The other day, on my way to a coaching job, I passed an abandoned building in a busy shopping street. The front yard had gone wild, and was overgrown with raspberries.
I stopped. A lot of the raspberries had ripe fruit on them.
It took me about two seconds to assess whether or not I was going to get caught trespassing, and, if so, would anyone get mad at me. Come the third second, I’d climbed the fence, hunter-gatherer mode on. Soon I was lost in the plants and the feeling of sun on my back.
I’m sure some people saw me. More than one shopper probably wondered what a grown up, moderately normal-looking woman was doing jumping a fence and hunting for strawberries.
But I didn’t really care – because I never looked up to check.
I’m not trying to paint myself as a free-spirited wild child here; I’ve got anxieties coming out the wazoo and the closest to cool I’ve ever come is standing in front of the fridge.
But the one thing I did manage to cultivate over the years is an attitude of childlike curiosity. I often feel independent of what ‘normal’ people are doing, or thinking, the way a child’s perception is independent of that of his or her parents. Not that I can’t think like an adult if I have to; it’s just that I can also shift.
The great thing about a child’s perception is – the whole world becomes your playground! A dumpster is an exciting resources bank. A store bought pepper a seed saving experiment. Metal fence? Drum kit. Candy wrapper? Origami crane. Distant relative’s wedding? Opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with a dog.
When you look at the world like a child, everything becomes so light, so playful. Humans are playful! But the context we give ourselves to be human in – all those complicated social codes – can be very stifling. What if we trained ourselves to drop the act once in a while?
I’m not saying ALL of the time – after all, the adult in me made sure I wouldn’t get fined for trespassing, and that I was still on time for my appointment. Pretty handy, having that one around. But how about occasionally shifting perspectives? How about occasionally doing something just for fun, or to see what happens?
Next time you get handed a flyer, make a paper plane. Next time you get groceries, buy something you’ve never cooked with before, or engage in a shopping cart race. Next time you pass a park, sit down on a bench for no reason, and watch the dogs chase each other around.
Next time you see a ripe raspberry – pick it.
Have a lovely day:).
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