Hunger is the worst of diseases ~ the Buddha

Friday, March 29, 2013

Yolking It Together: from Play Therapy to Dancing With the Star Wars

* see endnote

Yesterday I discovered that my son, Otto, has been secreting egg after egg up to his room all this week, attempting to hatch them under a nest of bird-bodied stuffed animals and his blankets. 
When, covered in slippery yolk after a rare attempt at housekeeping (crrrraaack!--I apologize to my husband for both, which are surely news), I asked about his methods, he said: "I know I'm not supposed to be able to incubate them like a mother bird; I know it's not supposed to work, but I just had a feeling about it. Why can't I try?"

Yeah. Because it was quite a nest he'd made, in the blankets I'd made him, doing what he knew wouldn't work: the sweetest, tenderest, softest place you could imagine cracking open, if you are so inclined. 

And I did, a little more. Crack open. 
My heart understood, or remembered, having no limitations for what "should" be possible. 

I totally get that kid.

Now, the essence of my 9-year old daughter, Ava, is something different. Her totality hangs in her Easter Egg Hunting outfit: 
And yet, this is also me. Absent from the shot is the stack of science encylopedias teetering at the feet, the test tubes rolling across the uneven farmhouse floor, the eenciest of Legos calling, "come find me!" to barefoot arches, the pink tin flower hook, hammered & cut from an old barn roof. Also out of eyeshot is the pair of orange and pink camouflaged tights (camouflaged from whom?--the Lorax??), which we cut off at the bottom because, without adequate toe-spread--tights are miserably confining. 
Immediately, the outfit struck me as a "Totalitea Party Dress." That these would be the lightest of threads--those worn when we're engaged in genderless (and selfless and limitless) play.

With so much verbiage flying about this week over same-sex marriage, and so much in the news about gendered play and toys, it occurred to me that it's we, the supposed grown-ups, who have lost our true sense of sameness. 
Kids understand perfectly, that these are just clothes, and masks, and shells we wear around--that we are all "one in drag," as Ram Dass would say.  
Few things show our age as keenly as our sandbox-deserted sense of play. And for sure, we have lost sight of our childhood right to try-it-out, mix the roles, gender-bend, mix stripes and polka dots, and just play with form:

Corky St. Clair is funny not because Christopher Guest is playing him with stereotypical mannerisms, but because he is playing with it all (and he's a genius). And because we could all learn a LOT about our discomfort and our self-limitations--about being ourselves--from watching Waiting for Guffman.

For sure, we've lost our sense of wonder: The understanding that we can do anything because all of this external stuff, all of these worldly trappings, are just weird, itchy threads and cords. And that our real identities are 5-year-old-boy-at-the-pool-buck-naked and free, at home in our hearts.
As a mom and as always, I wiped a little more sand from my own eyelets this week--and I felt lighter.

I Griev(ous) this loss of invitations to the great Totalitea Party--where we can do and be it all at the same time. Not from society, with its usual, engraved expectations & letter-pressing conditions, but from ourselves
When did we stop extending the invitation to play with the idea of our totality to ourselves
When did we stop setting our shiny pink-patent leather aspects side-by-side with the dark, growling stuff under the mask?
About the time we got up from the Sand Box of our own self-healing--which is, I am finding with shock and wonder, still warm at sunset.

*Apparently, yoga (योग)  really does mean "yolked understanding." This photo was a happy "accident" sent to me by my mind- & heart-yoked friend, Annelies (who has a beautiful and keen lens for such moments). 

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