When whiling away the summer days and plotting autumn’s revolution, there are moments to grab with my kids, moments that grab me. Pick Up Sticks, for all their simplicity, beat, hands-down (pun intended), the Wii, Rock Band, Halo nonsense revolution. The senses are used in actual space and time in your face and at your feet. And you laugh. Unless you’ve lost your sense of pleasure in simple things ( I recommend you go find it, if lost. ), you laugh. You relax. You remember the floor and the view of the room from dusty realms.
So what are they? Pick Up Sticks are great little slices of color that can be scattered on the floor in a sometimes complicated spill of sound and bright sight. They are brilliantly useful for recovery from disconnection, particularly disconnection from the power of real action, of real person moving real hands through actual space in a work to create pleasure and sustenance. I call it Hand-Mind Realtime Recovery, a complicated jruthphrase meaning: restoration of the awareness of the power to create actual events, entities and objects in the here and now such that the person actually begins to leave a mark or significant influence of thriving love on his/her world in the form of pleasure, creativity and construction in actual space and time. Here. Now, as opposed to on a glowing screen capturing “realtime.”
I cough as I type on a glowing screen. Balance is a word that comes to mind. I adore the internet revolution, the games that glow on screens are fun (i love tetris and other games with guns and “nonsense”) but it’s easy to go for the easiest “results” in pleasure-seeking. It gets old, empty and meaningless. For some of us, anyway.
The dazed, vacant look dawns gray on their faces when my kids have contracted insta-grat overload. Zombies invade. Nothing satisfies. I try not to let it get to that point ever. But when it happens or even threatens to, boot-camp commences. Turn off all the glowing boxes. Listen for birds. Note the wind. Hello earth. Grate carrots for bread, sweep floors, pull weeds, gather stones from rivers, pick flowers, wash dishes, climb trees, assemble, draw, yo-yos, skateboards, bikes, long walks, river treks, guitar jamming, piano storming, dance, hug, cuddle…be more fully in your whole body in life. If I could control every detail of their lives, there’d be no xbox. But I can be extreme.
It comes down to doses. What’s your dosage of insta-grat? What’s your dosage of chopping wood? What does your organism require most? How much mindless “pleasure” turns you into a zombie? What level of hard labor deprives you of sensual fun?
Pick Up Sticks are timeless, reliable sources for getting back to basic fun. And they don’t require weekly rental cost. Besides, you can get the cat to chase a Pick Up Stick and watch her fat black body roll all over the carpet, biting at an elusive thin stick and putting all her feet in the air. Comedy, versatility and balance in a world rich with basic fun.
This little dissertation began with my son. Ev grabbed the sticks today when I told him I wanted to play a game. It amazed and pleased me. His mind has not been lost to the world of the glowing box. And he’s the one who renewed my interest in Chess. Chess – where you sit in silence or listening to quiet music (or loud noisy music, if you prefer) and plot the strategy to take the king (or is it the queen or…? I actually have to be reminded every time we play. But I love the game.). You think. You wait. You watch. You are not bombarded with non-stop stimulation. You learn something about the other person and you may even chat amiably between moves, similar to Pick Up Sticks where actual interaction takes place with ANOTHER LIVE HUMAN BEING.
But now I’m on a soapbox. Enough. Go get some Pick Up Sticks and remember the inner child while you enjoy the child whose presence life has graciously bestowed on you. Remember that it’s not about doing the right thing so as to guarantee any one thing to prove any wonderful thing but…it’s an opportunity – if only for a few minutes – to relate. And love happens when you relate. And that’s really all that matters.