Holding tight to the pure joy of summer!
As this colorful, little mnchkin played at my feet I watched her eye the swimming dock time and again. She was waiting for her mom to return from kayaking and contemplating swimming to that dock to wait for her at the same time – you could see it in her eyes. I was in awe of her fearlessness. As an adult I often find myself turning over every angle of a situation before diving in when in reality sometimes you just need to dive in right? Sometimes in life you find yourself in unexpectedly wonderful situations and you just need to go for it and figure it out in mid-flight.
While that line of thinking was not going to work for this little cutie who needs to work on swimming first, I have her to thank for the inspiration to begin and just go. I am now more aware of the moments I’m thinking things to death so that I can just go for it. If life is to be the ultimate adventure then I’m going to walk my talk and dive into everyday moments and see what magic I can discover!
When is the last time you went for something? How did it feel?
Original Painting by Natasha Reilly © 2014
We are a beautiful reflection of our Universe.
There are rivers of color, powerful mountains, wild winds, unforgettable sunsets, the promise of sunrises, stardust trailing shooting stars, deep night, imaginative, unseen creatures, and the hope of unknown magnificence.
Original Photo by Natasha Reilly © 2014
I remember the sweet dream of my boy. As he grew inside my body, I cherished his hiccups that filled me with giggles. On a printout from a machine that could see through my skin into his sacred space, me, my husband and our nurse were shocked to discover a smile. His smile. Then and now, I fill with with joy when I see it.
I have watched him strive to learn quickly so he could bound after his sibling. His eyes wide with innocence and mischief, he dances and laughs, stomps his feet and yells. He longs to be bigger and faster. I long to savor this moment, to marinate in its goodness on good days and bad.
His tiny hands find my neck and slide down my hair as he climbs up on my lap for a cuddle.
As he lays in my arms I want to say…don’t rush, baby. Take your time. Watch the rainfall. Dance in puddles. Run for no reason except to feel the wind on your skin. Daydream on warm summer afternoons. Chase birds. Watch snails. Ride scooters and big wheels with wild abandon. Laugh so loud and so hard you fall off your chair. Stomp your feet. Fight for what you believe in. Stay open to learning. Ask questions. Cry when it hurts. Make wishes as you scatter the pieces of dandelion. Announce all you want to do. Write in chalk. Swim in the ocean. Collect rocks and seashells. Wear that smile on your lips and in your heart today and always.
“Happy Birthday, love,” is what I whisper as I place a kiss upon his head. I will remind him of all of this someday but today, I will simply hold my little one close to my heart and together we will watch the rain slowly fall outside.
Original Painting by Natasha Reilly ©2014
My dreams have been incredibly intense lately. Though I often dream, I cannot remember a time in my life when colors have been so vivid that as I get closer to them in my dream I wake up. I have woken with my heart racing and color filling my entire vision. The colors would stay with me throughout the day and only thing to do seemed to be to paint. As I did I heard the title of this piece in my head. When I was finished I sat with this awhile. There is so much in here including people so far removed from one another even I wonder how they will dance.
What do you see when you look at this work?
I kept hearing, “Paint something abstract.” When it got so loud and persistent that I could no longer ignore it, I stole colors from the sky and water and began to play. This is what was born.
Amazing things happen when we listen to that beautiful little voice within.
From where I sit I could tell you about a million things wrong with these photos. I’m incredibly skilled at pinpointing ALL of my physical flaws. I try to find them first because if I can be my harshest critic then perhaps it won’t be as bad when others judge me. Like my interesting yet flawed logic on that one? Then I let in the critical voices – past and present – that have shared their thoughts on my appearance. And if I were to miss anything I am sure there are folks out there I may not even know who would be happy to find additional flaws. In a world striving to take the perfect “selfie” and often relying on airbrushing and retouching to create the perfect image – because we could never dare to be anything less than perfect – it doesn’t take a creative genius to pick out my flaws or anyone else’s for that matter. What takes creativity and courage is finding the beauty in the flaws. Now that’s a talent and these photos that my three-year-old son took were the most amazing invitations to do just that.
