papa and mama

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

papa and mama

mama and papa bear in love on the shore

Spoiler: this is a post about the power of playing together to reunite, reignite and invigorate the core love a family shares and knows and can and should swim in.  If that doesn’t interest you, thanks for visiting our blog and have a majestic father’s day wherever you are.

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 virtually impenetrable.  Compared to some of my vital friendships, he felt as real to me as a piece of firewood, and then there was all that childhood ballyhoo lurking in the shadows.  Ack!  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.

We’d spent a lifetime accumulating stories (he’s never there for me, she’s dangerous, selfish, careless etc.) Day after day, as we worked 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 don’t think I’ll ever really know what broke it open.  I’m kind of a miracle junky, so let’s just say my profound wantingness to be Inside of love brought a silly little miracle.

It’s early morning. I’m alone in the cathredral part of the living room, way up high, and was really into what I was doing.  I was smoothing a rounded wall, and the morning light was following the lines with a kind of tender helpfulness.  We had oldies playing and I remember consciously realizing that I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

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

My mind was like one of those machines they use to check your vision at the eye doctor as it flipped 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!

No longer were we estranged father and daughter, but Lucy and Goosey, rough, joking workers who 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 were both transported by the role playing and I was genuinely curious about what he’d say next. 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 a relational shift as that. And I’m still kind of in love with the sweet magic of it. We never went back to our former relationship. 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.

I find myself using my conscious play tools to maintain the deep knowingness that I discovered with him, of our inherent joyfulnessness and our ability to access it, together, at will.  You can find those lovely tools here if you’re curious.

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,

mama and papa and me

Lucy n’ Goosey with Mama bear!

“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.”

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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

IMG_4504

IMG_4504Today my first & most goddess daughter made the teary decision

to move with her boyfriend to Belize (where I had thought I was going too, but as I neared the dream, I realized it was someone else’s, not mine, or not yet mine.  And there is sweetness in that acknowledgement)  But oh, my beloved banana leaving the nest after 18 of the most exquisite years together.

Amidst the many, many layers of tears, I stumbled upon this 3 yr old letter that I actually wrote to her.

Oh, sweet god, more type-crying …

Not because I will miss her, holy hell, will I

but these new tears are for the realization that

it was Me, following an inspiration, 3 years ago, has given myself the exact gift I need today, to be ok

Dear Lovely,

no matter how happiness comes, you have to be willing to its arrival. (And you, my dear goddess daughter, are one of the most willing players I’ve ever known).

We up our willingness by actively looking for what to truly, soul swooningly love about the possibilities and by refusing to fuss at the stuff you don’t.  Refusing even when the monkey mind is insistent, even when the rest of the world wants to wallow. Refusing because you are literally the goddess of New Life and Spring and it is your birthright to be and bring light wherever you go.

Fussing slows down the whush. It creates more and more drag because it draws stuff of a similar quality to it.  Focusing on what’s good purifies what comes in.  Wheels up, take off.  Clouds, wind, sun and higher perspective.

Focusing on what is working, what is good leads you to happiness, which is full of whush. If your happy heart had a finger, it could lick it and stick it out the window and feel the wind coursing by you as you zoom.

The clearer you become, the more sensitive you become and the more you will be able to discern what is calling you, and not all things call equally. As Rumi says, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”

If you simply keep taking the happy elevator up over and over, than you will live a good life, which is, well, good. I mean, Good! But there is a life a few clicks beyond a Good! life and that is a meaningful life. You enter this kind of living, by consistently engaging in things that are meaningful to you. You discover these meaningful places by following your great Happy Urges.

Next time you’re feeling explicitly grand, take a look around, with a very clear heart and very clear listening ears, and you will see that what is calling you, from this great height, are activities, ideas, insights, zoomy woomy yesses, that feel warmer, brighter, more inviting than other ideas. These are your points of entry into a kind of play that allows you to Be in ways that are so satisfying, and, are also are taking you towards your dreams.

Yes, Persephone Quinn Meercat Kinsey-Gray-Clover-Wolverine the Tiger, your life has caused you to dream for yourself. Yes, even beyond the awesomeness that you already are (how is that possible?)

Astonishing thought: there is no end to the awesome you can/will be. And these dreams, some of which span lifetimes, will hail you. It is easiest to hear those hailings when you are very happy, so next time you’re giddy skiddy do, take a gander! The urges from there are so powerful because they sync you up with experiences on your dream meridians, and feel important and exciting to you.

So, the question is not: less of computer? or more of writing? or less of taterbatin’ ? and more of corn spooning?  It’s more of careful listening. These joyous moments float us into our deepest, most satisfying playgrounds where we do the work/play/ninja-lovin’ that we came here to do and when we’re happy we can hear and respond in kind to those epiphanal urges most.

After a deeply immersed writing or arting, ever notice how you feel as if the whole vast river of life has coursed through, leaving you clean, cleared, and infinitely perfect?

Yes well, that’s because it actually has.  Just keep playing.  Great Knowingness always follows great joy.

Love, Mama

And so, as suggested by my older, wiser self, who wasn’t swimming in tears when she wrote this, I want to consciously bring my focus to the parts that are wonderful about now:

my beautiful girl is so IN love

And in love with a splendid manlet. And their relationship is the nicest, clearest love play I’ve seen in, ever.  That’s a wonderful thing to feed. She’s going on a soul expanding adventure of a lifetime.  She’s going into the wilds. She’s going to start something meaningful and to be deeply and powerfully involved. It’s gonna rock her socks and build her wings.

I get to grow bigger and become the next version of myself. I’ve always dreaded the day of Leaving The Nest.  And now I get to live, grow and actively play through one of my biggest fears. Wow.  Who will I be on the other side?

My grid for this:

tending this tender heart

tending this tender heart

Ahhh, it felt better to make some art. To use this energy that keeps wanting to run it’s head against grief and sadness and to let it out the window a little, forge it into something, the forging, the making, it moves away from helplessness and into where the energy can move, can pick me up again.

The art play brought me to a more connected, loving & deeply glad state of being

I felt gladness for her, and ease.  And love. Oh, so much love.  And clarity.  There is no end to  love. It shifts and grows. I’ll always be her Mum. The games we get to play together shift now, and will always shift. I’m curious about the next fun, the next closeness, sweetness and adventures.

I’m curious about your deep and tender playing with now moments.  We’re slowly building a nexus of conscious players here are so glad you’ve found us. Would love to have you shout out and introduce yourselves and your journey below.

Love,

Natalie