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finding peace through play

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

~ George Bernard Shaw

I’m so enjoying the December e-course, Outside In: A Return to Stillness. It’s kind of turned into a spiritual journey for me. It’s amazing what happens when you focus daily on creating a moment of stillness in the midst of a seemingly crazy time of year.

I’m not only experiencing more peace, but I notice I’m having a lot more FUN (while shedding those thoughts and behaviors that create stress). I’m totally soaking up the love that comes from the spirit of the holidays.

Yesterday, I had a fake “snow day” with my boys. We stayed home all day in our jammies, playing games and making art by the fire. It was just one of those days I’ll never forget.  Not a care in the world. The only thing missing was real snow. But that didn’t even matter. It was the pure JOY of a snow day that swept us up in the moment. We threw away the agenda and for one day – we weren’t tethered to any “to do” list.

Just us. Playing, laughing, singing, and celebrating BEING together.
And that’s what this season really means to me.

How are you feeling? Are you in need of a break from your list?  Find peace through play and plan a snow day of your very own!

Here is the post from Outside In: A Return to Stillness Day 11:
Plan a Snow Day

It doesn’t matter if you don’t get snow where you live. Even if you live on the beach or are in the southern hemisphere right now – anyone can enjoy the pure joy that comes from a good old-fashioned snow day!

One of my favorite memories as a kid was that feeling of getting out of bed especially early on a dark, cold winter morning – the anticipation of a snow day making it too hard to sleep.

The snow is coming down. And you watch, as the school closings run across the TV screen, while the meteorologist talks about how bad the roads are.

You wait.
You pray.
You wait some more.

And then…you see it.

You rub the sand out of your eyes just to make sure.

Your school has been one of the lucky ones…cancelled for the day!

And that’s when the FUN begins.

The thing that makes a snow day so fun, is that you get to throw away the agenda. You are gifted with a full day of no plans. A full day to be at home with the ones you love most. A full day to change things up. A full day to be spontaneous.  A full day for…PLAY!

When I was a kid our snow days usually consisted of playing outside for a good part of the morning – making snow people, going sledding, building snow forts… We’d warm up by the fire with hot chocolate and marshmallows. We’d bake cookies, listen to music, play games, make popcorn and watch movies. Warm, snuggly jammies were a must. These times were fun, memorable and oh so very special.

Don’t you think it’s time for a snow day?

Watch this video: How to Make a Snow Angel for inspiration!


Your Daily Gift:

Someday this week, “plan” your own snow day. Set some time aside – a few hours or even a full day – and reserve it for spontaneous play! What would YOUR kind of snow day look like? Throw out the agenda and “to do” list and find peace through PLAYING!

Your Moment to Share:

Post a photo on our A Free Spirit Life Facebook page and show us what you did for your “snow day”.

Peace and love to you today, and always.

Be well…
Shannon xo

* Photo by Chris Duh.

playing with paint

I’m sure you can see from these photos that the Laugh Play Love fun has continued in our house this week!  This is something I’ve wanted to do with the boys for a long while now, but my lack-of-interest-and-energy-to-have-to-clean-another-mess has prevented me from doing it.  But the more I play and lighten up, the more I am starting to see “mess” differently. Rather than think of it as yet another job for mama, I’m embracing these moments with more gratitude.  Because really, if there’s a mess to clean up, I guess it means we’ve had a really good time. (I will say that being prepared helps.  I had a bubble bath ready for the aftermath!)

As I started taping down the white paper to the floor my 4-year-old exclaimed, “This is more fun than I even imagined!”  We hadn’t even started painting yet.  And man, was he right.  We turned up our favorite Free to Be Me Pandora station and laughed, played, painted and danced. And towards the end my 4-year-old, covered in paint and hopping around like a frog yelled, “Mom, I love you so much.” And that pretty much says it all.

Your Personal Reflection: See what happens when you let yourself enjoy the “mess” today.

Summer Fun in the Winter

With the unusually warm weather yesterday and with the guidance of a 4-year-old, out came the bubble machine and off went the shoes. And today we are snuggled in by the fire on this cold, rainy day and just finished our indoor picnic on the floor. Great kick-off to a month of Laugh Play Love.

Your Personal Reflection: What fun are you up to?

Laugh Play Love…action!

Photos by Chris Duh.

Happy February!  Today marks the first day of my Laugh Play Love month-long challenge .  (I hope you will join me!)  I’m setting an intention for the next 29 days to laugh more, play more and love more.  It seems like those things should just come naturally.  But I find that when I get bogged down with “to do’s” and obligations, well I can get too busy and serious, and let my desire to conquer the tasks pretty much suck the fun right out of my day.

I need to laugh more.  I need to play more.  And I know that when I do that – the side effects are super positive.  I’m happier, I give and receive more freely, and it just makes the day-to-day living WAY MORE FUN.

