Joy Ignites Success

Lets Talk About Play

By  - Thursday, May 09, 2019

Let’s Talk About Play!

Hearing about another school shooting incident in Colorado brought me to tears. Along with grief for victims and family, I feel overwhelming sadness about living in a world where this is becoming the norm. While I’m sure there are many contributing factors, the one I can speak to is the impact of the lack of movement and interactive play.
I wrote my thesis on Reclaiming An Adult Relationship to Play, as I believe it’s critically important for all of us to play throughout our lifetimes. But, today, I am looking at this from what the lack of play is doing to our children and our society.
About 20 years ago, I had the honor of participating in a playshop with my teacher, Christine Caldwell, and Dr.Stuart Brown, a leading researcher on play. Of the many benefits, aspects and implications surrounding play and the lack thereof, one of the most profound things I heard Dr. Brown say during that workshop, was that play deprivation is a leading indicator for mass murder. In fact, I remember him saying that it was the only correlation that could be found among mass murderers.
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Are you beating the fun out of yourself?

By  - Thursday, May 17, 2018

Are you beating the fun out of yourself?

Would you like to have more fun? Are you waiting and waiting for it to happen?
Most would say they’d like to have more fun. But most are also tyrants with themselves. Thoughts like “there’s no time to play”, “there’s too much to do” and “I’m too tired” rule the day. And too often, the belief is that the way to get things done is to just buckle down and do it.
This is the opposite of the truth. Fun is one of the best (if not the best) motivator there is. Pause for a moment to consider this- someone invites you to an event and it sounds like a lot of fun. You’re likely to say yes immediately, or figure out how to move things in your schedule to get there. In a different scenario, the same person invites you to an event, but this time you think to yourself “I should go because _______”. It doesn’t matter what you fill in the blank with, as soon as you tell yourself you should go, you’re in trouble. Read More

How Do We Let Go?

By  - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In 30 Ways or Less

It’s one thing to know you should let go and to even want to let go and it’s another thing to know how and actually let go. In this post, you'll find a summary of the three primary ways to let go and a list of 30 suggestions based in movement, play and Sedona releasing.
1.    Move it!
Emotions live in the body (for more about this, check out Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert). One of the most effective ways to let go of a feeling is to physically move it. Whether you dance with it, run through it or hike it up a mountain; getting conscious to what’s happening in your body will help you to let go. Suggestions 2-4, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22-24 and 27-30 all involve moving.
2.    Play with it!
Many of our habitual patterns developed when we were little trying on adult behaviors. Playing into stuck-ness is a natural way to let go. “In play all definitions slither, dance, combine, break apart, and recombine.” (S. Nachmanovitch, Free Play) Because of its spontaneous nature, play takes us out of strong habitual patterns and brings us into the present moment, where we can make a new choice. Suggestions 5-7, 12, 13, 17, 21, 25 and 26 all stem from play.
3.    Release it!
The Sedona Method is a phenomenal technique for letting go of unwanted thoughts and feelings. I have written many articles about and incorporating the method. The first two are the basics: 5 Ways to Release and The 4 Programs (that underlie thoughts, feelings and behaviors). This link takes you to 25 blogs that reference the Sedona Method. Suggestions 1, 2 and 16 are examples of Sedona Method releases.

30 Ways to Let Go of Unwanted Thoughts, Feelings, Sensations

1. Be with what is here is this moment. Allow the thoughts and sensations to do whatever they are doing.  Let go of wanting to change what is.
2. Just drop it. (pen analogy)
3. Use your arms to Give Up. (arms in air)
4. Shake or bounce it loose (thoughts, feelings and sensations).
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Making Fun of Yourself

By  - Wednesday, July 05, 2017

In a most delightful way!

