"An adult is one who has lost the grace, the freshness, the innocence of the child, who is no longer capable of feeling pure joy, who makes everything complicated, who spreads suffering everywhere, who is afraid of being happy, and who, because it is easier to bear, has gone back to sleep. The wise man is a happy child."
-Arnaund Desjardins (6.18.25 - 8.10.11)
I have a book of spiritual quotes - one for every day of the year. I've had it for years. The above shows up every year on my birthday, August 11. I used to not like that this one was on my birthday - it was never a favorite. I always thought it was depressing or something.
Or perhaps - it is so true - that it is difficult to digest. Really? Is what Arnaund describes really what an adult is? My brain could debate it but my heart says yes. This idea that to find grace, or wisdom or God - one must be like a child is so common you could almost say it is cliche. Desjardins goes to great lengths to describe the qualities adults have lost understanding for and then to detail the habits we tend towards as human "grown ups".
Not only have I been the grown up he describes most all my life - I still fall into these patterns often. Just one example - Do I make things more complicated then they need to be? Boy do I. I used to be much more complicated, though - so that is something. When I do allow life from the perspective of the happy child, it is so different. Easier. Filling. Significant.
By no coincidence, I was led to spend time with a dear friend, George, right before recording August Light. I spent a few hours per day with him, his wife, Laurie and their beautiful daughter, Gabrielle, age 3 and a 1/2. Gabrielle has the kind of light behind her soulful eyes that is all sweetness. George asks me to play a song for them - and next thing I know we are making up songs about giraffes licking your face and elephants who go "quack". In these precious moments, as I sing for her, it was by all means graceful, fresh, innocent and joyful. It was definitely not complicated, or causing pain - and we were so lost in it, who had time to be afraid of experiencing happiness?! Gabrielle, with her precious smile and pure essence was reminding me why I started playing music in the first place... As I sang and watched her rocking in her daddy's arms - I noticed how purely full George's heart was. He had an expression you can't describe with words. In those moments, I saw the child within him - this grown up, father, salt and pepper haired MAN - holding his little girl with such tenderness and love. And I realize - that kind of love can only happen when we honor what Desjardins confronts us with - "The Wise Man is a Happy Child". He can love his daughter so fully, because she has allowed him to access his inner child - his inner JOY. It does not mean we are immature, or irresponsible, or don't pay our mortgage on time - it just means we strive to honor that part of us, the child within, which lives in our hearts. It is the part of us that flows and cherishes every moment as if it is the only thing that is happening. The part of us that doesn't even have to try - JOY just flows.
We each have this child living inside. But how much time do we spend honoring it compared to how much time we spend stressing about work or bills? I won't even venture one is more or less important than the other - but I only claim the modern world has many of us out of balance. We need more child within, and a lot less complicated adult.
I won't pretend to understand the mystery of unlocking this energy. But I suspect that if we put our attention towards it, we might surprise ourselves.
I propose we spend some time reflecting on what the child within each of us experiences as JOY. Make it your intention to remember what that felt like. Was it the embrace of your parent? Running around like a crazy animal in your backyard? I distinctly remember getting a guitar (cheap thing but I didn't know it, nor care) when I was 5 years old. My heart felt like it was going to explode when I unwrapped it! It was a moment of pure JOY. I have this memory of looking at the thing in absolute awe. A few weeks ago, I glanced up and saw Bella - a 1999 Larivee D-10 6 string Acoustic Guitar. I've owned this guitar for many years - played it probably every day since then, live, on tours, minus some holidays and vacations. On this day, I was, again, struck with awe and wonder at how beautiful it was. It was such a moment. And then a voice inside me - with total amazement said, "I know how to play that thing?!" - it was a moment that took me by such surprise. And I just felt so full and blessed. 2 days later - out of the blue, I've just made the arrangements to record an album - I didn't see it coming so fast. Are the two events related?
What if you found your own way towards your inner child?. Simply have awareness towards it and it may unfold naturally. Or you can go back to sleep…
August Light is an album that honors these concepts on many levels. The songs take you on a journey from complicated adult thru happy child.
Download August Light on iTunes 8/11