The other day I was filming my weekly check-in video for the current Inside Out e-course group, and we transformed the bedroom into my podcast studio.  We included the boys in the production, because let’s face it, they ARE my production team.  They helped with the set-up and Kestan counted down…





They made me laugh. It was playful. And we all had fun.

I thought I’d share an excerpt from the video I recorded for my e-course group since I talk a little about why I created the Laugh Play Love challenge.

Join my new Facebook page A Free Spirit Life to receive Laugh Play Love inspiration throughout February.  (And feel free to post your own stories there, too!)

Your Personal Reflection:  How can you make your daily “to do’s” and obligations a little more fun and playful?


Laugh More, Play More, Love More!

Join me for the February challenge: Laugh Play Love

Life can get so busy.  We run around all day long, going this way and that, doing and rushing and working, until we’re exhausted.  Then, our head hits the pillow and we crash until the doing and rushing and working starts all over again…

I’m not quite sure where we think we are going and why we think we have to do so darn much and go so darn fast!

And if we keep going at this kind of pace, we may end up missing it.  Missing the moment to laugh. Missing the moment to play.  Missing the moment to love.

The moment to laugh, play, love – is right now.

In slowing down, I find that getting on the floor with my kids is sometimes the best medicine. They notice the little things in life.  They laugh without thinking twice.  They play without inhibitions. They love because they know no other way.  They remind me of what’s truly important in life.  To laugh, play and love – well, It just comes so naturally for them.  And it did for us once, too.

February–the month of love–seems like a great time to lighten up and remember what it feels like to have more fun!

So, I’m inviting you to laugh more, play more and love more, and enjoy the side effects that come from opening your heart.

  • tell a joke
  • do a dance
  • be super silly
  • wear mixed match clothes
  • watch funny movies
  • pull some pranks
  • get messy
  • play games
  • blow bubbles
  • eat candy
  • write love notes
  • try new things
  • be kinder to yourself and others
  • create stuff
  • have fun!

Laugh more.
Play more.
Love more.

I’ll be sharing my month of laughing, playing and loving on my blog.  I would love for you to join me. Capture your Laugh Play Love moments through photos, videos or words, too and feel free to post them on our A Free Spirit Life community page.

And if you share on Twitter, use the hashtag #laughplaylove.

Your Personal Reflection:  Slow down.  Notice the little things.  And see what happens when you laugh, play and love.

If you have a blog, go ahead and grab a badge (just copy the code at the top of this blog’s sidebar).  I’m excited to share this month with you!

Where Are We Rushing To?

Slowing Down
I notice I use words like, “Let me tell you this story real quick.” Or “I’m going to run to the store.” Or I catch myself telling my 3-year-old, “Hurry up, we are going to be late.” Or “Come on, Kestan, we gotta get going.”Ick. Tired. Blah. Done.I’m done with rushing.  I’m making a choice to STOP.  This past week I’ve practiced every day – walking slower, moving slower, being…slower.  I notice it’s pretty hard.  My natural tendency in the morning is to bounce out of bed and start the day with excitement and thoughts of what are we going to do today? And usually if I have a morning plan – say story time, meeting friends for breakfast, doctor’s appointment, whatever – there is this feeling of urgency.  WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE IF WE DON’T GET IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW!


Photos by Chris Duh.

And I think it’s actually why I hardly ever make plans to be anywhere in the morning (at least before 10) because I can’t stand rushing my kids.  So I’ve been moving more at their pace.  And yes, it’s hard not to say, “Hurry up.  Let’s go,” especially when I’m ready to move on.  BUT, the more I practice it, the easier it is becoming.

And I’m noticing I actually am more productive and have less irritation when I move slower.

Doesn’t that seem kind of funny?  But think about it, when you are running late to work or getting the kids off to school and you are running all over the house to get ready, isn’t that the time when you spill the milk inside the refrigerator or place your keys somewhere that you’ll never find again?

Sure, I can still sense my restlessness (Come on already, why does it take you so long to get in your car seat!?)  But, these kids know something.  When you let them lead the way and set the pace, everyone seems a bit more peaceful.


On this day in the woods we spontaneously went out on an adventure.  I left my phone in the car on purpose, mostly to prevent myself from taking more photos (since I’m still clearing clutter and have over 1000 pictures on my phone yet to clear), but I also loved not knowing what time it was.

We played.

We explored.

We let the kids lead the way.


And time stood still.

It just didn’t matter what we were doing, where we were going or what time we were going to get there.

Sure, there are many moments in our daily lives when we have to be somewhere at a certain time. Yet, I’m wondering if we can get there without all the rushing.  Can we move about our day with less urgency, less worry, and less stress about what the future will bring?  Can we find the peace that comes from slowing down?


I guess I’m willing to try.

