Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Symbol for Change and Transition

The butterfly is a life symbol for change and transition.  When I was a student with Martha Beck we used the analogy of the butterfly to learn our coaching tools.  The little caterpillar (client) is moving along happy in the world and then BOOM chaos hits (change for the client) and they feel the need to build a cocoon (work in a safe place).  Once they are in the cocoon their little bodies melt down into goo and that goo reorganizes into a butterfly (client works on limiting beliefs).  The butterfly struggles to free itself from its cocoon (client struggles with the new dream) and emerges bright, beautiful and winged (client changes).   We imagine the beautiful butterfly taking flight into a new world of hope and possibilities (client lives their new dream).  I do love butterflies and I love how they transition but this analogy for coaching clients just did not click with me.  Why?  It just wasn’t messy enough.  I chose the frog and here is why.
Frogs are born as tadpoles.  Tadpoles are like little fish with gills and tails.  For the first few days of life they hide from predators by living in muddy waters.  When my clients first start working with me they too are swimming in muddy waters.  They have no idea where they are going.  It is muddy and it is messy just like real life.
Tadpole growth depends on the tadpole but at about six weeks their tails grow longer so that they can swim out of the muddy waters and start looking for food.  That sounds about right.  It takes about 4-6 weeks before my clients are ready to start swimming out of muddy waters to look for food that feeds their souls.  At this point in the tadpoles life they begin to grow back legs.  Now, here is what I want you to understand... the tadpole is aware they are growing legs.  They are not in some cocoon safe and sound in a trance like goo coma.  Nope, they look back one day at their tails and say “what they hell is that? OMG, it is a leg growing!  Where did that come from?”
Next and in no short order the little tadpole is completely aware of new changes like new front legs, eyelids, thicker skin, bones, teeth and a disappearing tail.  The biggest change is trading gills for lungs.  From breathing muddy waters to fresh clean air.  Through coaching my clients learn how to STOP and breath.  Now, I am not a tadpole but I image that all these changes are painful.  My clients experience painful changes too.  It is muddy, dirty, messy and necessary. 
When all the necessary changes are made the adult frog hops onto land.  A promise land full of sunlight and bugs.  Hey, it’s a frogs dream.  When my clients have made their necessary changes they too hop into a land full of potential, promise and dreams.  Occasionally frogs will jump in muddy waters and swim around but they don’t stay there long.  Occasionally my clients will go skinny dipping into muddy waters but just like the frog they don’t stay there long.  Why?  Because when change occurs they have coaching tools that will help them hop back into their playfulness, potential, promise and dreams.
So now you know why frogs are plastered all over my web site, Facebook page, Twitter account and worksheets. 
Play Well!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Importance of Play

Children play.  Hopefully as a child you GOT to play a lot because playing helped you develop your imagination, social skills, brain development and emotional intelligence. If you did not get to play you may very well be reading this in a penitentiary somewhere. 

What is good for children and animals (yes animals play) is also good for adults.  We reach a certain age we start quoting 1 Corinthians 13:11 like Tammy Faye Bakker.  Yes, we can put away childish things and be adults but that doesn’t mean we should STOP playing!  Playing increases our joy hormone Norepinephrine, strengthens our problem solving skills, promotes creativity, helps us build relationships and of course it is FUN!
So why play?  Defining play is a tricky business because it is not a thing but rather a process.  A process that is fun, joyful and pleasurable.  So, for grandma knitting might push her play button but for me knitting would be torture.  Play is as individual as we are.  You know it when you are in it.
The opposite of play is not work or being serious.  The opposite of play is joyless.  Yep, you lose your mojo joy ball.  As a life and creativity coach I help my clients find their joy and I do it through Creative Play.
Now, for some this is a hard concept to grasp so I am going to break it down.  My Creative Play coaching model is influenced by Kaizen-Muse, Barbara Shea, Martha Beck, SARK and Dr. Stuart Brown.  My multi-colored tool box includes color exercises, music, aromatherapy, basic nutrition, body movement, guided imagery, laughter, education, awareness and energy.
Creative Play coaching sessions are designed for the client’s individual needs.  So a session might include talking, music, a color worksheet, a puppet show and a credit report.  It depends on what the client wants and needs.  Just because the session is playful doesn’t mean that it’s not serious business.  The purpose of the coaching session is to put the client into motion so they can find their joy and reach their goals.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

