There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. ~ Elizabeth Lawrence
A young child’s perception, by nature of development, is most often sensory-oriented. There’s a stronger connection to emotion, to physical expression, to imagination. Colors are brighter, feelings are bigger, concepts are simpler, and everything is fascinating. I recall spending what felt like hours playing in trees and staring intently at the way the sun illuminated the intricate vein networks within the summer leaves. If I wasn't five you might have thought I was experimenting with psychedelics.
Curiosity runs deep in the riverbed of childhood. If you ask a parent about this stage, most would attest to having fielded a barrage of “but WHY’s?” as their small humans sought to explore and understand their new world. Everything is a learning opportunity. Growth is their mandate, intuition their guide, and curiosity only swells as their worlds expands and their minds develops.
Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows. ~ John Betjeman
Between childhood and adulthood lies a breeding ground for possibility. Culture, parenting, and social experiences begin their dance with development from the moment we arrive, planting seeds and watering beliefs. Depending on what virtues are watered and which are neglected, our proverbial garden can either foster growth, excitement and expansion or stagnation, fear and regression.
We start off with a biological advantage to growth, but without a holistic gardening experience, values unattended to will die. In a culture that overvalues logic, individualism and knowledge and undervalues community, spirit and intuition, many of us lose our sense of imagination and curiosity for the unknown. We lose the wonder that saturated our experiences and fostered the anticipatory hum of unbridled possibility. We lose our connection to nature, and the confidence in our ability to guide ourselves towards optimal living and service.
So beautiful though is that the nourishing seeds of childhood are never uprooted. They can always be reawakened. It becomes our imperative now to take on the role of the gardener and water what feeds our deepest calling. It is time to reflect on what we loved most in our youth, what awakened our connection to mystery, what filled us with excitement. With an awareness that what we focus on we find more of, it is time to get clear on what we value, and to create space in our garden for this to bloom.
Follow along as I play in the process of becoming the gardener, and perhaps you'll play along too ~
Gardening Tip: Reflect on you thing you loved to do as a child that you could engage in now. Schedule one hour this week to create space for that activity and watch what arises within you. Create a google doc or paper journal to take some notes of your experience for future reference ~