“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
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 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 adventure with all her attention.
When does this wonder 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 tyrannies of “should” and “ought” replace 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?
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” reamin a noun. 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 our number on the Enneagram. 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 are also an artist! Use their response as a springboard.
Don’t you wonder what could happen if we tested the boundaries of our creativity this year? I mean without regarding the criticism of others, simply daring to be fully ourselves.
To all you artists reading this – yes YOU! – let’s turn wonder into a verb!