They are the picture of conspiracy- whispering, peeking out at the playground mayhem, and clearly making plans for some kind of action. In the past I’ve witnessed the implementation of some of their schemes- sometimes a surprise run-by on the girls making sand castles, or a wild whooping dash amidst the swings moving in high arches over their heads (something no doubt prohibited by safety rules.) Mostly their plans degenerate into high-pitched squeals, giggles and a hasty retreat to the haven of their lair behind the tree.
As I watch them I become aware of a smile spreading throughout my body- a kind of full-body grin in response to seeing them so deeply involved and delighting in these moments outside in the sun and warm spring air. It reminds me of my own two sons- now men working in the world- and the days they spent at the small trailer we had in the wilderness setting up elaborate imaginary games that included building tree forts and making maps of areas where there were “treasures” to be found or “dangers” to be navigated.
As always I am in awe at the power of the imagination and the soul-sustaining delight that comes when we allow creativity to unfold, to construct new worlds and plan new adventures. Surely we need these moments of playful imagining and exuberant expression as much (or maybe more) as adults.
This week CBC radio’s Jian Ghomeshi interviewed Adam Cohen, son of the Canadian poet/songwriter/performer Leonard Cohen. They talked about the reasons why Leonard, at seventy-seven, is experiencing such phenomenal success in the world. Adam speculated that his father’s success results from the incredible hunger for art that enlivens and his father's commitment to doing his creative work for its own sake. (My paraphrasing of Adam's words.)
Watching the children playing I feel my excitement and need for that which sustains my own creative impulses. I feel how great art- poetry, story, paintings, sculpture, film etc.- stirs my hunger to write and inspires me to keep my imagination fluid, open and active.
So, I do something I rarely even consider: I order tickets for a concert- Leonard Cohen in Toronto, in December. And I feel the same full-body smile that I felt watching the children. In part, it's knowing that the concert will offer nourishment for my soul and creative inspiration. But mostly I was smiling because, for me, just ordering the tickets is a huge inner “Yes!” to my own desire to continue to engage my imagination, a recommitment to engaging fully with my own life and my own creative work.
And there’s nothing like being fully engaged with life, the world and our imaginations- whether we are writing a poem or plotting a run around the playground in some new and exuberant way- to really make a soul-smile spread from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes.
Oriah (c) 2012
I so enjoyed this post Oriah! I hope I am as full of life at 77 years of age!!ReplyDelete
Thanks Jacqui. I'd like to be that full of life at 57- now! :-)Delete
My soul has been smiling recently. I was very ill last year but since completing my treatment I have re-found my creative mojo. I am using old skills but also learning new ones. Your post is very uplifting.ReplyDelete
So glad you are feeling better. There is nothing more joyous and motivating than feeling well after being ill. Enjoy! :-)Delete
My whole-body reaction to reading your post: YES!!ReplyDelete
Oriah - this reminds me of a line from Eat, Pray, Love where the guru Elizabeth visits named Ketut says to her, in reference to meditating: "Even smile with your liver." :)ReplyDelete
Oh I like that! Thanks, OriahDelete
thanks oriah. I needed a reminder to return to now. In my quest for answers I became blinded by the obvious. I just needed to be present. thank you spirit for I heard oriah speak your wisdom....from mary louReplyDelete
I love this: And there’s nothing like being fully engaged with life, the world and our imaginations- whether we are writing a poem or plotting a run around the playground in some new and exuberant way- to really make a soul-smile spread from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes.ReplyDelete
I can totally relate - this is part of the reason why I love what I do for my work (really play) for the last 15 years - I build those playgrounds where children create, imagine and play because too much FUN is never enough.
I love Leonard Cohen and his music - it comes from the heart and love his voice. I think he's like Neil Diamond either you love Leonard or you don't.
I think we have lost the art of imagination as adults - we keep it contained for the most part - the very brilliant Albert Eiinstein stated, "imagination is more important than knowledge." I concur!!~!!
Thank you for this brillant post,
They talked about the reasons why Leonard, at seventy-seven, is experiencing such phenomenal success in the world. Adam speculated that his father’s success results from the incredible hunger for art that enlivens and his father's commitment to doing his creative work for its own sake.Great stuff!ReplyDelete
Hmmmmm. . . .now as much as I'd love to believe that Leonard Cohen is reading and commenting on my blog, I am dubious. But either way, glad you enjoyed the piece :-)Delete