Last week my Yoga teacher, Chas Jansen, urged us to use a New Mind in doing our postures and meditations. What this means is to perform ancient movements of Yoga with which we are quite familiar as if we were doing them for the very first time.The purpose? To deepen consciousness – our being in the moment feelings. It is not as easy as it sounds. Try it sometime. Brush your teeth or comb your hair with a different hand. Cross your arms, then re-cross them with a different arm on top. Everything feels weird, wrong, foreign. But it’s not mindless. You do remember how it felt.
As part of our meditation, Chas asked us to think back on moments of our childhood when many things were new to us. Lying there in corpse pose, I drifted back, back, back. All of a sudden, I was a kid about six years old, out in my backyard with the other neighbor kids playing.
You may recall an earlier column when I informed you that I was the wrestling champion of my neighborhood – boys’ and girls’ divisions. Well, I was. Until I developed bosoms. Then, the boys would no longer wrestle me. I was devastated. But I digress. As I lay there, I called out, “Let’s play Red Rover.” Some of my fellow Yogis were startled out of their slumbers and jolted upright. But Chas, always game for play, asked others in the class to call out their favorite childhood games. I heard TAG, JUMP ROPE, KICK THE CAN, HIDE AND SEEK. Then, I remembered another of my own favorites: STATUE.
One kid would twirl you around by one hand and then let go. Wherever you landed, you had to strike a pose as if you were a statue. It was fun because I do love to pose – especially in silly, awkward positions. Part of my silly side, I guess.
But Red Rover was my favorite, so let’s play that. Imagine your children or grandchildren and their pals all lined up with linked arms looking strong and fierce as they scream, Red Rover, Red Rover, we dare ???? to come over. (Insert your name in the question-mark area.)
Then, you draw yourself up, flex your muscles and run like the wind toward the linked crew, aiming for whomever you figure is the weakest pair among them. (Note: Do not assume it’s between two girls. They’re tougher than they look.) You run faster and faster and finally collide with the two arms, hoping they can’t hold you and you’ll break through. You may end up hanging belly first as they hold you up in the air. But probably not, because after all, you are a super hero capable of great feats and tests of strength, right?
(Another note: Bruised ribs are an occupational danger while playing this game. If you have osteoporosis, don’t even think about playing Red Rover. I recommend the following game if that is the case.)
Sit in a circle and play MY FATHER OWNS A GROCERY STORE. That one’s easy. And poses no danger to your ribs. You just go around the circle and say, My father owns a grocery store, and in it, he has (something that begins with) A. Don’t say apples. That’s much too easy and common. Everybody says that, and you must appear more intelligent than average – especially among your progeny or grand progeny.
Anyway, it strikes me that most kids today know none of these games. Don’t we owe it to our young and dear to teach them, lest time and I-Pads erase from memory that such games ever existed?
Now, a secret. Do not tell Chas. Once at Yoga in a restful Child Pose, I literally took myself back to my crib days. I was a baby again with my diapered rump sticking up in the air. I saw my curly head and my thumb in my mouth as I was serenely sleeping. Not a care in the world. It was heavenly.
Truth be told, I even imagined how it felt to wet that diaper. Warm liquid flowing and cradling my bottom and lady parts. Very sensuous. Try it some time. Imagining it, I mean, not actually doing it. Really wetting yourself might get you in a nursing home quick as taking a screwdriver to your husband’s ear canal.
“Sorry, honey, I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Funny, isn’t it? I’ve learned there is a lot to be said for trying to use a New Mind approach to life.
Case in point: last year, I planted my very first tree. It’s a small weeping cherry in my front yard. I watched as it dropped its leaves as cold weather approached, then vexed for months that I had killed it. Sadly, I have a habit of doing that to green things.
All winter long, I looked out my window at the poor, scrawny thing murmuring apologetic phrases to it for my black thumb. Just before I almost dug it out of the ground, though, I noticed fuzzy stuff on its branches. Then, the fuzzy stuff turned into little leaves that began to grow like that beanstalk Jack had.
Another New Mind adventure! Both the book I read in first grade and my tree living in spite of me.
By the way, I’ve tried using my illuminating New Mind philosophy on #45. Sad to say, it ain’t working. When I try looking at that bloated orange face as if for the first time, he’s still ugly.
Jeanne Charters is a New Yorker blissfully relocated to Asheville. She lives with her husband, Matt Restivo, and their dog, Bucky. Her novel, ‘Shanty Gold,’ is available at Malaprops and Mountain Made in Asheville; at Highland Books in Brevard; at Blue Ridge Books and News in Waynesville; at The Book Shelf in Tryon; and, of course, Amazon. Her second book, Lace Curtain, will be available soon. Jeanne invites you to enjoy her blogs on Irish jokes and historical tidbits at jeannecharters.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She loves to hear from readers.