OH MY GOD!
Returning childhood to the children and encouraging adults to grow up.
Who the h@#ll do you think you are????
Who do you think you’re fooling???
Have you looked at your life lately? It’s far from perfect. Your children are far from perfect. Who are you to tell anyone – anyone! – that they need to grow up?
I think it would be fair to say there’s been a little fallout from yesterday’s post. My internal dialogue has been less than supportive.
Luckily, I got some help from a new friend.
You may have met him yourself a time or two.
The Soul Shrinker
Cute, isn’t he?
Thing is, he used to be beautiful.
Once, long ago, the Soul Shrinker was very beautiful, but listening to and witnessing all this human ugliness has rubbed off on his appearance, like that of a lovely frog in a polluted pool with his skin raw and forming hideous growths. His heart is compassionate and anguished; his heartfelt wish is that we learn “right speech” and “right thought.” Every wicked thing a human says makes the Soul Shrinker more ugly. Every time a human learns this lesson, the Soul Shrinker becomes a bit less ugly. As you can see, humanity as a whole has a lot of work to do on this.
The Soul Shrinker reminds us that the mean, nasty and unnecessarily critical things we say and think about others not only diminish them, but demean us as well. Whether spoken or thought, they are curses that boomerang back to us twofold.
Luckily, I wasn’t spewing my venom on anyone else. I directed it all at myself. Which would increase it – what? – a hundredfold?
But thanks to the Soul Shrinker’s reminder, I quit pummeling myself long enough to remember a few things.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I have no illusions of my own perfection. Or the perfection of my children. I fumble through my days, attempting to be conscious of my thoughts, words and deeds and I often fail . . . miserably. But I keep trying. I keep searching and learning and growing and if somebody else can benefit from what I’ve learned then that would be a good thing.
As for my children, this is the time in their lives (it’s called childhood) when they have the freedom to experiment with all manner of behaviors. They need the space to do that. How can they learn who they are without first discovering who they are not? How fair is it to judge them for their explorations in being human?
For that matter, how fair is it to judge anyone — even those people who look like adults and act like children? We are all doing our best. All of us. We are doing the best we can with the knowledge and tools we have been given. It’s just that a lot of us were sent out into the world with precious little in our Tools and Knowledge Backpack and haven’t realized it yet.
I’ve been struggling with my use of the words “grow up” since I pushed the publish button yesterday – Returning childhood to the children and encouraging adults to grow up. Often, those words are spoken in a disdainful, judgmental tone — “Oh, grow up!” I don’t mean it that way. It is meant to provide a little jolt, but in a loving way, kind of like a gentle wake-up call to those who might be starting to surface from their sleep-walk through life.
There is a passage I love quoted in the book Twelve Weeks in Spring by June Callwood:
Those who are asleep, let them sleep
Those who are waking, nourish them
Those who are awake, they are the gardeners of the universe
I trust that those who are stirring in their sleep, will find the gardener that will best nourish their particular awakening.
I pray that sharing what I have learned will prove helpful to some.
And I really, really hope that my own gardening path will come just a little bit clearer . . . please? Like, for instance, even a faint, new-moon-lit trail sprinkled with bread crumbs would prove helpful.
Hey . . . this puts a whole new spin on “leading someone down the garden path,” doesn’t it? Ha!
If the The Soul Shrinker’s message spoke to you, you can find him and his cohorts hanging out in The Faeries’ Oracle by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth.
I received them as a gift years ago and just now rediscovered them. They are very intriguing folk.
But be forewarned:
They are not your ordinary faeries.