Awe & Wonder
I have a very distinct memory of my childhood. I was in grade one playing in the playground, and I had a sudden urge of complete possibility wash over me: "Wheeee! I can do anything ... even fly!"
I backed up. Made sure my path ahead was clear. And I ran as fast as I could, absolutely positive that when I jumped over the edge of a grass-covered tunnel, I would soar ...
The truth is, it didn't last long. I hit the ground after just a split second or two in the air ... but you know what? Rather than being bummed, I told myself I actually DID fly, just not for very long. It was fun while it lasted.
Obviously since then a lot of things in my life have changed, but one thing still remains in-tact: I've been cultivating moments of "feeling-possibility" ever since. Only these days, I'm not jumping over tunnels to feel the wonder ... I create Art instead.
How does making Art and Childhood Imagination meet in a grown-ups world? Let me tell you how through my latest painting.
I'd been hearing the call-to-create all weekend, but I felt pretty poorly with a scratchy throat, so making Art felt like some pretty nice self-care. I got out just a few materials, a piece of nice paper and set to create.
What would I make? It didn't even matter. I just allowed discovery and possibility take over feeling shitty and sick. What I was really doing was playing again and wondering what might happen. I was jumping into the wind and enjoying the breeze on my way.
As I ripped and glued, washed and diluted, dripped and spread, I noticed something emerging. A large area of silver drew down the page and the negative space opposite hinted to a shape. Was this an elephant emerging?
Right here, I could have easily stopped in my tracks. I liked what I'd created. A swift rod-of-fear shot up my insides, urging me not to wreck it with a kiddish bloody elephant. "Im no good at animals", I told myself.
But why was I even here then? The idea was to play with discovery to nourish myself, wasn't it? So I let discovery take over instead. "Let's jump and see what happens", I told myself.
Now I don't really know how to paint an elephant. But wonder had got me this far. I turned to my good friend 'google images' and searched for "decorated Indian elephant". I wanted to see an elephant's structure, it's eyes, it's toenails, how an elephant stood on the ground and their energy. I had found enough of a visual road-map to propel my courage to further discovery. So I took a brave step and sketched in a face, defined a body, cut up some delicate toenails.
A decorated elephant with painted toenails? Now that's fun.
Why an elephant emerged in this painting, I don't really know. But I do I get a feeling of courage, gentleness and possibility from her. I guess that's the energy she was created with.
The reason I share this story with you is because I believe we could all do well to embrace more Possibility and Awe in our lives. It might feel indulgent or even scary to let go of the reins of the "real-world". But why else are we here, if not to cultivate some sense of enjoyment? Why not play and just don't give a shit for a while? Let's give our grown-up selves a a little time to do whatever it is that lights us up from within.
For some of us, it's painting. For others, it's golf or volunteering, or chasing storms or bushwalking or cooking up a batch of hot brownies. It's all got to do with that childhood feeling, I think, of discovering something that feels incredible and inspiring - a feeling within of Awe.
Theres is wonderful book I'm reading right now called Big Magic, which talks more about where ideas come from and how to have fun in the creative process. It's got me remembering how this amazing world we live in is SO full of awe and potential - and you know what? So are we.
I may not have flown just yet (although I do quite regularly in my dreams!) but I can keep on cultivating and seizing inspiring moments in this life. That's what making Art does for me. I can re-live that feeling of jumping into flight, just for the joy of it and seeing what happens.
Every one of us feels Inspired and Awed by something. What's yours? Our capacity to enjoy life feels best punctuated by the moments we spend in the air, as well as those we spend on real ground.
All my Love,