Lego and crayons – remembering how to play

This weekend I took a bit of time out of my experimentations with a more ascetic lifestyle – I’m definitely enjoying lots of time to write and meditate but we humans are naturally social creatures and reclusivity is only appealling to me if it has clearly defined limits!

P1020488 Look – me being social! By the way, this photo was taken at a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ street stall known as ‘Secret Breakfast’ to those in the know. It’s where the original Pattabhi Jois students used to go after class when his shala was still in Lakshmipuram (he later went seriously upmarket by shifting digs to the Beverley Hills of Mysore, Gokulum). The food and chai is seriously good. Luckily, one of my class-mates is definitely in the know, especially when it comes to the best eating spots in Mysore – thanks Liron!

As such, I found myself watching the new Lego movie on Saturday night, which could possibly be considered the exact opposite of a meditation session given its inane insanity and noisy, technicolour romp complete with Will Ferrell’s nasal tones – always a winner. Absolutely over-the-top and utterly ridiculous – I LOVED it! It got me pondering about why lego, above all other toys, has stood the test of time. It’s probably the magical combination of imagination, creativity and the empowerment of constructing your own world. I remember my cousin’s bed floating in a sea of lego – you literally couldn’t see the carpet in his room sometimes – and myself happily sifting the chunky ocean for plastic flowers and windows to add to my homely cottage whilst my cousin made aeroplane noises as he dive-bombed my attempts at domestic idyll, and the adults droned on downstairs. Happy memories… 🙂

On Sunday I endeavoured to be as sociable as possible and spent a happy morning lazing around the Mandira garden, chin-wagging. Another girl staying here has just finished a 17 day self-led vipassana silent meditation, which means she basically shut herself in her room and meditated from morning until night, only coming out to cook and wash. If we saw her we weren’t allowed to speak to her or make eye contact. She tended to keep her hair over her face to avoid any temptation of social interaction. Anyway, to thank us for having kept her supplied with fruit and veg over the 17 days, she cooked a delicious lunch. People do all kinds of weird and wonderful things out here – it’s a great reminder not to judge, but to embrace the diversity of humanity.

After lunch I spent the rest of the day having fun with a packet of colouring crayons, which again took me right back to happy memories of my childhood, being way too pernickety about keeping inside the lines. The reason? I am booked onto an ‘Experiential Anatomy’ course next week, with a guy who is known as Ken the Rolfer, brilliant. (For those who don’t know ‘rolfing’ is a massage technique and it’s not as seedy as it sounds – perhaps the seediness comes from it sounding too much like ‘Ralphing’, and any girl who read ‘Forever’ by Judy Blume as a confused, hormonal teenager   will be regressively sniggering at this point…). As to what exactly is Experiential Anatomy – well I’ll tell you once I have an idea myself, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve getting a bit over-familiar with strangers as we all prod each other’s bodies.

Anyway, as homework, before the course has even started I might add, we have to go through this ‘colouring-in anatomy book’. It’s a genius idea – as you learn the muscles and bones you colour them in. Simple yet effective. And also strangely therapeutic – two hours passed scarily easily, and I only stopped because my wrist was aching. So, in the end I became a recluse again, doh!

P1020490 The fruits of my concentrated labour.

Anyway, back to the navel-gazing grind today, with yoga, pranayama, meditation, writing, reiki and yin. But I’m feeling good for it – calm, happy and not at all bored. In fact, I am definitely living in the moment more as a result of my schedule, and I realise it’s impossible to be bored when this is the case. And in fact this ties in nicely with the childhood play theme of today’s post – is there anyone more in the moment than a child playing with their toys or colouring in,tongue sticking out in concentration? Perhaps we should all indulge from time to time in the activities that brought us so much pleasure when we were young, in order to re-discover the simple magic of being fully absorbed in what we’re doing… 🙂

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