THE POWER OF PLAY AND SHARING STORIES

As the weather continues to warm up so too do I notice my body moving to the rhythms of Spring. This time of year we are naturally called out into the world to explore, play, move and re-connect. This, as Jon Young points out, is the childlike energy of the North East, mid morning... the time when we just need to get going!

As children, this comes naturally... to hop, skip, run, climb, leap, dive, wrestle, throw, surf, swim and dance our way through the world. They are by nature in their animal bodies, and connecting with each other and the land through play is just a given... or at least it is in any nature connected culture. In fact as Peter Gray argues so well, in many traditional cultures, play is not something that is reserved for children; it is the pathway to most forms of learning and mastery, and a key element in maintaining social harmony. Our 'ancestral being' needs to get a sense of electricity flowing through its body as we explore our passions and our wild surrounds. Jake from Move Wild makes a strong case for bringing play into our movement training...

For me, it has long been the ocean that invites this energy into my body. Tracking the weather and chasing waves by myself or with good friends. Recently, more often than not, I have been greeted by Dolphins at Newcastle's city beaches. Their presence is an instant boost to my vitality and joy, and motivates me to really enjoy my time in the ocean; as something more than just sport, something that brings me into deep nature connection. My partner knows too well that I bring with me the energy of the waves when I get out...

https://www.news.com.au/travel/surfer-rides-waves-with-dolphins-in-amazing-onceinalifetime-moment/news-story/4dc2636b83c03b7ca996b2d2e3ddc139

Simon Thakur from Ancestral Movement talks of how mirror neurons, critical for empathic connection, fire more strongly when we can physically imitate the animals and beings of our natural worlds. Moving like the animals then is more than just a fun thing for kids to do - it is a crucial part of embodying our natural community. We must remember to 'dance' the animals! Not to mention the benefits to our physical health.

This week I have also been sharing stories around climate crisis, with the Extinction Rebellion Crew, and Seismic Testing in our oceans with the Save Our Coast Crew. I hear from warriors, young and old, fighting to protect what they love. It is painful to full the truth in these stories, and I believe a necessary story to share. However alongside it I see the need to share stories of joyful connection with nature, and to keep our wild bodies and minds alive with the vitality of play. Alongside rest and repair, this gives us the energy we need to work in passion and determination. So we need to remember to hear and tell stories about our wild animal adventures; especially with our young ones. And to inspire them by doing! The master of nature connection story Jon Young is holding an event in Hawks Nest this October - Music Nature and Storytelling for all ages.

And so this week the invitation is to explore the power of play in nature. To mimic our wild kin as we move in, through and across landscapes with other humans, dance, or even play sports. And then to bring these stories to our world to motivate others to try it out. We will be exploring this more in our Nature Connection as a Way of Life course this week... and especially when the next swell hits...

Play well, Mahli

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