Monday, 23 January 2017

Taking Time to Breathe

Things have been quiet on the blog front because of all the busyness I have been involved in. Top of the list of things to do is the Playwork Campference, the first ever conference I've helped to organise. It's happening in February and is based in California and you might think "Wow, such a beautiful location" but actually it's been oddly stressful to be so far away from the project you're working on. I literally have no control over what happens! But everything will be fine - I have a great team around me.

Weirdly enough, the busier I am, the more I seek out ways to not work, to get outside, or to unwind my brain. I have noticed that I watch TV less, but go for walks more. I have less fast food, and spend more time making stuff from scratch. It seems counter-intuitive that with an ever increasing list of things to do that I might be playing more, but I am. I can more effectively tackle the list when my play needs are met first. It doesn't make any sense, but it really works.

I've been walking everywhere. To the shops, to the park, to the post office, to the post box. I've also been wandering in the woods, through all the puddles, in the river and across vast fields. It's been lovely just to walk. One foot in front of another in a predictable, methodical way, discovering unknown views, never-seen-before mushrooms or previously unnoticed architectural features. I've walked for hours and hours since Christmas. It's been awesome.

What I haven't done much is bake, but that hiatus was halted with these scones! I did 4 plain, 4 raisin and 4 cheesey ones, all be request of various members of the family :) They were wonderful.

And here is a sample of the biscuits I made the day after the scones. They are lovely vanilla biscuits and there ended up being 50 of them! So many yummy business :) Yay! :)

I'll be off to the USA very soon and will be hitting the ground running. Having these moments to myself - to breathe - really makes a difference! It makes me more efficient, less scatterbrained and far more focused on what needs to be done. To me, this makes perfect sense. Just as a runner's arms needs to pump the legs along, our work is pushed along because of our play. 

Without play, my work gets really difficult. I find it hard to sit still, to stay focused and to come up with new ideas when I haven't first had some time to play. If this is the case for me, an adult who's supposed to be responsible and mature, a person who's supposed to be above the childishness of frivolous activity, then what of the children? I feel sad that children who are programmed to play are being asked, almost forced, to sit down and focus on things they're not interested in. I have enough trouble doing that as an adult. 

Another ironic twist in this busyness is that when I spend too long typing too fast, my wrists begin to hurt. I reckon it's mild repetitive strain injury - nothing serious - but a massive part of me is attributing pain to my hands doing the wrong types of activities. Sure, my fingers have always been pressing keys - I grew up playing a piano for hours at a time - but I guess nowadays I spend days at a time typing, and humans hands just weren't designed for that. Time for them to do a little kneading, mixing, doodling, chopping, photographing and making.

So I'm going to go off and do a little doodling before bed. Hope you find a little time to play today too. More soon!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Hello 2017 :)

Seven days of 2017 has almost passed and it has gone past quickly! I have busy working on Pop-Up Adventure Play projects, and getting some much needed Zan time in. I've started up doing year 3 of daily postcards - and am extremely excited for some reason. I'm not sure how to document them yet - should I add it to the existing map?

Anyway, maybe people are catching on to my postal enthusiasm, or maybe people just like me enough to send me post, but I have received a bumper crop of postal surprises this week!

Four pieces of post! Hoorah! :)

From left to right clockwise:
1) My nephew sent me some of his artwork that he made with the stuff I bought him for Christmas. My sister also sent me a video of him enthusiastically prodding paint onto paper. She tells me that the paint has been sampled and that despite it not tasting very nice, he still keeps eating it.
2) My lovely friend Ric sent me an encouraging card with some much needed stamps - so very thoughtful - I hadn't realised how expensive these postcards would get.
3) My cousin Karen sent me a little surprise - a personalised notebook with accompanying note. The words "Zan is happy happy" has made Zan very happy happy.
4) My lovely friend Lee sent a lovely postcard from his travels.

These pieces of post have already made my year. It's so lovely that people have taken a few moments out of their day to write to me - thank you so much! :) I feel very much loved and completely blessed. Yaaay! :) More post for everyone this year!