“It is the mark of a great man that he puts to flight all ordinary calculations. He is at once sublime and touching, childlike and of the race of giants.” –Honore de Balzac
Me feeding ducks with my brothers in London’s Hyde Park.
“May you live in interesting times”: is this a blessing or a curse? We certainly live in troubling, frightening times that are nothing if not interesting. This can, however, become exhausting, and one may become calloused and jaded if they’re not careful. Cynicism may set in. It’s high time we all try to turn off the news and recapture our childlike innocence and wonder before it’s too late. You’ll be surprised at what a few simple activities can do to quiet the mind and help heal the soul. It’s a form of meditation and even a wonderful rebellion to not let the world harden your spirit.
“‘I am youth. I am joy. I am freedom!’ said Peter Pan.” –J.M. Barrie
Try engaging in these activities that bring out your inner childlike glee and imagination.
- Take a cue from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan—the story of the boy who didn’t want to grow up—who taught other children how to fly.
- Start with being creative. Write a poem and, of course, read poetry like W.B. Yeats and Walt Whitman. Try “The Stolen Child” by Yeats and Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” These poems evoke a sense of childlike beauty, wonderment and awe mingled with profound wisdom that only a long life can acquire.
- Picasso said that it took him a lifetime to learn how to paint like a child. When you paint for leisure, it should be enjoyable. Let mistakes happen and learn from them. Sometimes a good work of art is a happy accident.
- Children are not calculating or judgmental. They are innocent and have an almost enviable glee. If we all tried to set aside our assumptions and predispositions, we might surprise ourselves and others.
“I like conflict. I love competition. I like discovering things for myself. It’s a childlike characteristic, actually. But that gives you a certain amount of power, and people are intimidated by that.” –Grace Jones
- Remember that being childlike does not mean childish! Quite the opposite, actually. It gives one a great sense of power to be able to go with the flow and roll with the punches.
- We’ve lost our sense of play. Sometimes going into a meadow or field and picking a bunch of wildflowers is just what we need to get grounded. Literally lie on the ground and look up at the sky, feeling the immense earth beneath your body. This is a simple yet surprisingly wonderful pastime.
- Spend time with the children in your life—whether they’re your sons and daughters, nieces, nephews, or even godchildren. Become a nurturer. Whether that means lending a kind shoulder or being an attentive listener, these things mean more than you know.
- Try to find the silver lining. Remember, it’s always darkest before dawn. Or, as Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” We shouldn’t become cliché or trite, but sometimes it is proverbs that save us and, sometimes, the simplest action or thought is the best one. It’s a form of self-preservation to keep your childlike enthusiasm and optimism. This is not to be confused with being complacent or apathetic but rather a boon to other people’s spirits (along with your own).
Use Spartan and the Green Egg’s Books as a Key to Awakening Curiosity
“Spartan and the Green Egg” by Nabila Khashoggi is a collection of books that were written as a way to entertain and educate her son, Spartan, as well as other children. The stories are all about adventure, travel, and fantastical voyages in a green egg. Gift and read these to the children in your life. You can explore vicariously through these stories, whether it’s to the Amazon Rainforest, to the Reefs of Mindoro Island in the South China Sea, or to the Sahara Desert, to name but a few destinations.
Visit the link below to discover more about Spartan and the Green Egg: