Joy and meaning…
I was recently sharing in one of Brian Draper’s helpful email series’. This one mentioned Dr. Alastair McAlpine’s profound observations gained from working with seriously ill children: “What terminally ill children taught this doctor about how to live”. “…the so-called small things were the ones that turned out to have enormous significance at the end.”
Obviously, it’s not the same, but sharing our house with two children, and working in a school, the simplicity of a refreshing childlike perspective is often pricelessly gifted to us. Yes, it might be difficult, it is difficult, to see past our cares, our worries, and the pressures and expectations our culture advertises. Also, the childlike growing teen is learning to fit in with our culture and testing our constructs – the growing-child’s behaviours are often challenging. What we are talking about here is an essential childlike spirit… Perhaps.
But it’s not just children that can realise a more honest way. What simple truths might we discover, as Brian says “if we as grown-ups, can subtract the ephemera of adulthood, to enter life more fully…” ? Alastair McAlpine writes “The kids were not hung up on “stuff” … the happiest, most meaningful moments were simple ones that … embraced the importance of human connection”.
As adults, we engineer the question ‘What brings you joy and meaning?’, something children perhaps don’t ask but just do, be and are. They naturally(?) do, be, are, and embrace their joy and meaning in just being alive. Perhaps again, it’s that simple process of pause, stop, yield, relax, breathe…
Riding to work recently, I slowed my bike to let two children and their father, also cycling their bikes, pass on the track in front of me. Unwarranted, they both individually proclaimed with joy and meaning “Thank you!”, “Thank you!”… The simple honest natural(?) action really made my day, I couldn’t help but smile – in fact further down the track I smiled and audibly laughed – happy daze!
The lack of interaction, as well as the intolerant and often ignore-ant interaction, we so often experience as adults, is bathed away by the joy and meaning that a simpler attitude (or lack of ‘attitude’) can bring.
Last month I shared Edward De Bono’s thoughts “A Child … enjoys the use of his mind just as he enjoys the use of his body as he slides down a helter-skelter or bounces on a trampoline”
Often (and especially on my commute) the happiest, most meaningful moments are: the simple ones that … embrace the importance of human connection.
I am reminded of a moment a few years back: the Morning Puja.
“The day was still grey and the bin lorry ahead was trailing musty decay but the bin men smiled and life or something inexplicable filled the air.“
Pause, stop, yield, relax, breathe… give thanks … with someone.