Do you remember hoping for a huge storm as a child – one that threw out the electricity so you could sit in the dark, tell scary stories, or play with flashlights? For example, I remember playing tag using flashlights with neighbors through the darkness and winds between our windows. This is the mind of a child – ready to embrace the unexpected non-routine aspects of life and fully embrace surprises.
Today, do you ever hope for the same random chaotic events to take place now and then? I know I certainly do not with the exception of a snow day when I am lacking on sleep. If the lights and heating go out, I don’t feel as much of an adventurous energy surge through me as I did when I was a child. It always seems that we are on some mission as adults – play and goal-empty paths are few and far between. Chaos, the unknown, and a break in routine are too much and sow fear in most adult minds. To fill the space, we jump to a screen on our tech devices that can tell the the answer to everything we want to know (or so, we want to believe) right at our fingertips. Somewhere along the way, we got fooled into believing that uncertainty forebodes the possibility of failure and the death of something (our routine, our work plans, etc). And so we close our minds when thrust into vague and unclear situations, just as we instinctively close our eyes if we thought something was going to hit us. Note: While we may consider vacations to be a break in our routine and an exploration of a new place, it is nevertheless planned and so inhibits an immersion into true open-ended exploration.
In order to unwire this resistance to major changes and glide through the throes of change with complete curiosity and wonder, we must return to our healthier child-like (not childish) patterns of experiencing newness. Since we may have left this part of ourselves behind a long time ago, it will take patience and practice to open up. This openness is a prerequisite to learning – diving into unknown realms (subjects, skills, situations) and playing with each moment as it unfolds, much like a baby plays with a new toy for the first time. It it not scared, it is just curious and, like we all want to do, the baby is just “trying to figure things out”.
When drinking tea this week, I came across a beautiful quote on the tag of my teabag:
“There is pleasure in the pathless woods.”
I embraced this quote and saved the tag as a reminder to walk into the unknown future and explore my mind with curiosity rather than resistance. It is when we are pushed out of our comfort zones, in a healthy manner, that we discover, observe, wonder, dream, and innovate.
In the next post, I will present a meditation that helps us embrace each unfolding moment with a child-like mind, rather than anxiously (or depressively) shutting off our minds.
Action for this post:
Regardless of how many items are on your agenda and what you had planned for some day this month, take a few hours to stroll out into a store you never stroll into, go on a path in the woods, a street downtown, sit by the window and stare into the outdoors… do something spontaneous with a warm heart – welcome the experience and observe all that unfolds without any predictions about the future.