“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
Many years ago, while strolling through the Sacramento Zoo with my granddaughter, Lola, we stopped at a playground. She clambered on top of a frog statue, and I snapped her picture. What still strikes me about this photo is the wonder in her eyes.
She gazes at a world full of possibilities. More importantly, she’s ready to vault into the next adventure with all her attention.
When does this childlike wonder begin to wane? When does it get ironed and pressed out of us? When does the stirring of a breeze lose its tantalizing invitation? When do colors begin to fade to black and white? When do the tyrannies of should and ought cancel the allure of leaping into the full-blooded present? When do we become part of the living dead?
Is it from taking on the harness of duty? Is it the stain of watching countless evils on the evening news? Is it the weight of too many sorrows? Is it our unwillingness to heal from wounds inflicted by others? Is it fear of our own mortality?
Or do we just get jaded?
Some of you remember The Logical Song by Supertramp.
When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees,
Well, they’d be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.
Part of the problem is that we let wonder remain a noun while it longs to be unleashed as a verb. Instead of a passive, fleeting emotion, it wants to be our standard bearer, leading us on a journey of discovery!
I affirm Picasso’s quote. There’s an artist in ALL of us, no matter our Meyers-Briggs Type or Enneagram number. ALL of us. I know so many…
Engineers whose algorithms explore the edges of reality. Parents whose canvas is a nurturing home. Coaches who are Michelangelos of motivation. Travelers with trippy itineraries. Preachers who tell stories that keep us rapt. Quilters with uncanny eyes for color. Photographers who make our jaws drop. Gardeners who turn backyards into oases. Note writers gifted with encouragement. Rembrandts of random kindness. Nurses who exercise the healing power of touch. Cooks with tantalizing recipes. Animal lovers who speak the languages of horses, dogs, and cats. Architects, teachers, musicians, community organizers…I could go on, but I’m breathless!
Haven’t found yourself in this list? Then ask your spouse, a family member, or your closest friend, what do you think I’m good at? They’ll have an answer. Why? Because you, too, are an artist! Use their response as a springboard and let your giftedness vault you into a new life. Begin to wonder just how far your unique abilities can take you!
What if each of us was to test the boundaries of our own creativity in 2023? What if we did so without regard for the criticism of others, simply daring to be fully ourselves.
To all you artists reading this – yes YOU! – let’s turn wonder into wondering!