Do you take yourself just a little too seriously?
Most of us do. We think that what we think, what we believe and what we feel (emotionally and physically) is significant, unique to us, and therefore very special.
And I’m certainly not going to be the one to suggest it’s not. But what if you did? What if you could see the humor in your life experiences? Do you think life might just get a little easier? A little more fun? If you’re open to giving it a try, here’s some ways you might be able to play with yourself (yes, I said that).
1. Turn the disturbing thought into a song (using a familiar tune from childhood works well)
2. Use a little sarcasm with yourself (e.g. “really, Melanie, I’m sure you are the only person on the planet to have ever felt this way”).
3. Bounce the thoughts in your mind’s eye, or physically bounce your body (it’s almost impossible to hold onto a thought while bouncing).
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Play More Earn More

By  - Monday, October 26, 2015

The Power of Play

Do you believe that stress and fatigue are the price you have to pay for success? Have you ever felt like just giving up and running away?  What if you have it all backwards; that the answer is not in working more, but in playing more?

Though play is often dismissed as frivolous, or as an indulgence, we are missing out on a key element to success.  Many of our great inventors, including Einstein, Franklin and Freud are recognized for being great players.
I define play as an open and unattached way of interacting with self, others or objects; spontaneous being.  But play is a personal experience; each person has their own interpretation and their own internal response when invited to play.  We each have our preferred ways of playing and our favorite playmates (dogs!).  But all too often we are plagued with messages that it is wrong or even irresponsible to play.

The documented benefits of play are numerous.  D.W. Winnicott, a leading play therapist, says “it is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self”.  Play fosters creativity and flexibility and brings us into relationship with others.  Research has shown that play triggers the secretion of serotonin and endorphin (chemicals associated with pleasure, reward and stress reduction).  Inviting play into our adult lives can momentarily and permanently change our perspective.
In play, we provide ourselves with options; we become flexible, spontaneous and creative.  Incorporating a play mentality into our lives can open the doorway to abundance in every area.

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Want to reduce Stress? Get Curious

By  - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

 “What would happen if I tried doing this differently?”

Curiosity is a playful state that demands presence. It’s very different from the analytical mind that tries to find solutions through thought. When we get curious, we don’t assume we already know the answer and just have to figure it out. There’s a recognition we don’t know what’s around the bend, literally or metaphorically.  Read More

Too Many Demands on Your Time?

By  - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Does Everybody Want Something From You? Read More

Play For Your Health: Renewing the Joy of Service

By  - Friday, August 23, 2013

The very word "caregiver" conjures up images of one who sacrifices him or herself for the good of others. The burnout rate for those working in the field is famously high. In our role as caregivers, we often ignore our own needs and forget to restore ourselves. We dismiss the pain in our back, the constant feeling of dread, or the lack of enthusiasm for life. The innate joy of service is often buried beneath the heaviness associated with obligation and responsibility. A playful spirit and lighthearted approach can ease our days and restore our sense of well-being. Read More

Feeling Stuck?

By  - Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do Something, or Do Nothing
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To Play or Not To Play- Part 2

By  - Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Stops Us From Playing?

Many adults, with many good reasons, resist playing.  Play has been judged harshly by our work oriented society.  Many of us have grown up with such messages as 'stop playing around, get back to work', 'you're acting like a child', 'aren't you ever going to grow up?', and 'there's no time to play'.  We have also been told there's a right and a wrong way to play and there's a time and place (which never seems to be here or now) to play.
In every workshop I’ve ever done, there is a quiver in the room when I say ‘let’s play’.  For some it’s a quiver of excitement, for many it’s the anxiety that gets produced when they feel like they may be put on the spot or embarrassed.  Because of its very nature, play often asks us to step out of our comfort zone and risk feeling foolish.  We are afraid of losing control, making mistakes, comparisons and failure.  We use the excuses of being too tired, too old and too busy to play.  
Almost every impediment to play revolves around fear.  Most of it imagined.  

What are the benefits of playing? Read More

About MSI

Melanie Smithson Institute is dedicated to enriching lives through embodied education and training; using movement, play and releasing to connect with innate wisdom and joy.  

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