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The Quiet

There is a realm of experience that can barely be expressed, so ephemeral and quiet and vulnerable and hidden is it…it would be called the yin realm…the realm in the manifested of silence, of the hush in nature, of animal eyes, of innocence, of the unwillingness or inability to ASK…even in the face of huge desire. Asking is the province of the active….demanding is the province of the indignant active.
In the realm of the quiet, *asking* or *telling* is absurdly impossible. There’s only being. And if the being can’t be seen and known, the quiet simply continues, unacknowledged…or is destroyed, so powerful is the muteness of the quiet… deer
It’s not the quiet part that asks for anything, even for silence. It’s the noise part. The noise, if aware, asks for silence on behalf of the quiet.

CanCan is a messenger from the Quiet. It’s a pointer, finger to lips, ssssshhhh, toward the Quiet.


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CanCan…Whose Brain is it Anyway?

I’m the kind of person who prefers reverie to focus…but only a little…that is, reverie might be my default mode linkbdaycampingaug08 033, but when focus kicks in, it is laser like. Maybe I’m a little scared of the power of it. Maybe that’s why I go to the heartbreak place, where there’s no brain left at all, to where I focus like my life depends on it, which it does.

Are you puzzled? Need a game change? More color? Less info?

Can you imagine a game that floods you with color and peace?

Are you tired of playing to win? Want to play just to play?

Imagine a game that makes you feel like an artist.

If only there was some activity that could take my mind off all the bad news!

I wish there was an activity that was like a meditation that I could show my kids.

How do I teach my kids how to calm themselves?

How do I calm myself?

What is meditation in action? Is there a tool?

Why do we need to meditate? What good does it do?

What if you could meditate while playing a game?

What if you could create something beautiful without thinking about it?

What if there was an easy way to make something beautiful?

What if there was a creative way to meditate and calm down?

What if there was something you could do that made a beautiful thing and felt as easy as staring out the window?

What if you could play a game and end up calm, and a work of art to show for it?

I wish I had an activity that I could easily lose myself in.



“Brain” stuff is super trendy right now. There are numerous stores, companies, websites, focused on Brain activities. I have submitted CanCan to a couple of these, Mindware mindware logo, Marbles the Brain Store marblesbrain, and been told that we’re not a good fit.
This is such interesting information.
CanCan is definitely a brain game. But it’s not THAT kind of brain game. What they told me a year ago at Marbles, the Brain Store was

“Thank you for taking the time to submit “CanCan” to Marbles, but unfortunately we have decided that it is not the best fit for our stores. This is not to say that your game is bad in any way, just that it does not meet our requirements for products carried by Marbles: The Brain Store. The general feedback we received after thorough playtesting was:

All the bright colors and patterns on the tiles
The weight of the box and number of pieces – definitely seems worth $32.99
All the possibilities for patterns and final board creation
The easy to learn instructions
The number and size of the pieces – it seems that the fun of “CanCan” comes from playing it and building out the final board, but the pieces are so large that it would be hard to demo that build out in-stores, and because we demo every game in our stores, we worry that “CanCan” would not receive the attention it deserves because we would not be able play enough of it with customers.
There’s no “Aha!” moment to “CanCan” – When games have too many pieces to demonstration in-stores, we rely on “Aha!” moments for our Braincoaches to recreate for customers so they can reach an unexpected twist to the game within 20 seconds even without having to play the full game: something that makes the game feel new, different, and (most importantly) better than something that they have already played. We know that’s a lot to ask of a game (and it’s part of the reason we have so few products in our stores), but we have found the strength and timing of the “Aha!” to be the number one prediction of future sales.”

“Thank you for understanding. I know how disappointing it can be when it seems like someone doesn’t like your game, but please know that is not the case here! We playtested your game many times, and I totally understood that the idea was to create and find links between pieces as an artist, and as a fellow artist, I really appreciated and enjoyed that; but unfortunately, placing such an artistic game in our stores next to a game requiring speed, slapping, and pattern recognition, would mean that “CanCan” would not get the attention or love it deserves (which I hope you agree would not be fair to you).”

and my slightly miffed reply

“Thank you much!
I will just cheerfully remind you that the brain has an active side and a receptive side, and I look forward to the day when the two modalities are equally appreciated for their own merits! I strongly believe that games are models of the way we see the world and engage with it, and all that speed and slapping, while interesting and exciting, represents an attitude of engagement that doesn’t fill the whole consciousness bill.”

