Lean Into You

Free Play and Developing a Philosophy of Openness (Part Two)

September 07, 2022 Alex Farrell and Wesley Mayes Season 3 Episode 48
Lean Into You
Free Play and Developing a Philosophy of Openness (Part Two)
Show Notes Transcript

Cas Holman is a toy designer and play advocate who has spent her entire career creating products that encourage openness and free play. She has worked with Rockwell Group, has been a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, and was recently featured on Netflix's Abstract: The Art of Design.

In part two of our conversation, we talk about how we can begin to break open the boxes we often put ourselves in, and how that might be beneficial to us as adults. 

To find out more about Cas' work, you can visit her website at:

This project is funded through a grant with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and Signal Centers, Inc. 


Free Play and Developing a Philosophy of Openness (Part Two)...

Wed, 9/7 1:34PM • 39:35


play, people, constraints, talking, vulnerability, playful, children, rules, conversation, kid, drum kit, design, classroom, meetings, educator, created, studio, important, hear, scarcity


Cas Holman, Alex Farrell, Wesley Mayes


Cas Holman  00:00

I think there's a misnomer about abundance. I don't I don't, I don't believe in abundance. I think that, um, that sharing resources is is for one thing, and it just related it to play and in the classroom like materials that whatever you have is what you need. Right? And sure, it's going to be a different lesson plan with 10 Regular jigs. And it is with one rig magick. But if a classroom has been redone a jig, and there's all of a sudden there's going to be 30 kids that want to play with it that day. Will. Those are the constraints, right? So when you have, right when you maybe especially as a kid, probably having the abundance of all the different things like it was probably harder to even master winner know the function of any of them. Because, you know, it's like you understand the one when you use it all the way all the time. And well.


Alex Farrell  00:51

Everyone's is Alex and Wes from Lena do podcast and we are back with part two of our conversation with Cass Holman on free play and developing a philosophy of openness. If you haven't gone back and listened to part one of our conversation, we highly recommend you do that because that provides kind of a nice context for some of the things that we're going to discuss today. So without further delay, please enjoy part two of our conversation with Casselman. I'm curious we've been talking a lot about kind of the philosophy of openness and kind of how you found that how that is been integral in your work and maybe a little bit of like how that could influence this idea could influence educators to engage with their children in a different way. I'm curious from a wellness perspective, you just looking internally how do you think your approach has contributed to your wellness and your I say self care or what however you define that but your wholeness as a human being and how you perceive of yourself


Cas Holman  02:05

there are no fewer than 17 ways to answer that question.


Alex Farrell  02:12

Well, we can make this a three parter.


Cas Holman  02:14

But I would say also that there's no visuals on this because I like started twitching halfway through the I would say that that in my so I run a business right I have we have a number of different projects going in at any one time. And when I don't have what we call a studio day where I don't have any meetings scheduled or you know a deadline necessarily to meet that requires me you know handing something in or honestly basically studio days are don't expect me to be anywhere near a computer or to communicate that like no explaining no no meetings. But for me that also means no computers if I don't have one of those and they often they get they because they're not valued the same way right we talked about like how do we how do we dedicate time for carve and how do we protect free play? How do we protect open endedness when it it's easier to that's the quick first thing to go so when I don't get my studio days when I don't get my free play in my studio, I get it. I just don't work well. You know, like it's the I mean, not only am I like grouchy but I'm just off like I don't sleep like I just I need I need that and I think framing it to my my like the more that my co workers understand that that it doesn't just it's not just me like I need it but then this is tricky because that should be enough if I need it but like because my work is our work right? If I'm not designing things that's not good for the company that's just that's not just not good for me right? So it's a win win because I am my own product in a way like trying to to get all of us on the same page that that is that's something we all need to prioritize is like protecting cast the studio day because otherwise I can't do the thing that we're all working for sure. So I think you know that's a kind of extreme example of, of justifying free play in in in for yourself are free free time to do what you love in whatever capacity but I guess what I part of what I'm what I'm even hearing myself say is like, even when I have a whole company who is dependent upon me how During that time, I can't clear the time. Like, it is so hard, even when it's essential to what my whole business does. It's hard for us to clear that time. And if that's hard for me, I can't imagine what it would be like for people with whose work isn't it's not as clear. Like, it's not as you know, it's a little harder to connect and or they also have other demands on their time, which, you know, and for many people that free play might be mean, being with their family without phones, you know, it might mean, the being or maybe it means only being with your phone, whatever it means for people, but like having the time where you, for me, it's an it's an active, it's an active exploration. Yeah.


