This is a guest post from the fabulous Play Instigator Sylvia van Bruggen who encourages us to get unstuck and to create a more awesome life through play. Enjoy!

This past year I have learned two very important things in my writing.

One is that when I play with words, I never lose. I always gain something fresh and new, something I could not have written before. Play teaches me my voice.

The second is that when I play, when I allow myself to get out of the realm of thoughts (aka the mind) into a complete state of “let’s see what happens when I just let my hands move over the keyboard”, I feel a smile bubble up.

I can feel that smile as I add more and more words to this blogpost.

This beautiful, playful attitude towards my work is giving me a wonderful gift, it connects me to my soul.


This may sound like gobbledegook to you, so I am going to do something to help you find play in the only way I can do it: by playing with you.

So let’s say you and I are sitting in a space, across from each other. We both sit with a big notepad or art pad in front of us, we hold pens in our hands, or brushes, or crayons. You pick your own, I think I will stick with my trusty 0.2 felt tip pen.

You look at the paper in front of you, and you say that you are ready to play. Immediately you feel something tug at your heartstrings. Someone. The fierce Inner Two Year Old, your strong, opinionated, imaginative, deeply creative self leaps forward from your heart and says, “Yay! Let’s!”

You take a deep, meditative breath, and you start to doodle, it can be words or drawings, everything you do in this state of mind is doodling. It’s play. It’s liberating.

The more the pen moves, the more a smile wells up in you, the more everything falls away until only that moment exists. Only that moment in which you create.

This is playful spirituality, and the only way it can express itself is in the smile as you doodle.


Do you feel your Inner Two Year Old inside of you bouncing up and down in utter, pure joy for being able to create with a smile? Or is she still a bit shy, afraid to come out?

No matter what, just whisper these magical words, and eventually she will come out to play. Always. The magical words are these:

“I am ready to play.”


There is another beautiful benefit in this. The more you play, the more your heart heals,. The more pain you release. The more your Inner Two Year Old comes to the surface in your daily life.

And then you will find that everything you do, even doing the dishes, can be done with a smile that comes straight from your spirit.

How do YOU embrace the playful spirit in your life?

Hi!
Sylvia van Bruggen is a Writer. Artist. Play Instigator. Nudger of the Stuck. Author of Ganesha's Blessings and MindScreens. Hipstamatic addict. Fueled by green tea. Creator of #JoyNotesWriter, Artist, Play Instigator.
Be sure to visit her website and read her blog as well as friend her on Facebook and follow her on twitter!

Every month I'm going to pull a card for us as a guide for self love work that we might want to focus on through out the month. This month's card comes from the gorgeous tarot deck Tarot the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore with art by Julia Jeffrey. It's gorgeous by the way.

When we look at self love the image that comes to mind might be a lot of rainbows, glitter, and unicorns, but those of us that have done the work know that learning to love yourself can be a painful process. It involves facing a lot of demons and overcoming them.

Sometimes it even feels like things get worse before they get better.


When you aren't paying attention to how you're treating yourself you can live in a sort of oblivion about your life. Self love usually starts when you hit a low point and realize all of the ways your lack of love is negatively affecting your life.

Coming to that realization that things are wrong in your life because you haven't cared enough, or known how, to give yourself something better can really do a number on your self-esteem.

At best - you realize that you have a lot of work to do to begin to see yourself in a loving way. At worse - you realize that your relationships are hindering you from loving yourself, that you've done damage to your body by not loving it the way you should, and that your lack of love for yourself has manifested itself in a lot of acting out and toxic behavior and nothing in your life is how you want it.

Try not completely freaking out when those feelings hit you.


The Ten of Swords pictures the goddess Morrigan going into battle with her sword held high and a look of pure fury on her face. She is the bringer of war and death. She says "I am ending this today."

This card reminds us to tap into our warrior spirit and to not be afraid to fight for ourselves and for the lives that we want. This card represents a situation coming to a head that is yearning for completion, it is an end to suffering but it's one that you have to fight for. You've got to be your own advocate. You've got to take care of business and emerge on the other side victorious.

Because you are a survivor and a warrior. 


Destruction may seem like it's a bad thing but at the end what you get is relief and the room to start something new. If you want a unique-to-you self love reading check out this page.

What things in your life need to be destroyed or broken down?


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Valentine's Day doesn't have to suck.!

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For all of the shy girls out there I want you to know that I see you, I hear you, and I love you.

I know what it’s like to hover on the outside, too afraid to draw notice to yourself for fear that you won’t be good enough, or interesting enough, or that you’ll have to bend or break just to fit in. That your words will come out jumbled, that there will be awkward silences, and that your brain won't come up with the words to fill the silence.

I want to tell you a few things.

You are wise. You know how to sit back and read situations and see the things that no one else sees in the studiousness of your quiet. You hold answers that everyone else is too loud to hear. You have a better understanding of people because you see their actions as well as hear their words. You have worth.

