Learn From The Kids

Get Out Of Your Head“How terribly sad it was that people are made in such a way that they get used to something as extraordinary as living.” Jostein Gaarder

“There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.” C. JoyBell C.

“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!” C. JoyBell C.

I had to take a break from my writing due to family issues that needed my attention. Of course I never stopped observing and learning, even if I stopped writing. I noticed how tense it felt to let go of so many tasks I would normally accomplish when I have total concentration. Instead I sat back, worried and reviewed how far behind I assessed I must be. In reality I was only behind because I saw it that way. In actuality I might be and probably am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in time.

How many of us believe or even think about why we find ourselves treading water at times or even going backwards at other times? Perhaps we view this as big problems  and ask ourselves why it happened to us. None of us would say “Well I am glad for that set back  because now I have time to review what it is I am doing.”

I venture to say none of us enjoy obstacles of any nature and perhaps we question why obstructions had to happen to us. We do move and get beyond what occurred but we build up our anxiety over it, feel frustrated and angry, and basically either take it out on ourselves or those who are close to us. That leaves all of us burdened with issues of all kinds, because we are all dumping our dilemmas on each other constantly.

Suddenly light dawned as I observed a young three year old messing around with toys. He worked hard to build something which eventually came crashing down. He observed it and then  laughed and proceeded to construct it again. There was no loss of activity nor tears of remorse. He was surprised that it had happened but to him the surprise was worth the destruction of his creation.

If adults could only accept the twists and turns in the road as the small child did our anxiety and fear would decrease.  As I continued to watch the child he began building the tower in exactly the me way and he watched again and again as it toppled to the ground. What was he thinking I reflected. I would be in tears and thinking how I could build something that would stand against any kind of destruction. He obviously was greatly amused and had discovered in his own mind, how to make the occurrence happen all over again. That was his reward. When he got tired of it he turned to a totally different activity and became engrossed again.

What I took from it was his ability to remain pleased and content with his world. He didn’t try to control it but instead he let things happen at their own will. He was satisfied with every new discovery. He was the investigator of research even though he didn’t likely know what that meant. Most kids do appear to use the hands on method of discovery until we guide them into ways of doing it “right” so we believe.

I wonder if adults lose the power to think not only outside the box but outside of their own heads. I know how much I re-examine everything I say and do and what others say and do. I spend so much time within the walls of my head that it allows me little time to be present in the moment.  Kids are our complete opposite. They simply tell you like it is right down to the fact that they need to poop in the middle of a movie. It is a fact of life and they are not ashamed to admit it.

Is it adults who begin blocking kids in with our taboos and ideas of right and wrong? Of course we should teach morals and values but do we actually teach it or just explain the repercussions of not obeying rules. Do we blindly follow guidelines everywhere and from everybody without questioning why we are even doing it? Kids appear to keep a simplistic version of behaving.

They are not afraid to tell you they don’t like something,  and they will refuse to act on something that scares them despite our prodding. They quickly admit when they are afraid of things that we would assume they shouldn’t be afraid of. Some kids  are timid in making friends, are shy around adults, and close their mouths tightly when an adult is forcing food they don’t want to try or medicine they don’t like.

They keep it simple and trek forward at all times. They see the positive in things and will use boxes, dirt and a stick for a shovel when necessary. They make do and and laugh at so many things we fail to see the humor in. An anxious expression on our face may send them into a roar of laughter. Hearing us say we have to go to the bathroom can send a  five year old howling. Most times adults miss the humor and only smile to acknowledge their happiness.

How did we come to take so much so seriously. Are we teaching that to our kids? Are we flushing away love, life and laughter from our own lives and the lives of our children? We put up signs about living laughing and loving yet we don’t follow it most times. Perhaps we appreciate what we should be doing but can’t seem to go against the crowd and do it. Kids have no problem being themselves at all times. Adults ought to imitate the kids and do the same. If only we could admit it when we are hurting, disgraced at least in our own minds, unhappy, scared, sick and numerous other emotions we keep hidden from others.

We treasure strength, ability, power, and sometimes the skill to squash our emotions. We place humility, compassion, love and weakness under wraps as if it should be hidden. No wonder we can’t be ourselves anymore. Kids will cry and then admit they can’t do something. We stand in resolve to accomplish what we likely are unable to accomplish never asking for help which would be cowardly we believe.

I see kids as grouping together and running in all directions in happiness and squeals of laughter. Adults scurry to their jobs attempting to please a relentless boss and perhaps a spouse who is expecting more than we can possibly deliver. The camaraderie and cooperation we experienced as kids is slowly drained from us and we are left alone within our minds in doubt about how where and why we are navigating anyplace.

