Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a life philosophy

Kids have an amazing way of operating in the world. They laugh when they’re happy, cry when they’re sad, and they never hang on to one particular emotion past the point where it immediately serves its purpose. I’ll be honest – I kind of envy that. When the scraped knee stops hurting, they skip off merrily as if nothing terrible happened, harboring no lingering resentment toward the pavement with which they just collided. They begin anew each moment.

My six year old niece, Samantha, wakes up happy and generally goes to bed the same way. She is certain that she is loved, confident in who she is, secure enough to boldly assert her desires, comfortable enough to laugh uproariously and wail pretty much at the same decibel level. I want her to stay that way forever. I think it’s healthier than most of us turn out in the end.

Recently, I had the chance to spend the day with her, just the two of us. She made sure I got to meet all her dolls and stuffed animals by name, made sure I took full stock of her archery skills that were fashioned after the red-headed character in Brave, and we watched one of our favorite movies together – Singin’ in the Rain, dancing and singing every musical number right along with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. (The child could care less about Justin Bieber, but has memorized quite the repertoire of songs written well before even I was born.)

After exhausting all the possibilities of culinary delicacies in her play kitchen, we headed out for “an adventure.” I never thought of roaming around the neighborhood as “an adventure,” but it is easy to see how, through a child’s eyes, it can be. I introduced her to the perfumed smell of a lilac tree. She, in turn, introduced me to a better life philosophy.

She rode her little toy like it was going to take flight – hands up in the air, hair blowing in the wind, giddy with the excitement of the ride, squealing with delight at the sheer exhilaration of her freedom.

Aunt Ilene, on the other hand, trotted right behind her, poised and ready to grab her if she veered too far off course and headed for danger.

This got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to live like Samantha rode, trusting implicitly that someone or something loving would catch me if I veered too far off course? What would it feel like to take my hands off the wheel and enjoy the ride unaccompanied by any thoughts of fear or any desire to steer? What would it feel like to be completely untethered?

I took my trusty iPhone out and snapped away, trying to capture my niece’s unbridled joy. I reveled in it, so much so, that I was determined to get me some. So instead of asking the universe for my usual laundry list of desires, I’ve been flirting with it instead lately, coyly saying, “Surprise me, universe. I’m ready for the magic.”

So here’s wishing us all a joy-filled adventure of a life, hands in the air, squealing with delight. Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

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