Let’s just say CanCan is the gentle reminder which emerges slowly, quietly, serenely, beautifully. On its own terms.


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Home Office

My blog writing has slowed since I discovered Pinterest.
I think I’m normalizing with that now though…

New developments for CanCan. I’ve been doing R&D. (Reading and Dreaming) Here are a couple of inspirational titles for my CanCan thinking at present:

The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist

My excellent friend Larisa Goldinlarisa (www.dreamclinic.com) says we all have our weak points and our strong points. She says I’m a little shaky on the business end, but I know how to make a wonderful cozy home.

image (3)

Home is where the heart is. Home is where you feel safe. Where you go to heal. Where you rest and recoup. I run a couple home-centered businesses.

CanCan is a home-style game. It’s restful, soothing, relaxing, restorative, nourishing, and fun.

I’m dedicated to the idea that business, or at least my business, can be home-style too. (Omigod, I bet there’s info on this on Pinterest!!! But I digress…)

Meanwhile, I’m filing for S-Corp status, writing my business plan, doing game demos and promos, marketing in my own low overhead style, and working my favorite day job at Nowakoski Painting. Taking care of business my way… I’ve GOT to, mister.

Umpqua Bank, local to the northwest, has a program of promoting local businesses at its branches, called Local Spotlight. CanCan has been chosen to be the business in the Umpqua Spotlight for the fourth quarter of 2014. Holiday season! This will be a wonderful marketing opportunity for us, and I’m switching to Umpqua Bank as soon as my Corporate status is finalized. umpqua

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CanCan is a Healing Game

Here are a few thoughts regarding the healing magic of the CanCan.

I didn’t set out to make a game. I set out to create a complete system that would show how colors FEEL in relationship to one another. There had to be some shapes because the shapes that colors appear in, and through, also contribute to the great variety of our visual experience.

My original thought was, You can read the world. What is the alphabet? I made an alphabet of the visual language. This alphabet has four shapes, onto which are draped all the colors of the rainbow plus black and white, in two-color combinations both positive and negative.

It became a game at some point when I cut up my original hand painted templates130817_0004 130817_0002 and saw that they could be considered increments of color. Matching color was an obvious mechanic that suggested itself.

So when you play with the tiles, and set yourself the simple task of matching and touching color tile to tile, you automatically and effortlessly create an interwoven and integrated color document. You are using the “alphabet” to compose a vision. Because you are attending to the simple rules of matching, you are free from the mental pressure to “make art”. So “art” makes itself while you focus on the game.

The tiles themselves might suggest different things and possibilities to different people. This is why I stress that people can disregard the rules and just play with the tiles any way they feel inspired to.

However, I think playing a simple game adds to the remedial effect of using the tiles because it creates an almost accidental unfolding of an organic interwoven design. The unfolding of this design is perceived or registered in a deeper part of your brain than the part that is focused on matching, touching and flipping, and it is a deeply soothing experience.

The colors come together in ever more satisfying ways as your board fills up. You think about how to maximize your wild tiles, they can help you win by giving you extra unlimited flips and thus playing the most tiles.graceCanCan2
Matching the shapes and flipping more tiles are complementary activities to the building with color that is the foundation of the healing aspect of the game. Contemplating the rainbow of colors has been shown to be healing to the endocrine system.

It was very important to me that there be no counting or scoring during the play time, and that though you can win with strategy, this fluid color-focused process that is going on underneath the play can continue uninterrupted whether or not you win. This fluidity is what imparts calmness and a sense of well-being as you play. Moving between the flow of color matching and the forward thinking of shape matching and strategy brings a state of BALANCE to the brain.

Don’t you think that’s something that a lot of moms would be happy to hear about for their kids, and themselves?

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