Monday, May 23, 2005
A few games of intimate fun
I've written a brief article on the topic of Intimate Fun
that I thought you might find, well, fun. If you want to skip the theory and go right on to the games, try these:
Hold each other's wrists so that you can feel each other's pulse. If you don't want to hold on to each other's wrists, any pulsing part of each other's anatomy will do. The stronger the pulse the better. On every other pulse, say the word 'Me.' Continue doing this until you hear the 'we.' Then start saying 'we.' Perhaps on every third pulse. Saying 'we' over and over again, listening, of course, for the separate and yet cojoined 'Me.'
Follow the Follower
Turn on some gentle music and sit facing each other. One of you is the reflector. The other the reflectee. The reflector simply does whatever the reflectee does. Continue in these roles for 10 inhales. On the 11th, change roles. Continue thusly for the next 8 inhales, and, on the 19th change roles again. Continue in like manner until you can't tell who is the reflector and who is the reflectee.
Lie on your backs, with your heads together, ear-to-ear, and your feet at opposite ends. Put both your hands straight up in the air, above your face, so you can see each other's hands. Think of it as a stage up there, where your disembodied hands can carry on conversations, speaking in your disembodied voices. You're on our backs, hands in the air. You let your fingers do the talking. It's like shadow puppetry without the shadows. Hand shaking. Hand slapping. Hand music. Hand dancing. And whenever you need to thicken the plot, bring in the Foot Beings, the dialog with whom invariably leading to a semi-yogic collectively callisthenic Whole Body Air Theatre.
1) Prepare at least five or so finger foods, each with a different crunch. For example: cranberry sauce, cashews, ginger snaps, cheese nips, and garbanzo beans.
1.a) Place each in a small saucers or cuplets. Make two sets.
1.b) Decide who is going to be the first Chewer.
2) Blindfold the listener. The listener places an ear to the Chewer's cheek.
2.a) The Chewer takes a small piece of one of the foods, and chews as necessary.
2.b) The goal, if one is needed, would be to identify what is being chewed, and perhaps how much of it, along with some estimate of swallow duration.
2.c) Or perhaps both Chewer and Chew Detector, both chewing and listening at the same time whilst simultaneously attempting to identify what the other is eating.
3) Estimated duration: 3-8 minutes. Activity is often left incomplete due to hilarious incapacitance.
Friday, May 20, 2005
from "The Fun Connection"
I thought you might find this, from my article "The Fun Connection
, a good introduction to the process of restoring fun:
So, what is fun?
The thing about fun is that most of the time we never really know we're having it until we're not. So usually we can only tell when something was fun. And then we forget about it. Unless it was really fun, so much fun that it was unforgettable. That's what I call "Deep FUN
." What other people call being in "flow
" Being in the "zone." I like to think of Deep FUN
as those times when we get totally present. When we are exactly where we most want to be. Every aspect of our selves - mind, heart, muscles, breath, senses - is completely engaged. Involved. Not because we make ourselves be present. But because we totally, absolutely, entirely want to be doing what we're doing, in this place, in this moment, in this body. Because we are wholly, completely, exactly where we want to be.
Those are the times when we become gifted, when everything we experience is a gift - the day, the people, the ability to experience. When every word we can manage to form is a word of gratitude, praise.
So how do we make it fun? And how do we keep it deep?
The first step in making things fun is to take note of everything that we do for fun. So we can see it all. So we can see it, at all. My suggestion, start with an inventory: What fun do we remember having? Deep FUN
can happen and be over in an instant - in the time it takes to catch the glance of someone who glances at us. An instant that at the time was timeless. Like the eternal moment of a high dive when we are between board and water. That could have just as easily happened on the telephone or on the way to the bus, on a tricycle or in a Ferrari. We make the inventory as inclusive and extensive as we can - we give it maybe days, weeks, until we've gather all those moments of fun in one place. And the more we collect, the deeper it gets, every time we think about fun, and every time we have it.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Playing Together for Fun: Creative Play and Lifelong Games
Probably the most comprehensive article about the fun-health connection I know of is one that I just so happened to be co-author. Called "Playing Together for Fun: Creative Play and Lifelong Games
," the article includes not only a great selection of games, but an extensive analysis of the benefits of play.
Here's a taste:
What are the lifelong benefits of laughter and play?
Social skills – Social skills are learned in the give and take of play. Without play, people have a difficult time developing skills of communicating trust and mutual pleasure. If play is minimal or contains conflicting signals, these skills are not integrated or refined. Concepts of verbal and body language, safety and danger, freedom and boundaries are discovered and practiced repeatedly during infant and child play. Other important qualities that develop through regular play include empathy, compassion and the capacity for intimacy. Emotional intelligence is also developed through play.
Personal strengths – The ability to take on responsibility, find meaning in life, and perhaps discover our personal bliss requires a full measure of play. Play develops adaptability and flexibility, which are fundamental to positive, proactive behavior. Humor and imagination are also byproducts of play. Playful activity is calming and relaxes our nervous systems so that we feel safe which leads us to the next great benefit of play – learning.
Learning – Playful discovery is a doorway to learning. Play helps us exercise our problem solving and adaptive abilities by stimulating our imaginations. Play arouses curiosity, which leads to discovery and creativity. The components of play – curiosity, discovery, novelty, risk-taking, trial and error, pretense, games, social etiquette and other increasingly complex adaptive activities – are the same as the components of learning.
Health – The benefits of laughter and play in easing, overcoming and preventing both physical and emotional health problems are numerous. Studies show that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter may also trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produce a general sense of well-being. These and other benefits are described more fully in the section devoted to play and health.
Connection – Openness of one's heart to others is enhanced through the joy of play. Consistently establishing positive connections with others while playing sets a standard that people, especially children, recognize and return to in search of more positive connections. Sharing joy, laughter and fun with others promotes bonding and strengthens a sense of community. Play-deprived kids are more vulnerable to impulsive behavior, especially when over-stimulated by TV, video games, the emotions of others, or their own easily aroused emotions.
Perseverance – The rewards of learning or mastering a new game teaches us that perseverance is worthwhile. Perseverance is a trait necessary to healthy adulthood, and it is learned largely through play. Perseverance and violence are rarely found together.
Joy and happiness – Beyond all these excellent reasons for playing, there is simply the sheer fun of it. Play is a state of being happy and joyous. Jumping into and out of the world of play on a daily basis can preserve and nourish our own hearts, and the hearts of our communities.
In order to restore a sense of fun to our lives, we have to take back time. As in today's thought for today from an article I wrote, called, oddly enough, "Busyness
Sometimes, I feel I have too much time. So I make myself busy. It's like I have to fool myself into feeling purposeful, so I make myself busy. And even though the purpose I'm filling has nothing to do with any purpose I care about, I'm being busy. I find purpose in my busyness, even where there is none. Especially where there is none.
When I'm between jobs, in fact, that's what I miss the most, almost. Someone to look busy for.
Sometimes, even between jobs, I feel I have too little time. So I make myself busy looking for something to get busy doing.
Oddly enough, you don't really have to be busy. Now that you are an adult, you can stop pretending that you are. Really. You don't have to look busy for anybody anymore. Everybody 10-20 years younger than you believes that you are an adult despite how unbusy you try to look. Now you can look like you're having fun again. Like you looked when you were a child. You can afford to enjoy and to look like you're enjoying.