I just spent four days with my 19 month old granddaughter, Olivia. I haven’t seen her for three months and in this time she has learned the power and purpose of language and uses it very effectively! In addition to the wonder of talking, holding, and playing with her, ( and the joy of watching my own daughter become an awesome mom!) I quickly realized one again that children seem to get it right… while we adults struggle to find balance in our lives, to focus and center ourselves, children just do it. A child can find joy in a simple smudge on the floor, a stuffed animal that fits just right in two hands, a bug on the sidewalk, a new word. They see what they want, hold it, play with it, then let it go and move on to the next big adventure. What wonder there is in the littlest of things.
Since the weather in Tulsa is still sunny and warm, we spent much of our time outside. As we explored parks and museums, Olivia showed me what was important. She found two sticks of different lengths, a small round stone, a deceased bug, and later that evening a full moon in the sky. During all of these discoveries there were no distractions from the object of her attention. One thing at a time. True focus. The sticks took turns going down a playground slide. The small stone fit nicely in her hand so it went for walks with us. The bug, thankfully, stayed in the grass. Later, she found a great saving place for her stone-inside the (rental) car door ( to be removed later by Grandma before returning the car!) Olivia proudly placed it there with care and loving kindness, then moved on to her next joyful activity. The stone was not discarded, just given a good place to be. Isn’t that what we all want? A good place to be?
Children also navigate each other with beauty and ease. Olivia met a boy about her age at the playground. He spoke no English, she spoke no Spanish. But that didn’t matter. We watched them perform the “play with me” dance before climbing together up the slide steps. No words were needed, they were talking with eyes and faces and some hidden instinct. They were experiencing the joy of sharing with another human being. Could we as adults take a lesson here?
Yoga teaches us what children already know, that we need to find time to focus on the small things, the discoveries that are truly important, –nature, the eyes and faces of friends, secret spaces that hold hidden treasures, and the ability to be quiet, move in a dance with others with kindness, focus and purpose.
As we “wiser” adults move through our too-stressful days, remember what things completely captured your attention as a child, what connected you with yourself. This was your beginning, the start of your true nature. It is as valuable now as it was then. Lose yourself in something you did as a child. Swing, run, skip, stare at the stars and moon or the morning sunlight. Find a really great stick or stone to hold, then give it a good place to be. If we all keep our small things front and center we might not need to work so hard to find focus and comfort within. It will be there for us whenever we want it.
Namaste, Ann Christy Dybvik