Spilled out across the living room floor…reds, yellows, whites, blue, wheels, windows, tiny tiny pieces and flat bumpy boards. Who has not played with Lego’s at least once in their life? I know I used to spend hours and hours building with them as a kid, and today, find myself back on the floor from time to time with my six year old exploring the dimensional creativity that can happen with multiple and varied colored, stack-able blocks and nothing else. Yes, playing Lego’s could technically be classified as its own form of therapy these days, as it takes a real act of ‘playful surrender’ to get into the creative spirit. Who couldn’t use that?
We think they are just for kids. Toy boxes full of Lego sets line the kid’s section of your shopping mart. Commercials are directed toward youngsters and even Lego magazines address the cravings and interest of children wishing for their next Lego collector’s set. But have you ever sat down to play? As an adult? Often, as parents, we get a chance to re-visit our youth and find the play quite therapeutic, though I think we likely don’t try it enough. As long as the kiddos are ‘occupied’ it leaves us time to get our ‘grown-up’ things done, and you know Lego’s can lose a kid for hours in its colorful imaginative grasp.
This is the precise reason why I highly recommend playing Lego’s on a regular basis as a therapeutic act. When you are in ‘Lego-land’ you cannot think of anything else. You must find the correct fitting pieces, the color you want, the appropriate accessory to your ever-unfolding creation – which is usually not clear right away, but rather, evolves as you build. Much like life. Playing Lego’s not only gives you quality ‘connecting’ time with your kids, if you have them, but with the child inside – and we all have one of those.
It’s truly like a meditation, sitting with the spill of colors across the rug, spying out the perfect piece as it unveils itself to you in the finding. If you allow yourself to really dive in, the possibilities are endless what you can create – as my six year old shows me daily. Even while I sit here and write this article, he is beautifully posed to my right, talking nonsensically to himself while he searches and constructs, searches and constructs. Every once in a while he comes to show me what he has invented and I am always astonished at the creative possibilities ever hiding in that rainbow heap.
Lego as Art
One man loved playing Lego’s so much that he started doing it as a lifestyle and career. Taking his Lego creations all around the world, Nathan Sawaya practices what he calls ‘The Art of the Brick.’ Not only does he awe his on-lookers all across the globe, he is making very good money ‘playing’ Lego’s on a regular basis. For Nathan, Lego building has transformed into a productive art form which offers him opportunities to create for others in return for cash. Now, though this is a great and cool thing for him, this is not really what I am suggesting by Lego-play. Nathan does make sure that those who come to his exhibits have a chance to play Lego’s though, as he usually provides a ‘building space’ for those who visit his shows.
Here are a few of his inspirational Lego pieces:
Getting back to the subject of Lego therapy, I am pressed to emphasize the act of surrender involved in the benefits reaped. When we poise ourselves in the position of ‘doing nothing of seeming importance’ as the world would deem it, and instead merge into the creative splendor of the unknown act – we are bound to come face to face with inspiration of some magnitude. We are also very likely to find ourselves discovering a lost piece of ourselves. Then, just like the act of Lego-construction, we have the opportunity to ‘put the pieces together’ both actually and metaphorically as we sit cross-legged on the floor with our findings.
A friend of mine has often mused about organizing a Lego-workshop for adults, taught by children. A brilliant way to reconnect with the spontaneous spirit of creation and imagination lodged in each one of us – though often hidden behind agendas, calendar meetings and priorities. Yes, it seems the board room would be the ideal place for a workshop of this sort.
The great part of all this is – the therapeutic act of playing Lego’s can be reaped by anyone, at any age. All this act of therapy takes is some surrender, a playful attitude and a few hundred Lego pieces. I bet there’s a neighbor boy who would let you play! Instead of investing in that expensive meditation workshop or therapy session, maybe grab a box of Lego’s and sit down for an afternoon with yourself and see what happens. You might just find that you not only made a plane that transforms, but found the answers you’ve been struggling for all week.
Written by: Stasia Bliss
Sources: The inspiration of my child