Hmmm... what is fun. It's all relative, right? Halloween is around the corner, and last Friday (the 13th) my younger sister wanted us all to go to a haunted house. Thirty-five dollars is how much it costs per person to get frightened, grossed out, and potentially traumatized. I passed. I think they should have to pay me. Another sister loves camping and, while I love nature, it's not the same as when I was a little kid.
Many times, I've done things I didn't want to because everyone else did. Looking back, that's been most times. I'm an introvert and sensitive to chaos, so crowds are taxing for me. Being outdoors helps. Drinking also helps. I like to be around people, perhaps for no other reason than to be included, but I'd be just as content to blend into the wallpaper and read a magazine while everyone else plays beer pong and engages in trivial conversation. I wonder how many times in my life I drank in order to let my hair down and disengage from my mind so I could engage with my peers. Feedback would suggest that, compared to the majority, I lack the fun gene.
At the ashram, I remember watching the monks walk around so quietly and thinking I could die of boredom if that were my life. Is "fun" even necessary when you're completely at peace? Maybe they dance and sing when no one's looking. Or maybe they have a calmer definition. It may be a chicken-egg scenario, where the heaviness of modern life prevents us from enjoying ourselves, so we engage in (sometimes ridiculous) activities in order to de-stress.
There was one yogi-in-training who was always organizing a group to participate in some new religious ritual. The ashram had a strict philosophy of "Many Paths, One Truth" so as long as you weren't proselytizing or hurting anyone, nothing was off limits. Admittedly, I was usually game. One particular Native American ceremony changed my life. We looked to the stars from atop a mountain and prayed to the North, East, South, and West. We each lit a candle and sent blessings to someone in our life who had passed and another who had been born. We held hands, danced in a circle, and sang to a drum beat. I was so uplifted.
As I write, I realize that what's most fun for me is novelty. Exploring a new city and culture. Jumping from a rope swing into the river. I might even go backpacking if it allows me to be part of something new, to stretch myself, to grow.
Weightlessness. Laughter. As children these things came naturally. We didn't need alcohol to get into the Zone. Everything was novel. Excitement came easy. And life wasn't so heavy. It may be more difficult as an adult to feel the Flow, but finally I believe it's possible. Every day I chip away at the layers of doubt and insecurity and become a little more childlike again.