(true: they look more like birds, these jacks scattered around the red rubber ball, but squint your eyes and remember that i never, ever professed to be good at drawing.)

~ a ~

play. it’s so very important, so vital to health and well-being, so essential to creativity. my childhood years were spent in a culture that looked down its nose on play. play was synonymous with laziness. only sorry, no good fools played. fine, good, upright people worked, and let me tell you: they worked hard. that was the prevailing attitude.

~ b ~

my grandmother worked – not outside the home, but make no mistake: she worked. in addition to babysitting the grandkids, cleaning, keeping the lines of communication open with family, planning menus, grocery shopping, cooking, and doing the laundry (washing the clothes, hanging them on the line to dry, ironing them, mending them, putting them up), every spring she planted a big garden, and every summer she harvested the crops, cooked daily meals, and preserved food for the winter.

yes, my grandmother worked long, and she worked hard, but my grandmother also played. she developed new recipes and entered cake contests. she made quilts as meditation. on more than one occasion, i saw her sit on the floor with my brother and cousins staging battles and beating the snot out of their plastic army men. and she played the piano – boy howdy did she ever play the piano.

~ c ~

“Deep play is an absence of mental noise — liberating, soothing, and exciting. . . .We spend our lives in pursuit of those moments of feeling whole, or being in the moment of deep play,” says Diane Ackerman.

~ d ~

“we need to structure our weeks so that we have a weekend,” i recently told my husband who joined me in working from home full time last november. doesn’t have to be a saturday on the calendar, but we need to build in some play – whether that’s having a reading day, going to the library, going to the nearby arts center to view the exhibits, joining the local hiking club, fingerpainting, shopping architectural salvage stores for recyclable materials to use in the construction of what will one day be jeannedom (my studio). doesn’t matter what it looks like or what day of the week it falls on, we just need to escape, and we need to escape regularly.

~ e ~

karen caterson shares an epiphany with us today: “Play is where ideas live.”

~ f ~

“There is evidence that suggests the forces that initiate play lie in the ancient survival centers of the brain–the brain stem–where other anciently preserved survival capacities also reside. In other words, play is a basic biological necessity that has survived through the evolution of the brain,” says stuart brown, m.d.

dr. brown goes on to explain why this “nonproductive activity can make one enormously more productive and invigorated in other aspects of life.

dr. brown goes on to explains why this “nonproductive activity can make one enormously more productive and invigorated in other aspects of life” with scientific evidence and full of interesting anecdotes. it will persuade you not to feel guilty pursuing your dream or enjoying your life because it will make you and your kids more successful and happier.

~ g ~

i wholeheartedly believe in the power of play, don’t you? do you have a steady diet of play, and when you play, what does it look like/sound like/taste like/feel like?



This morning over on Facebook, Sunny Howe posted a plea for positive, fortifying, anti-bullying (a.k.a. playing nicely together) energy, so to conjure that energy, focus, and direct it, I created an altar. I may be showing my ignorance here – maybe it’s a huge faux pas to invite others to create an altar dedicated to a particular theme – but I’m asking anyway: Perhaps you’d like to create an anti-bullying altar and share it with us on the 365 Altars Facebook page? We’d sure love to see them if you are so inclined. That’s where I met Sunny, you know. She creates beautiful altars and posts them there regularly.

More about 365 Altars


  1. Sera Bishop

    I saw airplanes and the sun: Pac-man style. 🙂  I believe in play, but I wasn’t taught to. Playing to me still feels like I’m going against the grain, like I better have just done some hard work, like I better only be doing it if I deserve to. I crave it, and I don’t always have access to it freely. I will sit and think about something creative for hours before I allow myself to just get on the floor and do it already. I want to change this.

    • whollyjeanne

      yes, me too: i have to earn play time. that’s my conditioning, my training. but i’m a grown woman now – i’m my own boss – i can and must and will change that. we’ll change together. we’ll be playmates.

  2. ☆little light☆

    one must have clean air, good food, and PLAY to be whole
    wholly !
    I am a spontaneous kinda play person.
    Play usually sneaks up and tickles me , and I run off to build sand castles in the sky or lay on my back and watch dragonflies!

    I am sure you knew that already..

    • whollyjeanne

      laying on the ground sounds awfully fine to me. i haven’t done that in i don’t know when. mostly cause bugs adore me. but maybe tomorrow night i’m gonna lay down on the ground and look at the moon. now, though, i’m off to watch a little something on you tube . . . xoxo

  3. Angela

    Why do I feel like you’ve asked if I’ve been taking my vitamins? I have, actually, but I haven’t been playing much. Point taken. Thank you. xo

    • whollyjeanne

      i know you haven’t been playing much (although you did go see that play last weekend). you need to play more, sez me. xo

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