Alex Farrell  05:47

It was interesting. We had an episode with someone named Fran Soren and we were talking about kind of opening us definition of creativity and how we can, how that can, if we, if we can expand this idea of creativity, then that helps us to set toxic versions of perfectionism aside, in and she, I loved how she defined she's so she's a gardening expert. And so she would that was her craft and her her way to explore and, and develop to some degree. But she would always say, you know, creativity can be finding a new way to walk home from work. Yeah. And that was for that particular example stuck with me because I was like, okay, that's something that we all can do. That's that's like, you know, trying a new recipe when you're grocery shopping, and being like, Oh, I've never used this vegetable before. Maybe I'll grab that and see what I can do with it. And it was really valuable for me, who has always viewed myself as a creative person to then take a second look at that. And say, am I am I boxing myself into a category of what I think creativity should manifest manifest as?


Cas Holman  07:02

Well? Or I mean, I think also there's a there's an assumption that open endedness means like, no rules. And it may, it might mean No, define the rules, right? And I talked about rules and instructions a lot with all of my work rule, I find rules. Like I never think of a mores constraints, like design constraints, things like timeline and budget and material. And but but kind of all of the goals of the design, creative design brief are kind of constraints. But in open endedness all often make up my own right. So there's something liberating about making up you're either disregarding the rules, like Who says you can only use these three herbs with Italian food? Well, Italians say that actually. Italian friends and I've learned to definitely I don't, I don't mess with their rules. But you know, so so maybe looking at what we assumed to be the rules and saying like, Oh, where are those the rules? What if, what if they're not and sometimes you learn like, oh, that's why this is not delicious, right? But um, for me, and this, it kind of relates to his sister created Kent, who was an art an artist, and edgy artists art educator, and she talked about the the art of the assignment that for, for her with her students that that for creative person. Anything is possible, which is a lot and can be daunting, right? And so in an assignment, or if you think of that as like, okay, with constraints or with some rules, or with some, build a container of sorts. You don't have to do everything, right. So if anything is possible, that can be daunting, because like, where do you begin? So, so but as soon as you have an assignment you have, you don't have to do everything, like you have a boundary? And and I think that that often the more constraints you have, the more creative you have to be sure. Right. And so but and I think it's important that people, and part of what what I work with, with my, with my students at RISD was to understand how to make their own constraints as needed. Right, so So to be comfortable with open endedness, because you then get to choose and think about where we're at what do I need to be making, or what do we need in this particular scenario? We're like, well, it's raining today. So this, right, yeah. So it can be context specific. And you can take into consideration everything around you, when you're deciding what rules you want to use. Right? And that rules are something you use, and you can change and shift as needed when you understand which ones are actually necessary and which aren't. Yeah. Which I guess that relates to also like kind of what I learned in childhood. And when I was like, kind of deciding whether or not I wanted to perform who I was being told I needed to be


Wesley Mayes  10:00

And I think that those constraints really speak to how personal this whole, the responses to those constraints speak to how personal this work is. Because those constraints are one thing. But we can all respond to them creatively in different ways. I remember in your Docu series you were talking about, I don't remember it was with your design students, I think it was, but designing for the function, and one of those was carrying water. So instead of saying design a cup, design, something that carries water, and then there was, you know, so many different creative ways of responding to that carrying it in your mouth, using a sponge, all of these different things. And we all have different rules in our lives, right? And so finding those creative ways, you know, one of my rules might be I have to be at work at nine o'clock, right? So the ways that I need to feed my soul, outside of that, it's going to look different. But still is just as important. And I don't know if that connection is as clear. As I'm making it, it seemed, but it just feels like there is a way that we all respond to the rules in our lives. And it has to be internal work as much as it is. You know, the categories are placed in I guess,