Now we re following silly rules we don’t really care about. We have stopped attempting to understand the why’s anymore and just do the jobs that need attention. We have in essence given up more of our own power of control than we should have given up. Understanding the reasons of life and living, is a more profound goal than buying a better home or trumping our friend or neighbor. We are not separate entities but actually one in our world. We  can help each other support each other and allow each other t be who they are. We can let go of the judgments and embrace the pleasure of each others company. This brings a profound enlightenment and a peaceful co-existence

I have faith that if we all opened up our hearts, our minds would follow and a deluge would ensue. We might find all the support and love that had been bottled up within each of us, spill out in all directions. The  falseness would disappear and the masks and costumes we display daily would fall. We would and could feel like the young child who could enjoy his blocks regardless of failure with the understanding that failure is a myth. None of us fail we just make mistakes that can most of the time be corrected. We can try again because nobody is keeping a tally and we can admit failure and victory becasue we are on the same team. We don’t have to win alone. We actually don’t have to lose alone. We can technically win all the time when we share the victories of life with each other.

Parents teach their kids, siblings teach and inspire each other, relatives of all kinds aid prompt and encourage each other at any point in time.  Friends are quickly here and gone but each leaves a mark on us regardless of the length of time of their involvement. Getting out of our heads allows us to live and begin each new day with high hopes of doing some awesome positive support for others.

Before we hang up rules or signs we should contemplate the reasons they inspire us. Understanding what it is about them that makes them valuable is crucial to our understanding life. Like a puzzle we have broken apart into a zillion pieces. The picture of our lives will become clearer as we place those pieces together and actually and finally look at the real picture. Alone we are a shining light for a moment until the light is turned off. Together we create an awesome bright luminosity  gathering all into the comforting serenity of love in action.

Kids love everyone and their love is unconditional. They  forgive everything and forget transgressions as they begin playing with a friend the next day after having fought with them the previous day. They don’t judge who can or can’t climb up the ladder they just send out the cry, “Let’s do it.” Together they work, play, live, laugh,  and love. There is a message here for us to witness.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” C. JoyBell C.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” C. JoyBell C.



Rituals“To me it seems that too many young women of this time share the same creed. ‘Live, laugh, love, be nothing but happy, experience everything, et cetera et cetera.’ How monotonous, how useless this becomes. What about the honors of Joan of Arc, Beauvoir, Stowe, Xena, Princess Leia, or women that would truly fight for something other than just their own emotions?” Criss Jami

“Everything ritualistic must be strictly avoided, because it immediately turns rotten. Of course a kiss is a ritual too and it isn’t rotten, but ritual is permissible only to the extent that it is as genuine as a kiss.”     Ludwig Wittgenstein

It was interesting when someone mentioned the rituals we all go through daily without any thought. It really was inspiring because it brought many questions and revelations regarding our life as usual approach. Our repetitive words and actions appear to be mindless and without any depth. It made me wonder  how much of my day was actually lived.

Then I received a phone call from a person very close to me, who was concerned about certain areas of her life manifesting in the fashion she wanted them to manifest. She was distraught about the possibility of her strategies taking longer than she wanted. Her frustration appeared out of control yet ringing true for all of us. We have become used to attaining our wants immediately. We can receive an e-mail in seconds, as well as an invitation, announcement notification or doctor results. We can work from home and even run a business on-line without ever meeting the people we sell to.

I always kiss my husband before leaving yet there are times when both of us question the occurrence. Do we appreciate the significance of the gesture or are we performing a ritual without any meaning. So many actions throughout the day are done mindlessly and now I am reflecting on every word and action. It likely is true that when we say how are you doing that it is only a hello. We are not interested I suppose and no one ever responds with anything but good or okay. I love my husband and certainly I need to remember the reasons for our actions so that we can appreciate why we perform the action and how much it means. The effect of special actions should never wear off or lose their meaning.

I find it all a bit frenzied. Although we have more time to ponder, we lose it with our engagement with technology. People are being replaced with glorified machines of all kinds. Our best friends are cell phones, I-pads, computers and other devices.  Outings with spouses or friends or even co-workers can’t  compare to our tech devices. Humans are now in competition with technology which appears at the moment, to be far more interesting.

I agree that the amount of information acquired through the computer is tremendous but how much of the information is irrelevant and not necessarily  even worthwhile. Some information is not worth knowing and actually hurts us emotionally and spiritually. Secrecy is easy when using such devices. The age of openness is over. People have their own lives when on the computer.