For as long as this little guy has been able to talk he’s asked for a camera. He’s played with disposables, my camera phone and, in this instance, my “good” camera. I’ve given him cameras time and again just as I have my daughter because I love to see the way the world looks through their eyes. Each time they take photos I am reminded of the beauty I miss when I am “too busy.” In this moment of play that we shared, my son reminded me of how I am seen in his eyes.
Photo by A. © 2014
‘Yes,’ I thought, ‘you did.’ This is me – raw and, quite honestly, soulful. This is who I am with my children.
I am not guarded with my kids. I am not leery of their motives or uncertain about whether or not they will accept me (I know there will a come a time when they won’t accept me and will think I am uncool ) but with them I am me. I’ve struggled with trust throughout my life as many have but I trust in them and they are quite often my teachers as I rediscover trust, especially in myself.
My children are young enough that the world hasn’t tainted their responses to beauty yet. They do not yet know that the world will tell them that in order to fit in they need to change themselves. They do not know that some people will try to tell them what their idea of beauty should be. I am fighting that tooth and nail to help them to remember to see the beauty in people that extends far beyond the color of skin or the wheels on a wheelchair or prosthetic limbs or anything else that may be deemed a “flaw” by our society. I am not a Pollyanna. I know the messages that exist. I understand how hard it is to fight against everything from ridiculous advertising messages to radical hatred and I don’t claim to know how to change it all but the best I can do is try. The best I can do is to work as hard as I possibly can to help my kids grow up seeing beyond the messages and instead listening to and trusting their ideas about beauty and truth. As naïve as it might sound I believe there is a way to change the conversation enough to find a space where people can be themselves. I believe there is a way to see the true beauty in people, a way to communicate that and a way to see them thrive and in thriving, change the world for the better.
My son invited me to play. Without knowing it, he asked me to put aside any fear and join him in discovery. It was one of the best moments and he captured me. He is right about that. He captured ALL my imperfections, my heart, my honesty and my soul right here in one moment.
I love that my children invite me to play and find a voice within me that says screw the selfie, screw the perfect picture pose. They allow me for a moment to just be me and to laugh and be silly and through that I unearth fears, in this scenario, the fear of how negatively I would be be judged if I were seen just as I am. That fear is far less powerful then what they showed me which is how much I am loved. Thank you kiddos for bringing me out to play and reminding me that it’s ok to love me just as I am. I love you both far more than you will ever know.
It’s summer! It doesn’t matter where you are in the world if you can imagine the warmth of summer sun, the sound of giggles while running through sprinklers and the magic of fireflies, you can make it summer anywhere. And summer means camp but so often it’s camp for kids and I’m left wondering – why should kids have all the fun?
Summer Camp for the Playful Soul is for the kid inside all of us and the only thing you need to pack is your willingness let go and have fun.
What will you do, you ask?
Enjoy 4 weeks of creative exploration designed to fit seamlessly into your daily life.
Creative Writing - You will be writing but NOT the kind of writing that was mandated in school or even the kinds of writing you might do while at work. This is the most unusual creative writing you’ve ever done – I promise you. Play with words in a new way that opens up their power and allows you to discover new things you didn’t even realize about yourself. You might even fall in love with it and continue long after the class is over!
Photography - You will be taking photos. You do not need any technical training, you just need a camera OR camera phone and a willingness to venture out into your world ready to find things that will fill you with joy.
Doodling – Yes you read that right. You will be playing with colors and doodles and wishing you did not have to stop to do anything else in your day.
Each week, you will watch videos and receive new and unusual missions that will help you to find joy and magic in yourself and the world around you. And when you find those things here’s what happens – the people around you begin to play too. Could there be anything better?
You will have me – Natasha – cheering for you and the entire community of playful souls as you soar to new heights of imaginative freedom.
If you have the audacity to let yourself play and bring unbridled joy into your life then this course is for you. Spend this summer making the world more awesome simply by unleashing free-loving, playful YOU!
Class begins on July 7th and runs through August 1st. The cost for this class is $45.00. Come experience summer like you never have before!
To hear my thoughts on play and meet an incredible artists and woman, pop over to Hali Karla’s blog and check out our Holistic Creative Chat! To watch it, click HERE!