  The Rainbow Piano
I believe in the power of music. I know that it can feed and heal the soul. Music is energy that vibrates in musical motion. Quantum physics supports the vibration theory in that all of life has energy. Every person, place and thing has its own unique energy stamp that vibrates throughout the entire universe. What is super cool is that every sound you have ever made continues to echo throughout the universe. So, be very careful of what you say….it never goes away.

If we take a peek back in time we know that healing mantras, chants, incantations, music and sounds are as old as the human race. We know from archeologist records that in Baghdad healers used flutes and harps as medicine. The ancient Egyptians also used incantations to cure pain. What is really neat-o is that the Egyptian hieroglyph for joy, well-being and music are the same. In ancient Greece, Apollo was both the god of music and medicine. One of the greatest stories about healing music is in the Bible where David plays his harp to ease King Saul’s depression.

If we travel forward in time several thousand years we “modern” humans also have learned that music can be healing. Here in the U.S. we stared using “music therapy” after World War I and World War II. Recovering soldiers returning to the United States were placed in Veterans Hospitals. These Veterans suffered extreme physical pain and emotional trauma but when the local musicians showed up and started performing the Veterans reported less pain.

Ok! Music can be healing so what does one listen to? I know it is hard to believe but healing music and the head bangers ball is a wee bit different. For healing music to be healing the intent of the music must be healing. Hymns, chants, mantras, classical music, new age music and brain wave music fit into this category but don’t throw out AC/DC just yet. Music from our youth can be very comforting and healing because it takes us back in time and can bring us joy. I am 48 years old and still know all the words to Back in Black and Highway to Hell. Singing these songs to the top of my lungs brings me joy and joy heals.

As an Activity Consultant I offer Activity Professionals an awesome and cool class, Good Vibrations for Well-Being. This class covers healing music in a fun, festive and holistic way and is a great resource for Activity Professionals. As a Coach I use music to help my clients relax and let go of all those Lizard thoughts and fears.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Healing Play with Hearts



Valentine’s day is just around the corner and so why not have some fun and feel the love?  Ok, so here is what you will need:  At least two bags of Dove chocolates (that’s one bag for you and one bag to share) and Valentine day cards.  Now, if you are crafty and have the time then you can make your own OR you can purchase a box.  I like the ones that are made for children because they remind me of my own childhood. Ok, you have candy and cards so now it is time to make a list of those you would like to share with.  You can include neighbors, work mates, loved ones, church members….whoever you want. 

Select a Valentine and write something personal and special on the card but do not sign the card.  Put the card and the candy in the envelope and write the receiver's name on the envelope.  Deliver the card in a fun and playful way.  I like to leave them on desk, slide them under doors, hang them from door knobs and attach them to wind shield wipers.  Be festive and creative!

People that you know and love will receive a playful Valentine card from you BUT they won’t know who gave it to them.  Sometimes it is nice to do something without receiving credit.  It is a wee taste of freedom.  Just an act of kindness thrown out into the world.  That’s healing play!

Play Well,


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Play Date at the Park

You know, Play Dates aren't just for the kiddies.  I am in my 40's and I have play dates with my playmates.  If you missed it we are in 2013....a new year and the biggest new year resolution is to get into shape.  For those of you who know me I despise exercise.  BUT I do like playful outings.  So I double dog dare you (yes, double dog) to call up a playmate and set a play date for the PARK.  Yep, parks are wonderful places to spend a play date.  You can walk around the park, swing on swings, climb the jungle gym and push each other on the merry go round.  The bottom line is that you will have way more fun than a gym, get lots of exercise AND really connect with a friend.  If you think I am crazy and find this embarrassing then invite little people to tag along. Of course, they will think it is all about them.  So What?

Play Well,