Cas Holman  11:19

and yeah, I think I relates and I think, like the 9am example is interesting, because I had a sabbatical a few years ago, and I was living on the camp. So I was in the woods, and I had my giant studio and I lived basically like in a in a playground. And, and so when my sabbatical from teaching, I was, you know, have no no set structure. And at the time, I had a few employees, but everyone worked independently and remotely. And so and I was like, oh, okay, yeah, I don't have to be no meetings, no tight, like, so there was no 9am, there was no nine to five, there was no Monday through Friday. And I went completely feral. And had to do that, you know, in three or four months. And at some point, my dear friend and business manager that Johnson came out, came to my envy camp fun. And he found me like out in the woods, making a Skype platform because I needed this one spot to be looking at start something I don't even halfway through a project. And he's like, What is going on? I was like, oh, obviously, the other human and four days. Where am I? What's happening? I was like, I don't know, like, I think I'd lost my phone three days before, like, I had just completely disconnected. And, and, you know, he, I It wasn't it didn't feel great. Right. So he kind of came on the train we talked and, and I was like, Yeah, I haven't talked? And I'd say no, I feel totally manic and everyone's going, you know, and so I was like, Wait, okay, I understand the function of those of that nine to five thing now like, are I kind of now I understand, like, maybe let's have some, let's have some structure, maybe I'm gonna think this might be a thing to priorities, I think I'm gonna go ahead and like, give myself some structure to it. So I kind of had to, to, to throw those all out the window, and then get far enough away from them to recognize and appreciate the function of them. Right? Sure. Right. But but because I am who I am, I couldn't just accept that that was the way it was gonna be,


Alex Farrell  13:22

you know, not good. Another example of this that I often see within my my own life is I've played the drums, I've been a drummer for almost 20 years, for if you're a drummer, everyone, when you're eight, 910 11 years old, the goal is to have the biggest drum kit, because I think that's loud, because that's what's cool, I need more stuff. So I remember my dad buying me my first drum kit, and it had like eight toms and all this stuff, and double bass, all the cymbals and stuff. And it's really interesting how the more that you, for lack of a better word kind of mature in my taste, and what inspired me this more simple that those things became, and what and that was, was stripped all the way down to the guys that are really, really, that were really inspiring. And I was like, I would love to play like that one day, you look at their drum kit, and they have a hi hat and a symbol and a bass and maybe one other thing. Yeah, it's a good exercise just from a practicing standpoint to take everything off. And just give yourself a base, a snare and hi hat. And let's see what you can do with that.


Cas Holman  14:25

I think there's a misnomer about abundance. I don't I don't I don't believe in abundance. I think that um, that sharing resources is is for one thing, and it just related it to play and in the classroom like materials that that you need, you know, you need whatever you have is what you need. Right? And sure, it's going to be a different lesson plan with 10 Regular jigs and it is was wondering magic but if a classroom has one we're going to jig and there's all of a sudden there's going to be 30 kids that want to play with it that day. Will those are the kids strains, right? So when you have, right when you maybe especially as a kid probably having the abundance of, of all the different things like it's, there's, it's probably harder to even master one or know the function of any of them. Because, you know, it's like you understand the one when you use it all the way all the time. And well, yeah, yeah, there's something in there about. Yeah, the assumption that that more is better. And I don't I don't


Alex Farrell  15:24

know, I think I think it totally ties around to one of the things you said at the top, which was facilitating community, because I think in that particular scenario, where there's 30 Kids surrounding a rig, magick, maybe one child has one nut, or a bolt, or a little, you know, plank, or, you know, whatever. And, to some degree scarcity within a communal setting. motivates? Oh, absolutely. More community.


Cas Holman  15:51

Yeah. And it's also the finished product is a is interesting, the idea of making something means making something, right. So I'm constantly an on all of our language, I'm trying to shift it, it's about the process. And you know, that sounds wonderful. But it's like, what does that mean, right. And what that means is like, like, when I think about this, like, when we photograph, or when we try to show this is what religion is, like, I tried to photograph children making the thing like, it's not about a child was a thing. And it's, it's funny, like, we still and I catch myself doing it, like, I see the thing they made no want to take a picture of the thing they made that like that's not at all the point that the outcome of what they made, represents the process they had. And when when we have these, like reflections in classrooms, sometimes the children will talk about, like, you know, here's how it works. And this is what it does. And it's you know, it's always like, super incredible and amazing. And the part that they'll ultimately fight that they'll get to once their space, or if we've framed the question in open ended way, right? Instead of saying, what did you build? We'll say like, How'd it go? Or tell us about it? Or tell us a story like and so sometimes they'll hear that right? as well. Let me tell you how this process went, right. So we'll say you're like, okay, so yeah, tell us about your your creation, they'll say like, well, first, Sue took the thing. And she went over there and traded them two wheels for one of the round pieces. And so then we wound up there, we wanted that. So we had to take it apart. And then we couldn't do. And what we hear is conflict resolution. We hear struggle we hear like trial and error. And of course, one of the first times they played tested and this was happening. I was I was like, oh my god, this is the worst thing I've designed. Find a way for children to fight. This is terrible. And the genomic teacher for next year was like, This is amazing. And I was like, what they're they're fighting. And they're talking about fighting and it wasn't fighting. But she said no, this is conflict resolution, like they are partnering. They they this thing that might have been precious, right that when they finished it, and everybody's proud of the finished thing that they built, right, like in many kits that children put together, and they follow the instructions, and then they don't want to take it apart. Right? Because it's like precious, it's a finished thing. But it's like, No, those are all materials you could make more stuff with, you have to take it apart, you know, yeah, but with some, yeah, when there aren't enough materials, you know, you're gonna take it apart. And also you see the materials and the process is valuable. So you're less attached to the finished, beautiful outcome. Because you know, you can do it again, you have the confidence, you figured it out once and it was really fun. So you want to figure it out? Again, you want to take it apart. So also, that's the other benefit of there not being of there being some scarcity or a feeling of shared resources. Is that. Is that Yeah, so when when I hear this in classrooms, I still always have that reaction of like, Oh, I'm a terrible designer. Or people will often ask me that test. Will you just came from a children's museum early on? We its recommendations made people love it. But will you design a way that that children won't be so upset when they have to leave the things they made? And I was kind of like, can I design human nature to not be wedded to that? And I was okay, how about this? Like, what if we encourage the children to draw a picture? What if you take a picture and we pin it up, and then they can see they know that other people got to see what they made? You know, so they don't have to be really protective of like, I made this and now it's mine. So you know, other people are going to add to it and that's fine, you know,


Wesley Mayes  19:35

a reminder of all the different things that you can do with those pieces, you know, Oh, yeah. Back Back to the kind of the scarcity thing I think the less pieces you have, I remember running into this with Legos as a kid having to think more creatively about the pieces that I had to accomplish the thing that I wanted to do. I like that concept of of there being less so it just pushes that creates Nvidia, I think a little bit a little bit farther.


Alex Farrell  20:03

Yeah. Yeah, I love that what you just said about take kind of the taking photos, there's this kind of balance of like ownership. And also recognizing that there's another way. And I think implementing that in an early age is really important. And probably especially it feels like nowadays, I don't know, maybe I'm just cynical. But nowadays, we could use a heavy dose of that. Yeah. And so the, because there's something beautiful you want to be, we want to empower children to take ownership over the things that they've created and to feel happy about that, and to look back and reflect on the journey to get to the thing that they've created. Right? And that that's not a bad thing. We want that to be something that is supported and encouraged. But at the same time, how then, do you take that and then break, break that apart? And even mentally to say, okay, but the thing that I created isn't good, it's not bad. It's not, it's not the most realized version of the thing, that there are other ways of going about it, and I need to go back to the drawing board, and maybe be inspired by the kid over there that got something different or didn't, that created something different, like that whole interplay of? Okay, create, reflect breakdown, is, I think, really vital for those birth to five years, you know,


