Get your ya-ya’s out – it’s play time!

November 21, 2007 at 6:53 pm | Posted in Play | 2 Comments
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little-wolf.png“Little Wolf” is the name of the magical house and wild mountain acreage owned by my cousin Susan, her husband, and members of his family. Isolated amid conifers and madrone high above the Klamath River in northern California, Little Wolf is a sanctuary for those seeking simplicity. I returned to Phoenix late last week after spending 5 days at Little Wolf . . . and by now I’ve almost made the shift from spontaneous wilderness time to my more structured urban agenda.

This is the third fall season I’ve visited Susan at Little Wolf. Susan’s sister, Lindy, also flew out this year from Santa Fe, New Mexico. The three of us share similar life passions and spiritual awareness, and during our get-away time we talked about everything under the sun, from our children, to creative destiny, to sex. We also hiked in the woods, read, sang, slept in late, baked a pumpkin pie, prayed, worked with clay, drank wine, and swapped stories by the fire. We giggled like school girls and laughed — a lot! Laughed so hard our stomachs ached. In short, we played together.

easusan.pngOn our last morning we reflected on what our most meaningful take-aways would be from this year’s Little Wolf experience. Lindy began with, “Peace, fulfillment, rest.” Susan added, “A more open approach to community.” I said, “A reminder to create time for active play.”

For me, active play means more than relaxing or taking part in sports activities. It’s about seeking interests we choose to practice or discover for the pure, exhilarating, participatory fun of it. There’s an element of learning in it and also a willingness to release anxiety about a particular pursuit being embarrassing, weird, or overly difficult.

easusanlindy.pngEmbracing active play starts with identifying elements that, perhaps, we’ve always thought sounded appealing but (for a hundred different reasons) have never given a try. What do you think might energize you or get you laughing so uproariously that the tears stream down your face? Here are some of the active play ideas I’m considering for myself as well as for my husband and myself:

* Classes in gourmet cooking, home decorating, desert landscaping, pottery-making, jewelry-making, western swing dancing (this last one makes me nervous but at the same time, I can see it being really fun)

* Hiking or rafting trips in all the U.S. national parks, shorter local hiking trips

* Bed-and-breakfast hopping

* Singing in a folk or bluegrass group

What are some of the things you already do or that you’d like to do for “active play,” to get your ya-ya’s out?



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  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I had minor foot surgery 2 days ago and have been ordered by my doctor to stay off my feet for 3-4 days. So my sweet husband is roasting our turkey today and buying all the side dishes. Under these circumstances, does laying on the couch with my foot on ice qualify as “playing?”

  2. I know understand “Active Play” – I love the concept! I would like to take more photos. I used to have a camera glued to my hand and in the past year I tend to feel “I don’t have time for all that”. I was shooting some pics this morning as we were making pies. How much fun!!! It took me back to my happy place. I will be taking more photos. I will be taking more video (this will be a new thing). I will be on camera much more and have fun with it! I will be interviewing more people. I’m going to get out and make some fun this year while I’m growing my business and connecting with new people.

    Thanks Ellen 🙂

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