I don’t know about you, but for me, “In a lot of ways, I never want to grow up.”
Sure adulthood comes with a list of responsibilities and priorities, and absolutely, we have to do what we need to in providing for ourselves, family and, hopefully, contributing however we feel relevant to society. That in itself is a full-time proposition, one that requires great effort, and at many times personal sacrifice. After all, the world is a complicated place; beautiful, delicate, harsh and demanding. And living on it, gives us the vastness of a mortal existence.
Yet too many of us lose ourselves to the stuff of this world, taking it far too seriously, and in doing so, paralyze ourselves in circular thought.
We forget our childhood inspirations and slowly forget how to nurture our imaginative self. Marry that to the institutions of formatted education, the bombardment of opinions and the comparisons we place on much of our decision-making, and it is no wonder that so many feel unexplainable stress and fatigue – that “Can you please slow the ride down and let me off for a moment, I can’t see my reflection anymore.” Makes you think twice about the reasons behind such a the reasoning that has led to large population of mid-life crises participants.
Some may cite, “Grow up, life is difficult, and dreams are for children.” For the sake of debate, I won’t disagree that life can be a dream sucker, but I will platform that we do have the power to adapt to, and if needed, overcome our own circumstances. We’ve seen far too many examples of this throughout history, and I’m certain we all have our own heroes of growth and survival.
But as I am learning in this phase of my mortality, it is wholly our decision to either allow the world to overtake us or to have the courage to lean hard into the wonderment of the dream. Our challenge is tactfully apparent, leaving us two basic choices: One, do we dare to dream? Or Two, do we fold within our dealt hand?
My hope? We choose to dream. Not the dreams of adults, you know them, those cognitively driven questions and conditioned thoughts. Things like, I’ll be happy when…, When I retire, I will…, and the dreaded, Once I get there, then I can afford to dream…’”
When… I will… Then: Three words that have potential to drive us to allow our brains to deceive and steer us away from our true inspirations, and with that, our wonderfully childlike selves. If this is not true, then explain to me why so many of us well up when we appreciate movies that feature the dreaming thoughts of the child.
Now for clarification, I am not underplaying the importance of goals, degrees, certifications, career advancements or any other reward or praises offered to us. The gauge I am proposing is more of an internal metric. In easy words, Can we see our own reflection?
Why do I share all this? I promise that I am not campaigning for the downfall of organized progression, it’s just where my mind is after getting to know a stranger in my midst, the lovely Brooke, drama teacher to my daughter.
I’ve sort of known Brooke from a distance for the last year or so, and until today, I’ve only seen her as an energetic and engaged teacher. That in itself is cause for applause, and lucky for us, Brooke invites us into her life this afternoon. The take away… for me, nothing short of magical. I hope you end up feeling the same.
Brooke is more than a drama teacher; she is an advocate for the worth of the child. Not only the children she has dedicated her life to, but also for the child within us all.
In giving you a glimpse of her charming character I can start with this: although Brooke is highly educated, intelligent and responsible, she possesses, and I’m not overusing this, an internal magic.
Brooke is what I have to call, “An adult kid.” And communing with her is about as refreshing as life can get.
All in all, I spend an hour with her as she open-air paints in front of her apartment. Her talents are broad, from yoga to painting, to drama and a list of other creative disciplines; Brooke is what I would clearly identify as a renaissance woman.
Yet her perspective is wholly selfless. “You have to have fun and find compassion for self and others.”
As we talk, Brooke is the genesis of positive energy; working from painting to painting as we speak, and I am taken in. The child in me is coming to life.
With a youthful smile, she pauses from her painting to consider her random council.
“and that compassion is fun!”
“You know, do crazy things… like let someone into traffic…that’s fun… right?… surprise!” She laughs big as she paused her brush away from her painting.
It is inspiring to meet a person who is truly whole, inside and out. “People need to learn to listen to themselves, and to be in tune to what their bodies are telling them,” Brooke advises.
“It’s too easy to get caught up in the outside world, and that is what motivates me to teach the kids I work with. To teach them ways to find the power inside themselves and to know that they are their own super heroes. Super heroes are cool… right? They have amazing super hero skills, but even as super heroes, they need to learn self-control.
I teach kids to find their breath from within, and with that peace and calm, able to listen to their bodies. They know when they are tired, or hurt, or happy. I want them to learn to stand up for themselves and to be able to say, “I know what I need.
And as super heroes, they are the only ones in the world like them, and that they are pretty darn cool being just who they are. I Love that concept.”
With this, Brooke may have hit the nail right on the head. As adults we often lean on our goals, affirmations and agendas, but how often do we simply accept ourselves for who we are? In Brooke’s words, “Be our own super heroes.”
Her council goes beyond our thoughts alone as she suggests we look at our physical selves, not in the negative, but in the positive. What Brooke is talking about is not necessarily leaning wholly towards physical appearance. And in today’s world the media has screwed us all up on that topic. She is suggesting we listen to our bodies, the aches, pains, blood pressure and whatever other indicators motivate us away from balance and happiness. Brooke is calling us to action to dream, and has given us a physical monitor to our thoughts.
As Brooke has told us, “People need to learn to listen to themselves, and to be in tune to what their bodies are telling them.”
Per the future, in perfect Brooke style, she blesses us with this, “Somewhere magical… hopefully it will involve fairies.”
I share that with my wife, who responds, “Oh, I love fairies!”
May we all learn to dream as a child and to let our bodies help in directing us.
Talk tomorrow friends.
See more of Brooke’s artwork at: www.brookeharker.com
Learn more about Brooke’s youth classes and programs at: www.brookeharker.com/youth.htm