We did a thing at the Week of Biggification in North Carolina that was pretty great.

In addition to optional afternoon old Turkish lady yoga, we had optional morning classes that were … oh, unconventional is as good a word as any.

And on this particular day we played let’s turn the room into a jungle gym!

Because it’s there.

The idea was this:

Go somewhere in the room.

Use that spot as the setting for interacting with (some part of) your body.

Interacting could mean: stretching it, strengthening it, moving it, being in stillness with it, listening to it, touching it.

Then go somewhere else in the room and play with that part of the room.

It was awesome.

We turned the room into a jungle gym!

Which was a pretty unlikely thing.

I mean, fancy hotel conference room. There wasn’t all that much to play with.

Not like the Playground, which is full of blocks and toys and hiding places. A conference room.

But we used the walls. The stage. We flipped chairs upside down and rocked on them.

We leaned up against tables.

And pressed into walls and wriggled into corners.

Sometimes you would hear giggling as someone discovered the perfect way to play with something that seemed unplay-with-able.

Our breathing became deep and slow.

Each movement was intentional and playful at the same time. We were channeling that deeply creative, passionately intent silliness that is experimentation. Play through curiosity.

We were like kids and dogs. We were free.

Jungle gyms everywhere.

Right now I’m at another hotel, but in California.

The bathroom has a window seat and a spectacular view.

This morning I turned the bathroom into a jungle gym.

Sink and bathtub and closet. Walls and doors. Arrangements of towels.

I stood here and there. I went under and over.

But mainly I pressed and twisted and leaned and reached and bent and peeked.

But really, everywhere. To some extent.

Even on the plane, there are ways to be in jungle gym mode.

It’s hard. You have to be like a monk in a cell. Movement is limited. But how I get to interact with space is less limited than I think.

The play becomes more concentrated. How to move in small ways that are unobtrusive.

My focus draws inward: more about internal space. Breath. Vertebrae. Length. Roominess. Spine. Heart.

Many variations on wiggling of toes.

That’s probably my least favorite jungle gym.

But looking for unlikely options to interact with my body and the experience of being there is how I get through it.

Today I’m going somewhere that will be challenging for me.

Of course, I won’t be able to really play, because it’s not the kind of place that approves of that.

But I can sort of turn it into a jungle gym anyway.

By sneaking stretches in unlikely ways and unlikely places.

And I can turn it into a mental jungle gym by being curious and inquisitive. By experimenting with how I react to the video game.

By doing things that I wouldn’t normally do, to see what happens.

It gets easier I can remember that playgrounds are everywhere and playtime is there for me whenever I want it.

And if it sucks, I get naptime when I’m done.


More jungle-gym-ing! More ways to turn things into playgrounds! Yes?

And, as always, we let everyone have their own experience and we don’t tell anyone what to do, because that’s how we play here.

The Fluent Self