What is most annoying is the dismissal of real people who are right near us for a small unfeeling device. The majority of people give their attention to the small device enticing them with their pings to respond to some far away person. Technology began as a useful item to support us and offer us closeness to others who were at a distance. Now it is used randomly, without thought or respect for anyone, for the entertainment of the individual.

I am reviewing the fact that we revere technology because it gives us control like nothing else in our lives. We decide if we will respond to this person or that one. We can put someone off in a second, make distant plans quickly, find answers to questions from a machine rather than deal with the wordy response of a human, and not have to listen longer than we want to when we consider it a boring conversation. How much easier it is to put an out of sight person off than a teary eyed or anxious person facing and staring at us.

People have complained to me that their friends are always on the device when in their company. They find it annoying because they made the time to spend with their friend yet felt denied the company of their pal. As close and small as we have made our world, I believe we are further from attachments and intimacy than ever before.

I worry for the children who are perhaps unobserved as carefully by those too busy computing. When one is on the computer, lost in it’s attraction and entertainment, the world passes by unnoticed. Hours are lost in this scenario which occurs everyday. Our extension of rituals continues with our constant need for devices. We basically don’t have to think anymore because there are better minds and people with greater intelligence, or so we surmise, telling us what we should do.

Of course it contradicts our notion of being in control. Maybe the joke is on us. We have button control and information control but decisions of all kinds are made for us everyday. We are constantly influenced by whatever information is sent over our machines. People today have more than  soap operas and television. We have a device capable of providing information  at any moment of any day and it is small, easy to carry and can be used at any time.

If we believe we have no control then we play and work in a ritualistic manner. Time is irrelevant and decisions are lost. We question how the time slipped away from us. Our ability to change or differ our  life’s path is unrecognized. Power and independence seem to be lost in the shuffling. Feeling helpless to make a difference we refuse to try. Those who are attempting to escape the clutches of rituals and the attraction and temptation of electronics are waking up to an  awareness of the world. It really is crucial to ask ourselves how much of our lives we are actually living and how much is autopilot.

Living is embracing  life with attention and allowing your whole being to sense and process all that is around us including the people. Some things  are only deduced intuitively. Understanding some natural wonders can’t be compared to wordy information. Explaining the sunrise or sunset will never compare to experiencing it. Discussing one’s feelings in words can’t always measure up to personal involvement with a living person. So much is lost in translation.

Refuse to have your life  become  a ritual of jobs and demands. Achieving confirmation of our purpose and meaning in life lies within us.  Others do not need to confirm our abilities or our worth. No one is like us nor can they do the jobs requested of us to accomplish. We are not at all easy to replace and deep down we know it. The dynamics within us are pure and unique. By taking care of what we can, we allow others to deal with their own share of obligations.

Limiting technology use is crucial to saving our own humanity and self esteem. Spending so much time on the outskirts of our lives allots us little time for our own close up look at how we make a positive impact. Some rituals are expected, but  living with purpose takes courage. It forces us to choose every day. Positive decisions happen when we have all of the facts which comes from being tuned into our lives. Every sense has a vital role in our development.

Hiding behind technology can place our life on hold. I do not want to turn my life over to a machine which shares no human altruistic attributes. I want to live my life rather than view it from a distance. Looking back I want to see and sense  emotions  intertwined with my experiences even if it means letting go of control a bit. I know the last thing I want to do is to miss living my life, by  being too busy organizing and controlling it. I will gain time not lose it as one would anticipate.

Answering a child’s simple questions might bring my own childhood to mind. There might be times I envy the young adults who have so much at their hands and support by their sides. I also at times feel sorry for the young adults who miss the emotional aspect of the numerous interactions with people standing beside them. You can’t explain the agreeing voice of one with a tear in the corner of their eye. It makes your heart race a bit. Emotions alter people in a profound loving and positive way. Emotions teach and allow a person to pass on the knowledge that quite possible can’t be passed on any other way. You learn so much from an encounter you didn’t plan but which was planned for you by God. How can a person put that into words? I think that when we give up control, life flows easier and we see beyond the horizon. Of course  we must make sure we are not on the device.

“He who becomes the slave of habit, who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace, who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience dies slowly. He or she who shuns passion, who prefers black on white, dotting ones “it’s” rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer, that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings, dies slowly.
He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy, who is unhappy at work, who does not risk certainty for uncertainty, to thus follow a dream, those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives, die slowly. He who does not travel, who does not read, who does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself, dies slowly. He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem, who does not allow himself to be helped, who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops, dies slowly.
He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know, he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know, die slowly. Let’s try and avoid death in small doses, reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.”
― Pablo Neruda