I woke early this morning, mind whirring and body feeling alert and alive. That’s really. not. like. me.
Generally I’m a night owl who loves long lazy lie-ins. I sleep well and deep and long. But every now and then my subconscious finishes its processing work way earlier and then excitedly tugs at my sleeve saying, ”Wake up, wake up! I’ve got something wonderful to tell you.”
And that’s how it was this morning, so I propelled myself out of bed, pulling on a jumper and jeans over my pj’s, then tiptoed out the back door into the damp grey morning light.
The rabbits in the playing field at the back of the house froze in shock, and a couple of blackbirds chattered indignantly at me. But I strode off purposely into the woods (secretly hoping to catch sight of deer – no luck), and began to tune into my internal chatter.
Yesterday I had a stimulating day with some wonderful fellow coaches exploring aspects of human adult development. The theory can feel a bit cognitive and dry, but when I open up my whole neurology to the exploration it comes alive and beautiful; and I can feel myself growing and opening to new possibility.
And that’s what my subconscious wanted to talk to me about. As we continue to grow and change throughout our lives, our sense making and how we make meaning changes too. We see how things we once held as absolute are anything but. Our ability to hold complexity, nuance, other perspectives and self awareness expands and grows (if we allow it to).
We grow up. But being ‘grown up’ doesn’t mean losing a sense of magic, wonder or joyfulness and replacing it with a heavy burden of responsibilities and duty. This morning’s walk had me musing on what I had erroneously let go of in earlier stages of my development and as part of growing up. Things we somehow foolishly decide are ‘childish’ and need to be put aside if we are to be mature.
Whereas they are often the very attributes we need to help us to continue to grow – open light-hearted curiosity, playfulness and experimentation, imagination, being in our bodies, feeling our emotion, not just being in our head. And many many more.
A child may not yet have the self awareness, or ability to hold multiple perspectives. They may not yet be able to grasp complexity, systems or paradox. But as they grow in their capacities, we should also encourage them to hold on to those amazing attributes that will help them navigate the world and other people when they are older, not squash or discourage their ‘childish’ ways.
So I returned to the house, my feet and clothes soaked from the morning dew in the fields and woods, my hands tingling from the sensations of running my hands over the crops in the fields, ears ringing from a deafening morning chorus, and smiling with delight at feeling spontaneous and alive. I’m glad to find I didn’t let go of my child as I grew up; she’s still right here inside with much to teach me, should I choose to listen.