26 January 2017

Living Life



Within each of us is the capacity to grow or diminish.
Today, I can choose to be a person with a big heart or a shriveled spirit.
A soul can expand or contract.
I can be a welcoming, hospitable presence or an isolating influence.

I invite you to join me today in embracing qualities that enable us to live life to the fullest. Which of these is most needed…for you? Take your time and consider each one slowly, if you are able.

1. Practicing gentleness.
2. Forgiving someone.
3. Listening well.
4. Truth-telling.
5. Stepping out in courage and faith.
6. Being generous.
7. Noticing goodness.
8. Enjoying uniqueness.
9. Making peace.
10. Being patient.
11. Waiting to speak until anger has subsided.
12. Encouraging another.
13. Observing silence, resting from words.
14. Playing! Creating!
15. Working hard.
16. Persevering.
17. Slowing down.
18. Saying “I’m sorry.”

I wonder: Which one of these fits you best? And, I wonder: Do you have anything else that comes to mind?


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09 January 2017

learning from birds

Here's a great thought from e.e. cummings.

Art by Lina Ekstrand. Pattern design for Oriflame, 2013.
Visit her website. See more of her work here.




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07 January 2017

What Lights Your Fire?

What Lights Your Fire?
by Troy Cady

I love asking this question because every time I ask it I see the person or group of people come alive before my very eyes.

Their eyes open wide with life, their voices become excited, vibrant…they often begin to speak more quickly, loudly…they become bold, their chest swells, their body becomes animated, their hands move and grasp the air like they are passionately sculpting, creative and focused.

I’ve had the privilege in the past few months of working with groups and individuals to help them articulate and be true to vision, purpose and mission…all fueled by passion. In almost every instance I start with a variant of the key question: “What lights your fire?”

In every instance, the answer helps the group or person obtain clarity about what they should do next. When we are true to what energizes us we find an inexhaustible source of life that buoys us up when the going gets tough, when we don’t know what to do.

I think of a scene in The Lord of the Rings (love that movie, by the way!) when Gandalf and the Fellowship of the Ring are in the mines of Moria. They pause because Gandalf doesn’t know which path to take next and then, after a brief rest, Gandalf suddenly knows the way to go.

Someone asks him how he figured it out and he replies that he knew which way to take because “the air doesn’t smell so foul down here. When in doubt…follow your nose!”

I think of passion in a similar vein. When you wake up one day and you don’t know which way to take, what to do, ask yourself what energizes you. The road will take you to a place where the air is sweeter, even if the place is darkness all around you. You’ll know it’s the right way because it’s the way of hope...and hope is what takes you through tough times. 

In the end, joy is your strength.

So I invite you to consider today: what lights your fire?

……………….


PlayFull offers coaching and team building designed to help you articulate your passion and stay true to it. Contact us if you’d like to know how we can help you thrive. 

05 December 2016

How The Church Tells Time

Here's a playful way to think about time: "The ending is a beginning and the beginning is an ending." PlayFull advocates an approach to children's ministry that we call "Worshipful Play." In this short video, children from Grace Covenant Church in Chicago tell the story of "How the Church Tells Time." Enjoy, friends!




PlayFull offers training in children's ministry! To learn how we can serve you, email us.




26 October 2016

"We meet that hunger by spreading joy."



"The best way to show your gratitude to God and people is to accept everything with joy.…We may not be able to give much but we can always give the joy that springs from a heart that is in love with God. All over the world people are hungry and thirsty for God’s love. We meet that hunger by spreading joy." -Mother Teresa, No Greater Love

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11 July 2016

Thomas a Kempis: "be ready also to hear the opinions of others"

Thomas รก Kempis has some good words to say about hearing and receiving the opinions of others. At PlayFull, we think such receptivity is key to living a playful life. In a politically charged climate, these words are worthy of being practiced.

"But if Christ is amongst us, then it is necessary that we sometimes yield up our own opinion for the sake of peace. Who is so wise as to have perfect knowledge of all things? Therefore trust not too much to thine own opinion, but be ready also to hear the opinions of others. Though thine own opinion be good, yet if for the love of God thou foregoest it, and followest that of another, thou shalt the more profit thereby."          -The Imitation of Christ*

Play from the inside out. We invite you to like PlayFull on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading.

*The quote appeared July 11, 2016 via Plough’s Daily Dig.

10 July 2016

Author George Saunders: "...the only tool we have is empathy..."


There is a wonderful excerpt from an interview of author George Saunders by Lynn Neary of NPR on her program Weekend Edition Saturday (July 9, 2016). The interview is titled “In Search For Answers, Author George Saunders Covers Trump Campaign.”

In PlayFull’s Creative Awakening course, we discuss the importance of specificity in artistic expression. It’s interesting to see that Saunders cites specificity as also key to generating understanding of those who come from a different background—whether that difference is political, racial, or religious. In this way, specificity has the capacity to nurture empathy and compassion for those we regard as the Other.

The following quote is a transcript of an interview so it doesn’t read like edited print work. I invite you to bear with the glitches in the language and read for the overall meaning. Here is what Saunders said:

SAUNDERS: Well, because the way that media falls on our mind and then inflects it has changed so much. You know, as a fiction writer, one of things you learn is God lives in specificity. You know, human kindness is increased as we pursue specificity.

So in a story, for example, you'll start off with a character who is a little bit of a cartoon. That's not satisfying and you start revising. And as you revise you always are making it better by being specific and by observing more closely, which actually is really the same as saying you love your characters. The close observation equals love of them.

In the process, the piece gets more big-hearted, more fair, it includes more things and more people. So I think, and this - I know this is a, you know, kind of a big theory, but I think something that I can't name about our media has made us move away from that kind of specificity and that kind of curiosity. So it doesn't - the problem doesn't go away no matter what happens in November. And I think the - what I tried to get at in the piece is that the only tool we have is empathy and some development of mutual affection for the other side.

You can listen to the rest of the interview here.


Play from the inside-out. We invite you to like PlayFull on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading.