Lois Holzman Lives What She Teaches About Play
By Jamie Turner
February 9, 2015
Lois Holzman doesn’t just talk about play—she lives it.
From her work as Director of the East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy, organizer of an international movement of play and performance activists called Performing the World, her experience as a TEDxNavesink speaker, her new book project—and even pet ownership—it is evident that Lois transforms her theories about play to enhance the reality of her life and the lives of others.
If you want to rethink play and how it can shift your perspective, then Dr. Lois Holzman is your “go to” researcher and activist.
In her 2014 TEDxNavesink talk: “Play Helps Us Grow at Any Age,” Lois stated, “Play creates something new out of what exists.” As Lois prepared for and delivered her talk, she lived that notion of creating something new.
Even though Lois is a practiced public speaker who has given keynotes around the world, she said that giving a TEDx talk was, “a completely different kind of experience and the process was very growthful for me.”
When asked about how preparing for the TEDx talk impacted her life, it was mind-blowing to hear this highly experienced professional say, “My whole life’s work is to support people to do what they don’t know how to do and now I was in that situation. So I was immersed in a very dramatic way, for me, in what I believe and how I live my life and how I help people.”
Another example of Lois’s ability to live what she teaches is evident in her new book project: The Overweight Brain: How our obsession with knowing keeps us from getting smart enough to make a better world. Even though Lois has published eight previous books, that wealth of experience isn’t keeping her from experimenting with her ninth book. As she says, “I’ve taken a playful approach to teaching for years and even succeeded in doing it online. Now I’m taking a playful approach to writing a book.” Lois added, “This is yet another step in, OK here’s another area that people don’t play with but I’m going to try it.”
So, what’s different about Lois’s latest book?
Visit her website at www.loisholzman.org and you’ll find several draft chapters and an invitation for anyone to weigh in during the actual process of writing the book. Lois asks readers for input about chapter titles, illustrations, content, and whether you would recommend the book to others. The open-source process has been quite a challenge as Lois said, “I love the struggle of keeping a voice and taking ideas and concepts I’ve spoken and written about before, and finding new ways to give expression to them.”
The feedback is fascinating as evidenced by this comment from Richard, in response to the draft of chapter four, Dualisms and Dichotomies, “Another intensely engrossing and perceptor-cleansing chapter, like Windex to smudged senses.” Many comments offer detailed views and connections to other researchers and ideas. Lois replies thoughtfully to each comment and remains open to how others interpret and add to her body of work. “I want to write this book in a playful way and involve people,” she says.
Can you imagine sharing your pet? Has that thought ever entered your mind? Well, rethinking pet ownership is another example of how Lois has infused play into her life. Not only is Lois sharing her book with the world, she is also creative and playful in how she cares for her beloved dog, Reggie. Lois shares Reggie with six other people who live in the same brownstone. Imagine the adorable little Reggie, having the playful love of so many people. And Lois, who has the added benefit of having others who share in Reggie’s care—enabling her to go out of town without worry!
Giving her first TEDx talk was “a step in being clearer about play as how you do something not what you do.” There were many gratifying moments, a highlight of which was when one woman approached Lois after her talk and said, “As soon as I left I had to call my son-in-law. Your talk gave me such insight into how to bring up a toddler.”
So, not only is Lois being playful in her own life and impacting the lives of those around her, she is also having a significant impact on the lives of the next generation.
Interested in learning more about Lois? Visit www.loisholzman.org to read drafts of her new book and see her TEDxNavesink Talk.
Want to attend the 2015 TEDxNavesink conference on April 11 at Monmouth University? Tickets are on sale now! Get them here before they are sold out.
Jamie Sussel Turner is a first-time TEDxNavesink volunteer, serving as the content coordinator and blog editor. Jamie is an author, speaker, professional coach and former school principal. She works with business owners and executives who are stressed because work has taken over their lives. She helps them become clear and confident leaders who build dedicated teams so their businesses are more successful and they have more of a life. Jamie recently published her first book: Less Stress Business: A Guide for Hiring, Coaching and Leading Great Employees. She is a certified Social and Emotional Intelligence coach and a Fierce Conversations Facilitator. Jamie is the President-Elect of ICF-NJ (International Coaching Federation of New Jersey).
Thanks to Jamie Turner for this piece on me on the TEDxNavesink blog