As kids, we knew a lot. We knew the future held a remarkable adventure. We were born knowing our passions and gifts and gravitated easily toward them. We knew joy in the moment. Our job was to play… and it was a darn good job. There was no amount of rules, regulations, shoulds, or ‘have to’s’ that could stop the dreaming, scheming, imagining and discovering. There were no limits to the enthusiasm and answers when we finished the sentence “When I grow up…”
As kids, we believed in magic. Most everything seemed possible. We were certain that one day we would time travel. Personally, I’m a little baffled that I haven’t yet walked through walls.
We knew to stretch like cats and we knew how to experience happiness with our whole body.
We discovered we were good at things we loved – skating, drawing, climbing, building, storytelling. When the world felt out of sorts, we would seek out those activities to find peace.
And then well intentioned grown ups got involved to help us participate in the grown up world. We learned how to fit in, how to sit quietly at a desk, how to think in a linear fashion with timelines, logic, rules and structures.
As a result we learned that the creative and imaginative adventurer in us was ‘just play’ and that it really did not have much value in the grown up world. Yes it’s true: Jumping up in the middle of a meeting yelling “aha,” and blurting out an amazing idea that could not be substantiated by statistics, is generally not well received.
And so we forgot the little kid who had all the answers and who could naturally gravitate towards what they loved. In a nutshell… we lost the spirit of “When I grow up…” and gained doubt, uncertainty, rules, fitting in, and simply stated, how not to live our dream.
But that’s okay. We can rediscover that spirit. Imagine what can happen when the wisdom of an adult mind connects to the wonder and curiosity of the child’s mind… the result is nothing less than spectacular.
Okay, I admit.. it gets a bit crazy. At a recent Creative Muse Group, the participants experienced the ‘Bea Silly’ Muse. The participants are introduced to nine muses. Muses like ‘Aha-phrodite’ – the muse of passion, paying attention, and possibilities, ‘Albert’- the muse of imagination, and ‘Bea Silly’. Let me tell you about Bea Silly. She is the muse of ‘childlike play, laughter and dance.’ This muse is introduced as a tool to reconnect to the child self. Participants learn that they can call in their Bea Silly Muse to reignite creative flow, relieve stress, gain energy, connect to their passionate spirit and well.. just plain have fun.
And so, on ‘Bea Silly’ night, the participants climbed trees, walked on stilts, played hopscotch , hula hooped, gave piggy backs, pretended to be imaginary people, were sassy, silly, and hysterically funny.
They remembered. Having re-experienced their child, they can now bring that energy in and, believe me, they do know how to use it!
But here’s the crazy part. At the end of the class, when I, their facilitator, attempted to connect the group to summarize their experience, well! Little brats.. they were interruptive, giggly, throwing paper balls at each other, and generally not at all capable of sitting, listening and summarizing. Here’s a fact: As much as many teachers and caregivers would love to incorporate play and imagination into all of their teachings…. well, it’s not an easy thing to bring a group of wildly imaginative children back from the ‘land of their right brains’ to sitting quietly at their desks.
But here lies the ‘spectacular’ in connecting the wisdom of adults and their wondrous kid spirit: I could send them home. And they, as adults, get to find their way to bring that child-like genius into all they do. They can add playfulness to their written works, visualize their kid spirit to de-stress, incorporate free thinking into their projects, and energize themselves by climbing trees. I hope I get to hear that they piggy backed their co-workers to a meeting!
And without even noticing how it happened, one day they may notice that they are stretching like cats, feeling happiness in their whole body, and enthusiastically saying, “When I grow up I’m going to….”
Isn’t it your turn to go play? Yes, go play.
by Janet L. Whitehead ©2010