We are forging new portals for Delight, shaving milliseconds off the time it takes to acknowledge that inconvenience or interruption is not actually possible, and in that remembering, we are sailing forth onto the proper timbers of adventure, again and again.  We’ve been studying the sacred art of bally hoo for a white rainbow of lifetimes and now we are …

Sending burning arrows

The dark night seas are lit with our Viking funerals for the false and fear-based comfort plantations that whittle aliveness to a precarious ember, leaving the soul to pound on the body window, desperate to live.  We’re planting real possibilities in their stead, where one whole-hearted silly can cure, completely, the divide between soul and the orange groves at dawn.  We’re laughing, like it’s our job, truth or daring,  kisses and parlays, opting for truth only to loose the heavy and stupid secrets into the uncaring ear-baskets of a stranger who will wisely let them shatter to the grocery floor, and we are …

Amping up our taste for freedom

because going crazy on it feels oasis excessive after desert nothingness and not only can we handle too much choice, too much wahoo wonderment, too much saturation of pleasure, we require those exact conditions, like a plant refuses to fuck around without the Sun. We are not fucking around without the sun either, we are …

Leaving windows open

in everything, every boat, every poem, every road trip, and especially, in every saving-grace interruption (that fantastic silly fuck-up that illumes the infinite truth about how shiver-fish delicious it is to be this alive.)  And we are …

Issuing product recalls for the sleeping shoppers

If you bought the bippy that says you have to stop playing in order to be a proper adult, send it back.  And stop buying bippies.  We are …

Reminding

You are really a field of bougainvillea gone brainwild in the year of rain. You are cotton candy running round n round the stick. You are the return on eons of I-think-I-can investments.  And you are see through with yes. And we are see through with yes, we are …

Playing

For, to truly play, is to storm yourself exactly new.

             A sad                heart              
will  have full  &   proper vantage 
         restored in a single silver-heeled dip            
              into true and woo hooing                   
                 play,  which  just                      
                     happens  to be                          
                         the  best – ist                            
                          Way to be                             
a true 

you


1. Burn down the idea that play equals childish. The two notions are bound together in a common cultural attitude that applauds children frolicking yet chastises adults engaged in play as lazy or miscreant. Let joy’s fire burn you free.

2. If children and animals use play as a way of practicing and becoming ready for the next stage of their personal evolution, because playing helps them stay loose, honed, open, pliant, responsive, curious, and in flow, while locating them energetically snuggled up next to the heart of Infinite Possibility, then in what universe does it make a lick of sense for anyone to give up the best tool in their arsenal for keeping them up to speed with their own expansion?

3. Play does not require spontaneity; it breeds it.

4. The more authentically and fully you engage with the endeavor before you, the more whoosh, presence, willingness and invisible resources you’ll have available on the canvas of your own now (this is called playing hard, or fully.)  This allows your state of being to continually upshift into more and more usable, energized and clear states. Happy people are more successful in every area of life.  Learning how to play with how you do life lets you begin to leverage the power of your own joy.  That’s when the real fun begins.

5. Play is inherently elevating. You don’t need to feel playful or joyful to begin because the act of playing will raise you up, like a lock system in a canal, because playing drops you into Flow. Here’s how: the endeavors we choose to play in compel our attention, naturally, towards things that make us feel good when we focus upon them, (ooo, color! wow, math secrets! yay, I crushed that jump! Ahhh, my body dancing in perfect harmony with this beautiful music, so satisfy! etc). You can help the rising action by letting giving over to your fascination and getting rid of interruptions, or, really, anything that distracts you from the fascination.

6. Play singularizes your focus, calling you to be more and more present with the now (like meditation) so you feel less split and this also helps your boat to rise.  The game, the artistic engagement, the deep drop into composition, accepting the playful invitation, regardless the form, all have within them the bridge you need to return to your natural state of buoyancy.  Trust the rising nature of play.

7. Dr. Who’s phone booth is very different on the inside. People immersed, happy, and armpit-deep in a play-space, are in a different state of being, with an entirely different perspective and point of attraction than what you might observe from the outside.  Don’t waste time judging other people’s ways of playing.  Reinvest that judgey energy into a high yield inquiry into where your joy lives and what YOUR next adventure smells like (you do you, bruh).

