The music swells, a joyful Native American flute ballad. My soul sours as I stand on the mountain’s crest gazing at the lush valley that spreads out before me. I am keeping vigil in a wildflower garden. The wind gently blows, a small stream trickles by, I am free. . .
“Mommy, I need another juiceeee pleeeeaase!” it’s a sweet small voice, although loudly insistent, that interrupts my reverie and jolts me back to the reality of the dishes in the sink. I am all too aware presently of the children running wildly through the living room, galloping on stick unicorns and calling, rather harshly in my opinion, to the fairies the forest. My heart is slightly saddened at the loss of my mountain top vision and I gaze longingly as the beauty sinks and disappears beneath the bubbles at my fingertips, getting further and further blurred as my attention is pulled back to the pandemonium of a children’s play date.
My mind instantly shifts, automatically embracing duty. I glance at the clock and begin my mental checklist of organization, my brain’s neurons seem to roll up their sleeves and announce “time to get to work!” 15 minutes to prepare lunch (do I have enough peanut butter for 3 or 4 sandwiches), 30 min. to eat, I’ll give the kids10 min after lunch to play while I pack the craft bag for my younger daughter, find jelly shoes upstairs, snatch leotard from the laundry basket, grab extra juicees, shut doggie’s door, remind older daughter to grab violin and music, return playmates home, hop in car and buzz off to the afternoon lessons. Another summer afternoon slips by. . .And the gentle flute music is lost, transformed into mere background noise.
Sound familiar? As a parent, have you ever felt longing for the mystical, for the luxury of frolicking about a little longer in your imagination? Felt the need, at times, to dust the cobwebs off your magic carpet to fly away to Neverland? Wanted to ask for an infusion of Alice in Wonderland in your morning coffee, (or Harry Potter if he’s more your style)? Sometimes my mind wants the broom to fly or my own bath bubbles to glow with sparkly stars and glitter. You know that you’ve really hit an imaginative play drought when you enter a long negotiation with your three-year-old regarding whether the big people’s bathroom or the little people’s bathroom gets to house the tub crayons and frothy colorful bath mouse on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Don’t misunderstand me. I totally adore the bustling of kid activities that comes with two growing, playful children. I get excited at the prospect of school talent nights and have trouble sleeping with anticipation the night before Christmas. But, sometimes life moves soo fast and my mind gets caught up in deadlines or is distracted by the fact that my feet are sticking to the kitchen floor again. Sometimes I yearn for tools to infuse the mystical experience within my imagination back into my life, sometimes I long for mind travel. In the midst of running about, I recognize my need for peace, for beauty, for connecting with what is eternal in me. Chances are, my children, and my husband too, recognize and feel that need in me as well, as I am certain they are able to sense when I have lost my way and become overly preoccupied with what’s for dinner and who spilled.
What I have found when I look closely, is that children are my greatest instructors on the important parts of life, the parts that make my heart and soul sing with remembrance and well being. As I watch them, I see that their play and use of the imagination is so natural, so effortless. They are quickly inspired by nature’s beauty and attentive to the details of life that are majestic. They play and feel with their whole hearts, laughing and crying with connection from the inside. As youngsters, they seem to inherently know that beauty comes from within. I wonder to my self, why does it seem as if, as an adult, I need to learn these things? Well, it’s not learning really, as much as it is remembering the essential. The fun and peacefulness that makes up the essential, seems to have been lost somewhere in my adulthood amidst the dirty laundry and the deadlines at work.
Watching my kids play, learn, and breathe life in it’s fullest, I got to thinking. What if I dedicate my time to helping them remember the essentials found in their imaginations as they grow, to helping them take the beauty of their imagination with them as they continue along life’s journey. I want them to remember the wonder they experienced when they encountered a ladybug or a callerpitter, as my daughter would say. I want them to grow with confidence and to learn to look within their own hearts for strength and guidance. I want them to know that when we realize the true beauty inside our own hearts, we are able to recognize it in all we see outside, even in the challenges or in people that are not acting from love or beauty. What if I, as a parent, begin to show them tools that will empower them to stand strong in the midst of life’s biggest challenges, tools that empower them to feel confident, that empower them to connect peacefully to the essential within their nature no matter where they are, no matter what the circumstance. I can start by showing them the way I choose to show up each day, each moment, I can start showing them that I do remember the essential things in life. I can start by showing them that I make mistakes, but that I have the power within me to make things right again and to face the dark moments with the same strength that I face the light ones. What I can do is to live these principles and find ways to infuse them into my adult life and my life as a parent.
What I have had to learn as an adult is that play, imagination, and relaxation are friends that hold hands. They are friends that can fit into any pocket and they are friends that I can play with, should I choose to invite them, in any moment. Just because I am BIG, doesn’t mean that I have to lose the magic of childhood, I just learn to incorporate the magic in different ways, ways that empower, strengthen, and reinforce my knowledge of my inner self.
After I realized all these things, I was standing at a crossroads, a moment in which I knew that I must search out the techniques and develop my own strategies that would assist me in sending and living these messages. I would pack my parental backpack with tools that would connect play, imagination, and peace. I sensed that by incorporating these messages into my life and embarking on a comprehensive journey of the imagination, I would be transformed as both parent and person. What I didn’t understand fully was that spiritually, in this exploration and use of tools, I would begin to establish a stronger connection with Divine Love, with Spirit, and with the world around me. This journey would transform me from a parent obsessed with meeting deadlines and conquering goals into one that was relaxed, had faith in the power of the present moment and one who had begun to understand the concept of surrender. As I started to use the tools that were beginning to become available to me, I began to feel a stronger sense of parental intuition and my relationship with my children grew on many levels. I felt, as a parent, I had begun the metamorphosis from catterpillar to butterfly. Of course, life has never been about final destinations, we are growing every step of the way and my life, as a parent is no exception. Peace is a moment-by-moment choice, not found at the end of the rainbow, but in the rainbow at the center of each of us. As I began to connect with my own inner rainbow, I became strong so that I could help my own children to connect with their inner rainbows as well. At the same time, I became more playful, imaginative, as well. Walk the talk took on new, empowered meaning and I began to face the creative challenge head on with enthusiastic anticipation. Adventures Within was born from the sparks of light ignited from all of these desires: to become a more empowered, centered peaceful parent who was able to guide my children in holding onto their inherent creative, imaginative, playful, inner strength. It is my passionate hope that the experience of adventures within empowers both adults and children alike to connect with their own inner rainbows as they playfully cross the colorful bridge which links the heart and imagination.