Think like a child? What age?
“No, too old. They already have expectations and plans galore. Somebody changes the plans on them, they’re not happy.”
“Nope, same thing. ”
“Ohhh, they’re kinda set in getting their way. I don’t think I want to be like that.”
This is part of the conversation I was having with myself. Really. At the same time I was steering a stroller being pulled through an unfamiliar neigbourhood by a slightly hyper “I Love Pulling” wannabe sled dog .
Okay, I’ll back up…oh, just wait. I have to straighten the dog’s harness.
After 9 days of traveling for anything but pleasure, I arrived in another city; this time to spend some time looking after my 2 young, most entertaining grandkids. These two are Pure JOY for me. My spirit was oh, so willing but my tired brain was spinning with too many ‘When-I-Get-Home TO DO Lists’.
I take 7 yr old Kate to school. I’d even remembered to pack her lunch. So far so good. Once back home, I decide to take 22 month old Z and the slightly overactive dog, also in my care, for a long walk. Methodically, I hitch Toby, the ‘working’ dog, up to the stroller. (This little dog LOVES to pull.)
Z perches in his seat. He’s ready. I grab a coffee for the road; I’m ready too.
While Z gooes and ahhs over the trees above his head and the cars splashing water on the street beside us I try to figure out if I need to reshuffle my plans yet again. The past 2 months have been a series of cancellations, interruptions, learning curves and delays. Sound familiar? Have you ever had a day, a week or a month like that? Every time you set up an appointment with yourself, for yourself, to get something done, LIFE interrupts. No matter how adept you are at managing your time, someone keeps messing with your well laid plans. You’re left reshuffling over and over again, squeezing this in here and that in over there. Exhausting.
Slowly the steady, easy pace of walking and lively, happy sounds of dog and little boy bring forth an unexpected conversation inside my head. “What if the interruption is actually the messenger? What if ‘feeling’ the squeeze is the message? Why not play with the plans exactly as they are? Akimbo. Why not reframe the moment through the eyes of a child?” Curious. Thought I was already leaning way over in that direction. Child play, I mean.
“Okay, I’m game. What age of Child?”
“No, too old…they already have expectations-plans galore. Stuff happens. Somebody changes the plans on them, they’re not happy.”
“Nope. Same thing. ”
“Ohhh…2 year olds can be really set on getting their way. I don’t think I want to be like that.”
18 months? How about that? Can you dip into the 18 month old mindspace?
“Hmm.” That feels very appealing. Z is a little older than that. A happy little boy who’s game for most things that come his way…all he really needs are the basics. Food, naps, clean pants. Ya, 18 months. I could go there. The world is one experiment after the other. Curiousity rules and playtime is the nature of the day.
During my inner ramble, ‘wannabe sled dog’ has been helping move us forward on sidewalks through a tidy, well treed, residential area. Everyone’s away at work or retired I guess. There’s no one outside. It’s really, really quiet. I seamlessly melt back into realtime.
Enter the MAGIC.
As soon as I ease into agreement with the 18 month old curiousity-driven, play-surrounded mindspace I casually look down at the sidewalk.
Wow! A pile of colored chalk lays on the empty driveway just beyond my feet. I stop… Look around. No chalk drawings on the driveway, just a pile of colored chalk someone left out overnite. No sign of kids anywhere in the immediate vicinity.
I do a double take. Then I do what every 18 month old would do…I pick up the chalk and draw. A happy, colorful flower blooms onto this stranger’s driveway. Signing with a big yellow HI! is a friendly touch. Z’s gleeful seal of approval is obvious. “Colorrr” he says… We pause for a moment, celebrate this shared mindspace. I’m happy, Z.’s happy and once I allowed Toby to go forward again, the dog is happy too.
Some might say this was a sign.
Na. I think it’s just a parallel universe moment…inner and outer harmony intersecting at the point when I slowed down long enough to pay attention. Next time someone or something elbows into my perfectly assembled plans, knocking them akimbo…I’m going to try to remember to Stop. Pause and Look around for the possibility of Everyday Magic.
If I find another pile of colored chalk, you’ll be the first know.
As an Inner Wilderness Guide, I use a lifetime of diverse experience, humor, grass roots wisdom and professional training to guide others into their own mind expanding landscapes.
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