Cas Holman  21:32

yeah, and the, you know, I, we, I see this in stages of play with, with most most building materials, like there's, there's kind of figure out the system engaged play with the system, what kind of while you're figuring out and then maybe make something with it, like a lemonade stand, and then kind of play in the lemonade stand. And then as you need, like, oh, but we need another door, oh, there's, there's, we're also going to sell pies, okay, we need a different shelf, now we got to build again. So there's kind of like this constant, like, through the pretend play that happens after the constructive play, then they kind of like, you know, negotiate, like, where we're going to add the shelf. And then, and it's, it's so fluid, like the move, the way that they're moving through is just like, you know, it's, it's and then negotiating in particular, and this is the thing we're gonna jig is not like, it's, it's, it's challenging. Like, it's, it's, there's, there's often and inspire, like, it's, there's something like kids get inspired because they can because of what they can do with it. So as they start to do it, and kind of, you know, they need to rearrange it or undo it, or they can't figure out how to make this, you know, connect in the way they wanted. They, they, the negotiating, and the communication gets gets really rich. And, and so it's really incredible to kind of like observe, like, it's one of my favorite things to observe. And often, I'll have no idea what it is that they're actually made, like the lemonade stand is not that's usually I don't know what it is that they're pretending. Every once in awhile, there'll be some clue because they'll be like the doorknob, we need a doorknob and I'm like, Oh, that's okay. You know, or like, no, that's not its tail. And I'm like, no, like, okay, ready for takeoff? I have no idea, you know, or the other kid says, What do you mean, take off? This is a something else. So it's, um, yeah, the different types of the shifting seamlessly between the reflecting I think, and the, like engaged play, and the figuring out when when children are making something together, and it's a really unique type of play, but it's much different than if they are kind of like, doing pretend play with a set of props, which is like how we would usually kind of have got your dresses and your cooking materials, and you've got your, you know, hammer. Like it's different when they're building the thing that they're playing with? Yeah, yeah.


Alex Farrell  23:59

So I kind of want to shift gears just slightly, if we can, in that. So if we have people that are listening, this is really going to be for everyone. I don't even I think we all struggle with with this to some degree, if you've listened to what we've said, and you realize with some internal reflection that maybe you're someone that has been abiding by certain categories in your life. And you kind of are seeing the benefit of maybe breaking out and expanding your, your vision of what your life could look like what creativity could look like in your life, what play could look like, how you could show up as an educator. But you don't exactly know how to get started in that mindset shift. I was wondering if you have any given that I think you probably lead some of these prompts with some of your design students of how to how to how to prompt people to think in a different way. What advice would you have for maybe an educator who wants to take that transit Just trying to maybe open up their thinking a little bit, but maybe doesn't know what prompts to ask themselves, or how to engage.


Cas Holman  25:08

You know, I have all kinds of like, assignments and things and ways of kind of reconnecting people, or opening up their thinking. But, but honestly, I think that the biggest impediment that in that I've observed and mostly with my students, and also with some of the adults, I do some workshops with, with using regelmatig to kind of help reconnect adults to play. And, or to kind of open ended approaches. So also like business leaders. Sure. So I think that the biggest thing is just letting yourself, right. Like, I think that there's something about we, we can kind of be jerks to ourselves, right. And so I think that the I talked to people who, I can see that they have an instinct to do something differently, or to kind of like, you know, make that bold or like, declare, have that do that weird dance in the middle of the, you know, the meeting. And they, they stopped themselves, right. So I think that's the part where it's like, just trust yourself for a second. And also, if it's wrong, that's fine. Like, what's, what's going to happen? Like, you'll apologize, you'll what does it mean to look dumb? Like, you know, the things that we are afraid of, are, are usually not even worst case scenario. You get, say an idea. Or you do a thing in front of your peers. And it seemed like a good idea, and it felt really brave to do it. And you let yourself do it, because you just heard awesome podcast leniency podcast.


Alex Farrell  27:01



Cas Holman  27:03

Worst case scenario, it's a flop. Yeah. So what? And you're like, oh, okay, well, that didn't work. Maybe it was the idea. If it probably wasn't the act of doing it, you know, maybe this wasn't the right audience. Or also, maybe it did work. But nobody knows how to react because they just don't, we just don't know how to react when people are bold and brave. Because it's not what we usually get right? I have to say, I'm, I got looking on to as a, as an art and design professor, looking onto a sea of 22 year olds, is not for the meek, right? And so I learned very early on, and I just started, I would just ask them like, Okay, I'm giving this lecture, or we're having this conversation, and I just went on a riff and told his story. And I'm looking at your faces, and I am either blowing, your minds are blown or boring you to death, right? Like, I cannot tell the difference if your minds are blown, or to death, if you're miserable, and you hate me, or if you're just deepened, that I can't tell. So please tell me like, What is going on right now? And, you know, sometimes it's a mix of both. Usually they're like, oh, no, we're just trying to keep up or we're just trying to figure out what you're talking about, and was like, Okay, I'm not making sense. Thank you. I will clarify. So I think that I've just saying out loud, kind of what I was afraid of. Right? Right, where he said, like, I'm afraid right now that I'm boring you to death. Like my, my, my worst nightmare is that I'm boring to people that I'm talking and they're not interested, you know? So, um, so I just say that, and then they can tell me if they are and I'll be like, great. I'll stop talking. Then that wasn't so bad. Yeah.


Alex Farrell  28:47

Yeah. It's funny I was I was talking recently with some friends of mine. And that's that when you talk about vulnerability, which is kind of what you're touching on, there is one thing that has been really important for just for a personal thing that I've been very intentional about doing is I'm just someone that due to a bunch of different influences, like, I'm an open book, I don't have this, like I don't, I don't really care what people think about me, which is very freeing and liberating. And so because of that, it's usually pretty easy for me to develop relationships because I often lead with vulnerability. And since that's not hard for me, I find that that often brings out vulnerability in other people and for me, that's the intentionality is I want to connect with people on that level. And just people have told me that it is easy to do that with me, which is very kind of him to say, but when I think about that, like leading with vulnerability, and that relationship becomes a form of play, it becomes an interaction of discovering one another, right, which is an absolute apparently, is inherently playful, but it was generated from this place of By allowing myself to speak out from a place of freedom, right?


Cas Holman  30:04

Totally, yeah. And conversation is is absolutely playful. I have friends who we, you know, wherever we are, we are on a, on a bus or shopping. thing for sofas and sitting on different couches in different furniture stores all around Midtown Manhattan, laughing hysterically because we're just like, our language is playful. That's how we play. You know, and I wouldn't have thought that going sofa shopping would be like feel, at the end of the day feel satisfied. Like it was just put, but it's playful. And and I think, you know, meetings can be really playful that brainstorming like leading with a what if they just I think that that's something that helps to be a little more. It's almost like, like, help like bringing others along with you in play. So leading with well, what if this like your your, you can kind of propose without needing to make it like a proposal that you then have to sell. So that leaves you say whatever before an idea. You get to actually as a group talk about what if without anybody being wed to either shooting it down or selling it, you know, because maybe it's a great idea. Or maybe it's not like you can play with that when there's room.


Wesley Mayes  31:16

So yeah, I like this too, as a bit of a mindset shift. Because what I was thinking about throughout this entire, you know, in being a part of this conversation is the ways in which I hold myself back. Right in it not so much fear of failure in other people's eyes, in my own eyes, being like, okay, here are these, the anxiety, I guess, of feeling like you're not in control of a situation, right? Instead looking for saying, Alright, well, maybe I don't need to be in control of this situation. Yeah, maybe I need to maybe I need to look for opportunities. Right. And, and I think that, like, you know, when you were talking about your vulnerability, your your ability to reflect on that, and reflect on the way that you connect, was you're looking for an opportunity in that conversation, right? Sure. Instead of feeling like I need to control where this conversation is going, the vulnerability allowed for that thing to happen. And that was an opportunity is a bit of a mindset shift, to view it as an opportunity, as opposed to something that you might need to control.


Cas Holman  32:31

Yeah. And also, I think that, that this, you know, when this happens at a in a, in a group setting, that you're that if you're with people you can trust, and I think maybe like setting off with, like, let's assume that we trust the people that we're with that that you all are sharing, like you aren't, you don't need to be in control, because you can't be right, right. And also, you need to be and, like if you trust everybody, then you are altogether invested in making it a productive conversation are a super great brainstorm, you know? And so it's not all on you, like you alone don't dictate If the meeting is a waste of time, or a great one, right?


