Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Practice of Doing Nothing

by Jennifer Denning

I’m having an unproductive August. I have been visiting family in Ohio, biking, reading a good book, staying in my pajamas. I haven’t been on Facebook much. Haven’t written much or tackled many of those “to-do’s” I had in mind at the beginning of the summer. My children’s rooms remain cluttered as does my closet.

Doing nothing with my daughter, Elise

I’m okay with this. In fact, in this moment of quiet, I’m taking a savoring moment to celebrate the value of relaxing my agendas for a while. I notice that my well-being depends on periods of inner and outer relaxation. The openness of my agenda makes room for the unexpected. It’s in this restfulness that “something more” sometimes shows up. Organically I find myself pulled to write this morning and I feel an aliveness in it; embracing the wind on my face as I bike reaffirms my trust in the goodness of life, and allowing some disorder in my home is good practice for remembering there are many things I am not in control of.

A line from the movie, “Boyhood” sticks with me this morning. One of the characters says something like, “People are always talking about ‘seize the moment’, but I think they’ve got it wrong- the moment seizes us.” Perhaps periods of “doing nothing” create some space for those moments.

A moment that seized me- tranquility at The Holden Arboretum in Ohio

In InterPlay one of our practices is stillness. Taking a deep breath is a moment of stillness. Pausing before speaking is stillness. Listening for what wants to happen next is stillness. We don’t always need long stretches of “doing nothing,” sometimes little daily moments are enough.

Wishing you little sips of stillness as needed and affirmation that sometimes we also need to rest a while with an empty cup!

Saturday, August 9, 2014


INTERPLAY ATLANTA "SECOND SATURDAY": Saying Yes (photo by InterPlayer Ann Connor)
by Ruth Schowalter, leader-in-training
The second Saturday of each month rocks in HOTlanta! Why? Because InterPlay Atlanta (Like us on Facebook at InterPlay Atlanta) meets to play for 90 minutes!
WALK, RUN, STOP. Play allows us to make choices that are affirming. Here Atlanta InterPlayers make choices about what feels good--walking, running, stopping--we can do it all at the speed of our own bodies! (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

This month, Jennifer Denning, director of InterPlay Atlanta, was away and invited leaders-in-training Christine Gautreaux and me, Ruth Schowalter, to lead the August Second Saturday. Since many play sessions have a theme, Christine and I decided to choose something decidedly affirmative to play with--the theme of YES!

Using Alice Teeter's poem, "Say Yes," from her book, When It Happens to You, as a foundation for our play, we moved forming shapes and stillness around her poetic words:
Say Yes
Step off into this unknown
Into this marvelous and terrible Yes
Yes to unknowing, Yes
Fling your arms wide to Yes
Be light and say Yes
Say Yes softly in a whisper
Float on Yes
Carry Yes like a feather you find floating
That the wind will take away
Blow Yes like a dandelion seed
Scatter it to the winds
And me, I say Yes waiting for your Yes
Leaning in and watching for it floating down
A maple seed on the breeze spiraling
Wisps of white floating across my field of vision
My ears are listening for that whisper
You are standing on the sweet spot of the stage
Your voice will carry for eons and leagues
In your softest song say Yes to me
I hear you from this thousand miles away

We babbled on the theme of YES...
(photo by Ruth Schowalter)
 We made hand dances on behalf of YES...
(photo by Ruth Schowalter)
We sang one and three breath songs expressing YES...
(photo by Christine Nichols Gautreaux)
We collaborated in trios saying YES...
When YES happens to you! (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
We concluded our 90-minute session feeling energized, playful, and embodying YES. Think about how you might embody YES in your life. And think about attending one of our Second Saturdays.

YES! (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
We have a special Second Saturday happening in September.  Phil Porter, one of InterPlay's co-founders will be facilitating and offering some other playshops while visiting Atlanta! InterPlay Atlanta keeps building momentum!