The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Paid To Play



Just returned a little while ago from doing one of my favorite things…teaching about creativity.  My friend Peggy Tileston and I offered a class for social workers and therapists for an organization called Social Work prn, which provided a set of skills to assist them in incorporating creative ideas into their practice with clients and patients. From start to finish, it was pure joy. We and they danced, drummed, sang, chanted, drew, and shared wisdom born of  likely a  hundred or more years of combined experience in our collective fields.  The 6 hours flew by and when we were finished, I felt as if I was ready to fly/float out of the room. I had arrived bright and early this morning,  having spent nearly 90 minutes on the road in the rain, at the beginning of rush hour. As I unloaded my car and hauled in drums and boxes and bags of stuff to use in the class, I was feeling buzzy and not particularly grounded. It didn’t take long for me to sink my roots into the Earth, my branches stretched to the sky as I  breathed my way into bliss. Throughout the day, it was heartening to observe the impact on the folks in the class who had gathered from their various corners of the world and diverse settings in which they work and the different populations they serve. They laughed, smiled, nodded absorbing of the concepts; offering their own take on the subject matter. We left all the richer for it.


I was especially glad to have two of my special drums; a frame drum with a celtic knot/Star of David design and a ceramic dumbek with a spiral design on  the head with one of my favorite Rumi quotes “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” They were lovingly painted by my friend Shari Kestanbaum Ubechel many years ago and carry her energetic imprint.





The cool thing for me, is that although it takes prep time and it is the accumulation of years of education and experience, this feels not at all like work.  It is where I live, it is what athletes call ‘the zone’. I remember back in the early 1980s, I worked for the South Jersey Council on Alcoholism, offering trainings for teachers who, in turn would do drug and alcohol education for their students. I was young (in my early 20’s) and newly graduated with a degree in Psychology. I was partnered with someone who had been in the recovery field for many years and had an encyclopedic knowlege of the subject matter and an engaging presentation style. I watched in awe as he had the audience eating out the palm of his hand. I, on the other hand, had brought notes with me and used them liberally in my part of the presentation. I felt awkward and decidedly unprofessional. I asked him afterward how he did it.  His one word answer?  “Stories.”  He went on to explain that when I had anecdotes to share, my presentations would flow more readily as well. All of these years later, I wish I could see him and tell him….”I finally got it. I have stories.” 


I am so grateful that I get paid to play, which is really what my writing and speaking feels like.  So, in what areas of your life do you get paid to play?  And if  you don’t what would you need to do to shift into that mindset?



The Sanskrit word for ‘play’ is ‘lila’, which is pronounded ‘lee-la’ and it is one of my favorites, since it beckons stretching our comfort zone so we can think, move, dance and dream outside the box in which we may have incarcerated our creativity. 


I wish you enlightened lila.  Micky Hart….Global Drum Project

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