We adults can learn a lot from kids

So goes the Universe, ebbing and flowing over our lives, swirling experiences produced of free will mixed with an unfolding set plan we often do not understand.
Or so I believe, anyway.
For some who are dear to us, the weeks following the first light of 2009 have been cheerless and dark, and full of heartache not soon to find healing. Potential and hope are elusive possibilities just yet.
For others of us, the job market has waned. Plan ‘B’ and Plan ‘C,’ and plans for making Plan ‘D,’ are frank realities. Not yet lured to our backdoor, the whisper of the howling wolf lingers off in the distance. He paces back and forth, but nevertheless knows the way here ever so well.
And for many of us, despite thick talk of the world’s dollars and sense, there’s plenty of promise in this New Year, especially in Washington, D.C.
For some of us, the New Year’s resolutions are sticking and we’re losing weight, winning the war against cigarettes, and writing in our diaries every night instead of once or twice in 365 days.
For others of us, we are stuck in old ways that aren’t working for us, and yet we are unwilling to change the one thing that would change everything. We question what our heart tells us and keep doing what we’ve always done because it is grossly familiar and the unknown is a scary place.
Pay attention to your intuition. Follow it. It speaks the truth.
Or so I believe, anyway.
Of particular interest to me, of late, are the little people around us who live in the “now.” Many grown-ups could take a lesson or two from that primary school of thought, me included.
As long as Adam, three, can jump off the bottom step of the staircase, then he can fly and everything is right in his world. And if one-year-old, Ben, can make that rocking horse pitch, then he’s happy as a lark.
Little children aren’t consumed by worries of what might happen tomorrow, or next week, and they certainly don’t let the overloaded soul get in the way of what’s right in front of them. Whether it’s the little morsels of toast they have in their fingers at breakfast, or the Play-doh squeezing through the small holes on the top of the hair mold, all matters are in the moment.
If little children are happy, the moment is lived in joy and there is nothing else but that. If they’re angry or sad, the moment is lived thoroughly with tears and screaming, and then they leave it behind and move on to the next now.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I, too, am trying to learn something here. I do my best to pay attention to living in the present moment, and to listen to my intuition when it whispers to me, but I fall through the cracks with the best of them all the time.
So when that little voice spoke softly to me the other day amidst the chaos of my mind, when I was lost in the losing game of perpetual worry about the impossibilities of tomorrow, I really didn’t want anything to do with it.
I was busy.
“Whas tha?” it murmured.
“Whas tha?” the little voice said again, accompanied by a button-eyed look as the words tumbled sloppily over eight tiny baby teeth and out of the mouth of my 10-month-old granddaughter, Julie.
She was sitting on the floor in the middle of my kitchen playing with cans of tomato soup and boxes of Kraft Dinner—clearly a more interesting pastime than all the toys I’d piled in a heap on the other side of the room.
Her realization that she’d caught my attention drew a big smile beamed up to me as she rocked in place, shaking the macaroni box to the beat of her world.
My universe nagged at me to find solutions, fix errors, challenge already-made decisions, pay bills, play catch-up, lament next week, and kick myself for yesterday. Julie just kept shaking that macaroni box, swaying and smiling.
Captured by her spell, I climbed down the ladder from my overloaded soul and lay down on my stomach in front of her, rested my hands under my chin, and my world in hers.
The late Martha Graham, one of the pioneers of modern dance, believed that we learn by practice.
“Whether it means to learn to dance by practising dancing or to learn to live by practising living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit.”
No doubt little children have much to learn, but they already are wise beyond measure.
They are a holiday for the adult mind—a window and a door back to that present place that many of us lost touch with when we started projecting ourselves into some future moment that promises greater fulfillment.
Or so I believe, anyway.
Now, if only I could fit on the rocking horse.

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