When was the last time you stopped to remember life through the eyes of a child? A song, played on the radio today, reminded me of the gentler, carefree visions of childhood. I smiled as the joyful melodies, and dreamy lyrics, swept me up from the serious mind frame I’d slipped into. Here are some of those lyrics, from an old Madonna song called Dear Jessie:
The land of make believe
Is inside your heart – it will never leave
There’s a golden gate where the fairies all wait
And dancing moons, for you
Close your eyes and you’ll be there
Where the mermaids sing
as they comb their hair
Like a fountain of gold you can never grow old
Where dreams are made, your love parade
It was funny because I’d just been reading The Mystery Experience, by Timothy Freke, which describes a blissfully light hearted, non-hassle approach to diving into the depths of life. Still contemplating Tim’s bright and breezy approach to the great mysteries, and the ease with which things flow when one just lightens up … the message that was clearly trying to reach me (to the point that it was echoed in this song) was gratefully received as my smiles turned to a light hearted giggle. ‘Why all the fuss?!’ It was as if the child within was playfully disapproving of my previous silly, stressed-out demeanours. And quite right too! Sometimes we do take life so seriously, don’t we, and we really can be a bit hard on ourselves. The pressure we put ourselves under when it comes to work, family, finances, social composure … even spirituality. We can come down on ourselves rather harshly, if we feel we’ve got it ‘wrong’, becoming ashamed or self cynical when we stumble from time to time.
Allowed to Dream
Yet if we were to be this critical, impatient and unforgiving with the child we once were there would surely be tears. We simply wouldn’t be that way to a child though would we? Not if we were acting with love. Imagine coming face to face with yourself at eight years old, struggling to get a task done, or becoming overwhelmed by a lesson. We would see that the child is doing the best that it can. We would encourage them, praising them for their individual qualities and we would reassure them that they are still growing and learning – that it’s okay to stumble; we all stumble. We’d never want to burden those special years with worries when they should be full of magical, beautiful, joyful dreams – of ‘pink elephants and lemonade’.
So who says our years ever ceased to be special? Every single day is a blessing and we all are still growing and learning. Okay, so we’ve come to realize that life can be challenging and that we don’t always get to do what we want when we want to – but isn’t it better to turn those challenges into opportunities that can make us stronger and wiser? When we do ‘get it wrong’ or we feel we ‘can’t keep up’ maybe that is just an emotional nudge – encouraging us to really try our hardest. Our emotions are good tools; it’s wise to gratefully accept them and use them … but please, don’t dwell in that way that grown ups do, nor turn those tools into self-persecution. Be kind to yourself! Let go of the burden of worry so that your heart, mind and spirit are free to smile, giggle and dream as they always did and should always be allowed to do. It doesn’t make the challenges go away but a free heart, dreaming mind and our encouraged individual qualities will help us to get through each trial with the distinction of somebody who isn’t holding back, imbuing every situation with imagination and joy.
Let music lift you up
One challenge that hasn’t gone away for us in recent weeks is getting this issue of the Cygnus Review done! All kinds of obstacles came up this time, so we’ve all been supporting each other with thoughts like these. As always though, a major thing that has helped us all to keep our heads above water is music. Shakespeare said, ‘If music be the food of love, play on’, didn’t he? And it certainly is – the food of love, of peace, of imagination, of play, and most importantly, of our inner child – the wise, whole child who can guide us if we trust and love her. So whilst working I’ve been playing these two CDs over and over again, as they both have a really special, childlike, playful quality that makes me feel as though I can handle anything.
To close, I’d like to share with you one magnificent bit of comfort nature gave me just the other day. Feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the usual swirling pressures of life, I was walking by a river and spotted a pair of swans and looked to them for inspiration. Each of them seemed to really gaze at me just before dipping their heads below the surface of the water. It was if they were making sure that I was taking notice. Their gesture led me to understand that I was to look to my safe place beneath the surface, to find the strength in my core. This is where a clear sky is always to be found, dotted with the sparkling stars that form the constellation of our own true Selves. And by these stars, we can always navigate as safely and as competently as any captain.
We each have a constellation in the same sky and that is where we have infinite unity – with each other and with the Divine that lives within each cell of our body and strand of our soul. You knew this place well as a child – it is where you played with your ‘imaginary’ friends, it is where you innocently smiled, oblivious to the pressures of the big, outside world because you chose to spend your time somewhere far nicer, developing your natural instinct to ‘just be’. You might not be oblivious any more but you can still choose to dive beneath the surface for cover when you need or want to refer to your stars and find reassurance in silent fellowship. We’ll see you there … in the ‘love parade’!
With so much love,
Louisa, Ann, Geoff and the Cygnus Team