By: Maria Skinner
Every time I sit down to do my 10 minutes of Ageless Grace, I remind myself that I am choosing to change my brain via play and that this is a revolutionary act. Brains and Central Nervous Systems change. It is what they do. We are always adapting to meet our environment, even if what we are doing is choosing to do the same thing over and over again. The most important words in that phrase are “choose” and “play”. I have many practices in my life that emphasize choosing. I practice Laughter Yoga which is about choosing laughter. I practice Nia, and BeSoul Dance, which are both about choosing Joy, and Ageless Grace which is about choosing Play.
I wonder sometimes if these practices chose me as well. My mother tells me that when I was an infant, I would laugh all the time and that my laughter was contagious. In contrast, my earliest memories of myself were as my being a serious child. And yet, humor has always been one of the things I have valued over all other things. There were external circumstances that invited caution and responsibility and even fear. When I was a toddler, one of my grandmothers was very ill and passed away. She lived with us, I recall the graveness of it all. In Uruguay, where I spent the first 8 years of my life, there was a military coup and we had to leave the country. My parents and sisters came to live in the United States, leaving the rest of the family behind, and learning English in Queens, NY was not a cakewalk. I knew that my true nature had been tempered by my life, yet I was not aware in any way that I could choose a different path for my emotional energy to flow in. I remember always looking for reasons to laugh, as in some way, I was anticipating the life I would later have.
Fast Forward a lot: Choosing Joy, Laughter, and Play…
In my late 20’s, as a Nia Teacher and then Trainer, I made my work all about choosing Joy! This sounds funny, I know, but in my mind, it was the only way I could have it, if I worked for it! Then came Ageless Grace which invited me to finally choose play. Did I need a reason to play? Did I need to understand that we actually learn better through play? That play will keep my body and mind healthier, younger and happier? That play would make life more fun? Ageless Grace has helped me release the final resistance I had to be okay with enjoying my life. Doing my 10 minutes and sharing Ageless Grace with others has taught me that PLAY is a state of being and a state of mind. It is an attitude I can choose even when I am “working” at something. Being in PLAY makes me feel good. It makes everything I do easier.
When people ask me who Ageless Grace is for, I say that is it for anybody with a brain. And then I say it is for anybody who wants life to move with more joy, ease, and spontaneity. Who does not want that at any age? The 21 Tools of Ageless Grace work in a two-fold way for me. When I do my 10 minutes I am giving my brain the PLAY food that it needs to keep functioning at its optimal capacity. My 10 minutes also set me up to remember to play more all day long. They are a reset and a reminder that feeling the humor and the lightness of being in everything is a choice I can make every day. That no matter what my external circumstances are, I can choose to PLAY my way through them. Thanks to Denise Medved, this is my revolution.
Book title and description:
Living High Like a Tree: Embodiment, Dance & Grace
This book is a collection of blogs about embodiment practices, dance, and the grace of living life in a body on this beautiful planet. Each section stands alone and together offers a new paradigm for living and being in relationship with our bodies, minds and spirits.
It can be purchased through mariaskinner.com
The book will soon also be available in paperback.
Maria Skinner is an Ageless Grace Trainer and lives in Groton, MA.