8. Unwend softly. Remembering how to play can feel like standing in line waiting to be chosen in gym class. At first, you may be paralyzed between the twin fears of worrying what to do if someone passes you the ball, and worrying what to do if no one ever does. Don’t worry dumpling, cuz, like every other person, you were born a perfect player.  Let your journey back to recovering your playful heart be a private and perfectly messy endeavor, just like, well, life.  Primordial ooze, earthquakes and rainbows and all.

9. Structure facilitates abandonment. While a structured game may seem, from your current position of grumpy malaise, to be lame and unattractive, the structure of the play-space will support you in your journey from Grump to Good by compelling your attention away from those thoughts that were making you grumpy and luring your attention onto things that genuinely rock the casbah, especially your casbah.  

10. Most people haven’t even begun to play their own life because they’re still tangled up in what other people are doing, or not doing, or might be secretly doing.  Bleh.  Don’t waste waste your precious creative life energy in other people’s business. You have no idea what situations or growth curves they’re coming out of, or where they’re tenderly journeying towards. Every milli-ounce of brainjuice you use trying to figure out their business is brainjuice that you’re not using to play open your own beautiful business. All that wasted brainjuice could be used to quietly listen for what new music or adventure is hailing you, or to tune into the baby sprout urges of creative inspiration, it’s brainjuice you could be using to find and tend your own damn fine and perfectly perfect for you Yes.

11. Play restores proper vantage. Paradoxically, it is in the moment of great muddle when play has the most opportunity to be a springboard into a refreshed and profound liberation, even though, in those moments, being playful will feel distant and difficult. The more open you are to life playing through you, the more likely it is that you’ll soon discover how play is the fastest way out of a stuck state of being and up to a usable vantage.

12. #12 is currently lost in the Tardis. Though we expect Time to fold in on itself again quite soon, at which point, we’ll take a screenshot of whatever #12 is/was/ever could be, and let ya know.

13. Deep play throws us into the eternal present tense. There is no past or future when you are deeply absorbed in play. There isn’t a lot of complicatedness or weirdness here. Just you, the real you. Just Beingness. Hang out here, we dare ya.

13. Play fills you up, buttercup. Filling up your joy coffers with a nice, deep dip into a solid play-space will leave you with a tremendous and comprehensive readiness that travels well and can’t be easily shaken.

14. Let play infiltrate your whole life. Play a poem instead of writing it. Play dishes (bubbles!) Play sex (bubbles!)  Simply shifting your verb shifts your brain into a can’t-get-it-wrong mindset.

 



This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.    Alan Wilson Watts

Tool:  Following the Aliveness

The Backstory:  It’s winter in New England and the girls and I are coming home the island on the ferry.Even though it is, as an old cowboy lover used to say, “colder than a witches tit in a brass bra,” I can’t bring myself to go into the berth below. I see the other passengers relaxing and removing their coats in the warm cozy, but I feel too hungry for wind to ignore that hunger. It’s just one of those awakey nights.

As I climb the stairs the boat pulls out of dock and as I feel the movingness begin I sigh into it. 

It is the exact shape and tenor as the movingness within. The wind in me recognizes itself in this cold, sluicing breeze off the midnight ocean and my heart warms in the honeyed hello.

As I stand, grinning into the waves, my girls join me and we laugh at being the only ones on a freezing deck, we’re overjoyed at the sudden privacy within a public sphere. The delight invites a deeper noticing…

…how light is carried differently through a frosty, moist air field, everything shimmers, the space between has become a prism carrying the world to us in a splay of light and color that dazzles…

…how the roll of the waves do not sicken the stomach when you are up here, staying with them, rolling into the tuck and hop…

….how dancing is just as fine a way to stay warm as sitting…

….how the wind carries voices back again to the singers, for a split second, when you are singing on an open deck, so that the music you are making checks in on you to make sure things are going well… 


…how the cosmos is reflected for the tiniest recurring fraction of a second on each wave, when the angle is just right…

Today, I celebrate being awake for those moments when the angle is just right.

I hope your angles are singing today.

And that you have the bravery to sing back.