There was a time when you could go to any schoolyard and see kids being kids. Kids would run, leap, throw, and exert themselves with the pure joy of uncorrupted youth. They were suddenly realizing their bodies were incredible machines capable of precise, complex movements, and the games they played developed these capabilities. Dirt clod fights, epic dodgeball matches, and tetherball developed hand-eye coordination and agility; roughhousing that never graduated into enmity taught kids the value of a few bumps and bruises (as well as how to dish ‘em out); games like tag, capture the flag, and monkey in the middle emphasized foot speed, lateral agility, and rapid changes of direction. The teacher on yard duty might hand out a citation or break up a little scuffle once in awhile, but recess was generally pretty relaxed. About the only thing your average schoolyard athlete worried about was explaining away the grass stains, or maybe the scuffed knees. Looking back, we really had it good: unstructured play, impromptu workouts that didn’t feel like work but got us into great shape and developed our social skills. We were little Groks, cultivating our minds and bodies without actively planning a routine (or play date). It probably helped that we didn’t have Nintendo DS Lites or smart phones (or overbearing parents) to distract us, but the fact remains that we just were. A bit like Grok, we didn’t run and jump to get better at running and jumping; we ran and jumped because it was fun, because it simply felt like the right thing to do. Our athletic development was merely a bonus.
Some of us have kids who seem to naturally flock to sports and physical activity. And while they might not resist every food temptation typical for their age group, they somehow pull together a pretty solid diet. Still others of us have children who aren’t necessarily the best eaters or exercisers but who seem (for now) more or less immune to the weight gain that might inspire better habits. Finally, some of us parent kids who truly struggle with weight. And even while poor food choices and low activity levels clearly contribute to most children’s problems, occasionally there are kids who, despite good habits, continue the battle into adulthood.
A couple months back erstad17 started a forum thread. With a simple question (“Wondering if there are any others in the Pacific Northwest?”) and a little leg work the first Primal Blueprint meet-up event was held. It brought people together that hardly knew each other to share Primal stories, food and each other’s company. And by all accounts it went swimmingly. (Last I heard they’re planning on doing more in the future.) I was thrilled to hear about the event and even more excited to learn that they’d be taking and sending in photos and recipes from the party (see below).
I’ve discussed the importance of forging relationships for social wellness and the power of connecting with others in the past. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that Mark’s Daily Apple is in some small way encouraging people to get together, learn from one another and have a little fun in the sun. We all know the benefits of play. What better way to do it than with other Primal Blueprinters?
As my post last week stated, this is just the beginning. Because no matter how much fun all this virtual stuff we do is, it pales in comparison to actually meeting and spending time with people face-to-face. This is why I am looking forward to holding a meet-up here in Los Angeles at some point and why Primal retreats are a dream of mine. In the meantime I encourage all readers that are interested in connecting with other PBers to drop a line in the forum (Meet and Greet section) and form your own local meet-up. If any future meet-ups do take place I’d love to hear an account of it. Send in your stories, photos, recipes and video footage and I’ll publish it on MDA.
Many thanks to everyone that participated in the Seattle Primal Blueprint Meet-Up – for your mouth-watering recipes, your photos and for showing us all how it can be done! Thank you.
Here is the email I received from the group:
I’ve mentioned the Primal concept of play quite a bit recently, and I figured I should clarify what I mean with a comprehensive post.
But Mark! A Definitive Guide to something that is essentially formless, spontaneous, and boundless? Surely you jest!
Before you scoff, consider the current status of play in our society. Think about where “play” as a concept has been relegated – to the “important but ultimately expendable” category. Roving bands of children out for kicks and innocent thrills who answer only to the streetlights are absent, replaced by Purel-soaked kids being bused to their next “play date.” Working men and women accumulate enough stress for a dozen Groks in the course of a week, putting in overtime and working weekends, only to collapse on the couch in front of the TV once they get home. If they’re lucky, they’ll get a few hours a week on the treadmill or out in the yard with the kids or the dog. When they finally manage to get it, people enjoy play (it is fun, after all), but – whether it’s our Puritan past summoning hidden guilt at the thought of pleasure for pleasure’s sake or the consumerist mentality pushing us to work, work, work – there’s always “real life” calling and interrupting the fun. Pure play has become more of a luxury nowadays or, even worse, is considered to be “kids’ stuff.” But when your kids can’t even play without checking their schedules first, you know there’s a serious problem.
Sunday morning my friends Eric and Brandon joined me for a standup paddle workout off the Malibu coastline. It was an unusually warm day for mid-winter and we set out for a short jaunt to the pier at Paradise Cove, a little over a mile up the beach. We were cruising along at a good clip, and almost there, when a pod of 12 dolphins surprised us by surfacing near us heading in the opposite direction. And when I say near, I mean some of them were within a few feet – maybe inches – of our boards. Eric suggested we turn around and try to catch them. I was skeptical that we could go fast enough, seeing how quickly they had passed us, but after watching for a minute or so and seeing that they had slowed, we gave chase. Within a few more minutes we had caught up with them, almost as if they had been waiting for us, and we proceeded to paddle slowly with them for the next mile or so. It was incredible to see 12 of these magnificent creatures surface and dive – and expel their loud breaths – within just a few feet of us for so long. I’m sure they were having as much fun as we were. The water was fairly clear, so we could see them down to about 12 feet below us as they looked for food. A few were quite young, but several must have weighed 500-600 pounds. The three of us were in awe of how lucky we were to have hit upon just the right conditions. As we cruised south along the coastline in this motley little parade, many of the beach residents started gathering on their porches to check out the action. We drew quite a crowd.
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