Permission to Play

Permission to Play


 I love this phrase.  What does it mean to give yourself permission to play? And more importantly; why do we have to give ourselves permission?  Shouldn’t this just be a natural expression in our lives.

Many years ago I watched a documentary on dolphins.  Some amazing person figured out how to film dolphins in their natural habitat by creating a robot camera that was “hidden” in a fake dolphin.  It could swim with the dolphins and they did not seem to mind it being there.

What was great about this was that so many previously unknown dolphin behaviours were discovered.  One of them was that dolphins retain their sense of playfulness all their lives.

I remember one scene where the dolphins were “throwing” a piece of seaweed back and forth between themselves as if it were a ball.  And what struck the researchers so powerfully was that there was no reason for this behavior, it was just for fun.

I am a very disciplined person.  I do my practices on a regular basis. Oftentimes, getting stressed if I do not get the chance to do them because of life circumstances that arise.

What… who gets stressed if they do not meditate?

Let’s face it…no one should but I often do.  Not a trait that I am proud of.  Being focused and discipline is a good thing but staying soft and compassionate around that discipline is a better thing.

I have been asking myself lately…how can I give myself more permission to play.  And what about play is good for me?  Everything.

Play is defined as “an activity without purpose or aim”.  No goal in mind except for the sense of enjoyment.

Researchers have noticed that in animals this play behavior develops other fundamental skill sets that would normally not be developed.  For instance, connection to others in their group or a feeling arises that stimulates the body’s natural pleasure hormones.  Animals that play often develop new limits to their capacities that they normally would not have experienced.

Think about the times that you just let go in some activity often finding out that your capability was more than you previously experienced.

This was something I noticed when I was learning how to balance in an forearm stand  (aka…Pincha Mayurasana).  I had been diligently practicing at the wall for years with all the correct alignment and then one day I just went in the center of the room, let go of focusing so much on alignment and just played with kicking up.  Bingo….I balanced.  No effort just pure fun.  It was great.

Most of the researches agree….play is a necessary activity for us to feel relaxed, connected to others and happy.

Giving myself permission to play is my new mantra. 

Maybe it can be yours.


Resting in Just Being Meditation

Resting in Just Being Meditation

I use this type of meditation when I am in need of recollecting myself into myself.  Sitting still, putting everything on pause, noticing where I am and just simply breathing helps me settle the muddy waters.

When I can settle into just being alive in this very body, mind, place and present circumstances with acceptance, I begin to sense an ever-present quietness.  An inner stillness that I would describe like an ocean.  It is big and deep.  And I feel it there underneath all of the striving, doing and incessant wanting.

It is a silent awake space of pure being-ness.  Of pure awareness.

When I sit in this space, I take refuge and it gives me strength for my life.

Resting in Just Being Meditation

11 minute guided meditation


Taking A Sacred Pause

Taking A Sacred Pause


 On January 14th, my mother unexpectedly died.   One month before, I sat with  a good  friend of mine as she passed away from cancer.

Since January through June is my busy time of year…teacher trainings, workshops, retreats, my classes full of re-committed yoga students, I kept on going with my normal schedule.  No time to pause and reflect on the affect these major life events were having on me and my life.

 “I will take a break when all of my obligations were complete.” I kept saying to myself while I inwardly knew I needed some time to process.

How well planned and responsible of me.  Complete your schedule as usual and then take a break.

Fortunately; things do not always work out like we planned.

On March 27th, my body not my mind took the steering wheel of my life and turned my well organized plans completely around.  I woke up with a horrible fever and could not get out of bed.  And that is where I stayed for the 2 weeks.

That was my call to surrender to what was really happening, I needed to take a pause from my very scheduled and fully booked life.   I knew I needed time to just be with all that had happened.

 I guess I could say that finally my body had the courage to show my mind what was necessary.

“A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving towards any goal. This pause can occur in the midst of almost any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or for seasons of our life.”

– Tara Brach

Learning to create an open space within our lives and not fill it up with anything including all the “have to’s or shoulds” takes courage.  Learning to become strong enough to hold what may come up when we take this sacred pause, can feel like an act of inner bravery.

That is what it felt like to me.

Usually the time when we most need to take this pause is exactly when it feels impossible for us to do so.  This is where the courage comes in.  Stepping back in that moment becomes quite powerful because we realize that the things in our lives that we have placed so much importance on……can actually wait ….and…everything will be fine.

Deep breath.

The beautiful thing that happened in my experience is that after I took this sacred pause* and returned to my activities, I returned with an increased presence and an ability to make some different choices.

I felt an inner sense of being more whole again.

A sacred pause* can be any length of time.  A day, a month or months, or years.  It can even be an hour.  It just needs to be a long enough suspension of your normal activities for you to tune into what is actually existing inside of you…as it is….without the need to wish it was different.  And then to just be with what you find with loving acceptance and kindness…and great patience.

Patience to wait until you hear what you should do next.

“Do not try and save the whole world or do anything grandiose; instead create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently…..”

– Martha Postelwaite