Alex Farrell  33:11

Yeah. So cast, this has been a really fruitful conversation, it's really interesting to talk about just ways that maybe some of us been have been influenced by outside voices, whatever that may look like. And kind of the value the benefit of maybe reconsidering why we do some of the things that we do, why we respond, how we show up in certain ways. I think that's really valuable for our educators, who are, are desperately want to do good work and to do right by their children that they care for. And we see that we hear those, the hear them say that all the time. And so with that often can come a little bit of pressure to to perform to create a to facilitate a particular outcome. And so I think it's really important from a stress management perspective, from a human wholeness perspective for us in this conversation to say, hey, let's take a second look at that. And let's maybe rid ourselves of some of this, this burden of getting to point B or arriving at a destination or there being a particular outcome. And let's just see what being free and open and playing for the sake of playing might look like within our school lives and then showing up inside the classroom but then also in our just everyday life as well. So thank you so much for for joining us kind of in and leading us through this mindset shift. I think it's really valuable a lot of takeaways for me personally. So we typically like to sign off on our episodes with our guests giving a little word of encouragement to our educators. And I'm also just curious what you do for self care.


Cas Holman  34:51

I do I talk a little bit about making time to play in my studio. And that could mean In totally dilly dally, you know maybe I'm working on a project that doesn't have a client or a deadline, which is closer to play often than there, then then when I'm playing within a project schedule, yeah. But often it's, it's like when I'm, I don't know, I'm just kind of following my nose with the materials that are around. It happens when sometimes when I'm cleaning up, like if I just kind of driven to organize and sort things I'll, I'll kind of let myself meander a bit more. And that winds up being play. Kind of like without setting out with any objective just kind of what I come across while I'm cleaning up or setting up or taking down another project. I'll I'll find myself halfway through sanding something that that that I forgotten about, you know. So I think kind of like, let yourself let yourself dilly dally meander, all of those really great words. That that or did sound like more? I don't know more interesting versions of not being productive. So yeah, and so for. So I think that that relates to self care. For me, my, my, you know, my dogs help. The parks help I actually I live in Brooklyn near near a number of parks. And I I just I love our parks. 


Alex Farrell  36:46

What are your dog's names? Do you just have one or?


Cas Holman  36:49

Knuckles is the she's the our old lady. And she's super weird. And has very strange play patterns. So it kind of I'm always trying to figure her out.


Alex Farrell  37:04

Yeah. I feel like we totally do an entire podcast episode on self care and animal companions for sure. No question.


Cas Holman  37:12

Yeah. Yeah, they're pretty. They're pretty good. Yeah, they and they and I can tell. I mean, also, I can tell when I'm stressed out because of how they act, which is maybe a little too real. I'm like, Why are you being such? Oh, you're being


Alex Farrell  37:26

Oh, you're mirroring. Yeah.


Cas Holman  37:30

Being a nightmare, I'm sorry. And let's check in.


Alex Farrell  37:36

Now, I really love that word of encouragement. We often talk about time management. I think a lot of people talking about time management of how do you adequately fill time in a way that treats time as reverent or being reverent towards time. I think that's a really kind of additional layer on top of that of one way that we can do that is to give ourselves time to have zero expectation.


Cas Holman  38:07

What if we funny like time, like time management in place that we can bend it to our will whatever? Time collaboration, like the time that I'm dancing with time, like that I am collaborating with time instead of managing it where we're working with it. Yeah.


Alex Farrell  38:25

I love that. Now, we've really enjoyed this podcast episode. Again, a ton of takeaways for me in we really appreciate your time. So Castleman, thank you.


Cas Holman  38:34

Thank you. Fantastic, nice to meet you. And I I love what you all are doing. Thank you for doing it.


Alex Farrell  38:40

All right. Take care. Thank you for tuning into the podcast today. This podcast is funded through a grant with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and signal centers. Signal centers is a nonprofit in Chattanooga, Tennessee, whose mission is to strengthen children, adults and families through services focusing on disabilities early childhood education and self sufficiency. If you'd like to leave a review a comment or have a suggestion for a future episode. Please do so on our Instagram account at lean into you pod. That's one word ATHLEAN interview pod. Follow us on Instagram for weekly self care tips clips from our episodes and graphic takeaways from many of the talking points from our conversations. Thanks again for listening to the lean into podcast and we hope you have a fantastic week.