When people ask you how you’re doing and you easily steer the conversation back to them, because it’s easier to listen to them speak than to open yourself up to vulnerability I want you to know that what you say and how you feel is important and it matters because you matter.

You choose your words wisely, and that’s a pretty amazing skill. It doesn’t make you damaged that you have to think before your speak, that you don’t like being put on the spot. That’s okay too. You aren’t the only one that has to rehearse conversations in your head or work up the bravery to say things that need to be said.

Because you are brave. You’re braver than a lot of people because things don’t come easily to you. We look at other people and we wonder how they do it. How they pick up the phone and chat so easily, how they walk up to strangers without that urge to flee, how parties and social events are fun and not a trail.

It may be hard to express yourself with spoken words but I bet you make amazing art, or have insightful ideas, or write words that are powerful. Words aren't always needed. Actions can speak louder and you get that.

It’s okay to prefer your book to going out. And you might not have a lot of friends but the ones you have are probably pretty amazing. You understand how amazing it is to have friendships that are deep instead of superficial and you know how to be grateful for the people that get you and your special brand of weird, odd, and awkward. And if you are feeling friendless right now you can join our group. Some of us are shy ones as well. We get how sometimes sitting behind the computer screen lets you be truly you, we don’t judge.

There are women in your tribe, even though you might not know it.

You don’t need to change to be loved, you are worthy and amazing in all your shy-girl loveliness.


There is no greater gift that you can give yourself than loving yourself fully. Your mind. Your soul. Your lovely body.

My word of the year is depth and I’ve been exploring what that means for me and my life. Exploration is fun, I suggest you try it sometime, even though it's terrifying. As someone who dislikes change and tends to get very comfy with the status quo, going deeper in my life has been a bit of a challenge, but as the days have flown by this month, I've realized it's been a good one.

I invite you all to live more deeply with me.


Emotions.

I’ve been digging deep into my emotions and even doing something completely radical. Being honest about them! I’m one of those people that when you ask me how I'm doing the words “I’m doing great, how are you?” come out of my mouth without any thought on my brain’s part. I could be falling apart on the inside but I still plaster on a big cheesy grin and tell the world that I'm doing fine.

It’s a defense mechanism that basically says "enough about me, tell me about you so I can focus on something else because I don't want to talk about me because me feelings aren't [worthy/important/valid/relatable] or I'm just too [sensitive/emotional/dramatic.

I’ve been trying to be more conscious of that and allow myself to actually whine when I need to just have a good venting session or to actually talk about my problems instead of superwomaning it. Never doubt that sharing your feels is a great form of self care. Sometimes you just gotta let it out with a few f-bombs and that’s all you need to feel better.

Food.

I’m not much of a cook. If you have hopes that I’m ever going to post delicious looking recipes... nope. Not happening. I once tried to make pancakes in the microwave, just saying. However, there is something to be said for actually stretching those culinary muscles and I have. One of my goals this month is to actually make real food that requires prep time and the use of an oven/stove. I made homemade gyros, which were amaaazing, baked cookies, and chili should be happening this week. That act of going through the steps to create something that nourishes your body is a pretty powerful thing.

Spirituality. 

One of my favorite things about this human existence thing we're all doing is that connection with Spirit/God/Divine. I can’t even describe the way that it makes me feel inside, as if I am above everything but also essentially part of it.

Living with depth means meditating, listening to inspirational music, videos, and podcasts. It also means living my life in a way that goes far below just the surface. Stop. Breathe. Pray. Connect.
I’m also on the hunt for really nourishing change-your-life books to read, tell me your suggestions!

Free Time. 

Okay, this is a big one. I’m one of those people that when I’m bored or feeling listless I’ll sit at the computer and get sucked into that strange vortex of checking facebook and then my email... and then facebook again... back to email... facebook... click on a link... and two hours later I’ve gone on some weird strange journey where I’m reading about 6 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Related and I’m watching a video on youtube of a hairless cat swimming in a bathtub and I’ve done nothing productive or nourishing.

I don’t know why I do it, I’m just sitting there you know, looking for something to interest me, thinking that I’ll find it if I refresh Facebook enough times. This month has been a lesson in stepping away from the computer and going to one of those hobbies that does make me feel good instead of just occupied. I’ve read a ton of great books this month, gone on some lovely walks, tried my hand at jewelry making, and spent some great times with great friends.

Dreams.

In living deeply, I'm getting up close and personal with my dreams + goals and being honest about those things I really freaking want. There's no "when" or "but" or "maybe". It's completely terrifying by the way. However, I think about how bad I want those things, and how happy and proud I'm going to be when I make those dreams come true and achieve those goals. First step is always the hardest. I'm reminding myself of that. I've been working on one of my very big big dreams and hopefully I'll have some great news to share later this year.

So far this living deeply is pretty fantastic.


How are you honoring your word of the year this month?


What things have you done? What habits and routines have you created? How is your word transforming your present?