Your Personal Reflection:  Do you rush through your day with a sense of urgency? Where are you going?  Notice your pace today.  Try walking a little slower wherever you go.  Try breathing a little deeper and fuller.  Notice how that feels when you slooooooooow down.

(Psst…I’ve posted the dates for my next Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery e-course.  Registration opens December 5th.  I hope you will slow down and make some space in your life to join us!)

Chuck the "To Do" List & Get Outside

exploring outside
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. -Lao Tzu
I can’t seem to get enough nature these days.  So on this particular day our “to do” list was happily left behind to “do this” instead.  And while touching the dirt, feeling the warmth from the sun, smelling the fresh air, tasting the woods and seeing the joy in my boys – nothing else mattered.
Your Personal Reflection:  What would happen if you throw out your “to do” list today? How about doing just that and see what it feels like when you stop rushing around and make time to reconnect with nature.

Bombin’ Some Yarn

Yarn Bomb Felted Flower close up

I just discovered what yarn bombing is from my coolest-ever-mother-in-law.  As described in the new book, Yarn Bombing: The Book, “knit graffiti is an international guerilla movement that started underground and is now embraced by crochet and knitting artists of all ages, nationalities, and genders.”  Beginners and seasoned knitters secretly “donate” a knitted creation in public spaces.  

Yarn Bomb Felted Flower knitting

I am so inspired and excited by this idea!  Do you think that pink flower in this photo is real?

Yarn Bomb Felted Flower  in flower pot

I hit the farmer’s market this morning with the boys, my mom and sister and they helped me secretly drop off my first “donation.”

Yarn Bomb Felted Flower in bush
International Yarn Bombing Day is this Saturday, June 11th.  So now it’s your chance to join in on the fun!  Simply knit or crochet anything you’d like and tag a public space with your knitted piece.  Take a photo of your “donation” and share it online.  There are many flickr and Ravelry groups to share your yarn bomb creations, and also feel free to share with me on my new Free Spirit Knits flickr page.  I would LOVE to see them.
Happy knitting and sharing!
Your Personal Reflection:  What inspires YOUR creativity?

Shout Out to Free Spirits!

I'm a free spirit badge

I want to take a moment to thank some of you who are proudly displaying the “I’m a free spirit” badge on your blog – fabulous women like KellyKat, Yvonne, Megan, Manon, Suzy, and Jacs.

I believe a free spirit is someone who is dedicated to creating a life they love, while living more boldly, fully and freely.  They take time to go deeper. They enjoy the discovery. They accept their fears and take risks.  They shine from the inside out.

You.  Yay, YOU!  You are a free spirit, too.
You are an authentic, creative, brilliant BEing.
And I believe in you.

Get messy.
Embrace imperfection.
Live NOW.

…and always,

be you!

Feel free to grab a badge, too, and link it to here or here.
And let yourself be freeeeeeeeeeee.
How to be a free spirit list
Your Personal Reflection:  What is a free spirit to you?
(If you are displaying a badge, or decide to grab one today, let me know so I can give a shout out to you, too!)

Creative Living & The Ten Minute Doodle

If you have yet to listen to Jamie Ridler’s podcast series, Creative Living, then you must head on over there!  I had the privilege of speaking with her recently and shared a little bit about my creative journey.  You can listen to that interview on her blog today, where you’ll hear me talk about how I came to embrace myself as a creative being, how I practice each day to find and maintain balance, and advice on how YOU can express your inner artist (we all have one)!
And, see that new “Newsletter Sign-up” button on the top-left of my blog?  Please take a moment to send me your email address and I’ll make sure you get some buzzin’ inspiration sent your way.  My new monthly newsletter, Create the Life You Love, will be full of tips and resources related to creativity, wellness and mindful living.  
Yesterday I had about ten minutes of free-time, so I ran to the art room, grabbed my markers, sketchbook, tea and turned on my Ani DiFranco (who I heart so much!) Pandora station and started doodling.  It was mindless.  It was fun.  It was energizing.
The Ten Minute Doodle
Can you spare just ten minutes today to create a doodle of your own?  I bet you can! Here are the guidelines:  Use simple materials, like crayons, markers or colored pencils. Choose an animal, random design or any image that you can draw quickly.  Don’t think about it.  This is a doodle – not a perfect masterpiece!  Turn on some energizing music and let your mind go.  Play with lines, colors and designs.  Doodle away – with no judgment.  If you are feeling stuck or rigid, give yourself only ten minutes, and draw with your opposite hand!  Have fun…  
Also, I’ve created a new Flickr group.  It’s a place for you to share your photos and join discussions about the self-discovery journey.  How about uploading your doodle today? Join us at Free Spirit Knits – Create the life YOU love! Flickr group.  I would love to see you there!

The doodle clock starts…now!
Your Personal Reflection:  Can you give yourself permission to enjoy just ten minutes of creative play today?