For Writers Island prompt #33 Wondrous
Took a break last night and watched Toy Story III. I really am finding the animation movies a wonderful experience. But this story seems to hold a special place within me. The little girl character, Bonnie, is a living, breathing example of what wonder is and should always be. And yes, I know she is a cartoon character, but that just means she is an amalgamation of all of the qualities of wonder in action.
Hers is a world of endless magical possibilities. It shows in her eyes, which alight at the merest suggestion of play and imagination. She steps, without hesitation, into a world where all things are possible. She is the epitome of childhood wonder, a quality that is valued highly, even treasured, by an adult world that sees it as innocence that will eventually be lost.
Yes, we must all grow up. We must all go through a loss of that innocent view of the world as a place of endless possibilities just waiting to be discovered. We come to know that exploration can be both harmful and full of pain. So, we stop exploring and get on with being proper adult beings. Putting our noses, sometimes our whole beings, to the grindstone, and getting on with getting on.
Last time I was here, I wrote about the quest for soul. That invisible aspect of the human psyche that is constantly changing and evolving. That essence of our individuality. Change can’t happen without curiosity and curiosity is a major part of being that child filled with wonder about all those possibilities. We mourn the loss of innocence because it means the loss of that child within us.
But, innocence is ignorance. A lack of knowing how the world works and understanding that some possibilities simply aren’t efficient, or healthy. As I grow older, I have come to connect that child with the soul in each of us. Keeping her alive is essential to our well-being and our own wholeness.
Think about that for a moment. Who are the people who bring fresh air into your world? Who make you laugh, even dream? Who seem, by their very existence, to dare you, challenge you to be more than you have been. Bring light into your grindstone existence?
I had a phone call earlier this morning. It was from a friend of over forty years. I love to hear the sound of her voice because it immediately brings a smile to my face, and a matching lilt to my own communication. She has learned the secret of nurturing and keeping her own inner child alive, filled with wonder, always expecting possibilities.
And there is a secret to be known about all of that. The child within us doesn’t die, but she often gets put away in storage when we begin to take on the actions and responsibilities of adulthood. In the movie, Andy, the owner of all of the toys, is now seventeen and on his way to college. His mother insists that he must sort the things he will need for this new adventure into adulthood, from those of his childhood that will no longer be needed. He does that only reluctantly.
In the end, he gives the toys to the one person who will truly appreciate them, Bonnie. But, in doing so, Andy captures the essence that is Bonnie and plays with her and the toys. The child in him resurfaces and lives again. And we are all capable of having that experience.
The soul is the author of creativity, imagination. Both of those elements are essential to the wonder that is the child within us. When we explore and get involved in our own creativity, we are allowing that inner child to breathe, to be, to become. And she will always lead us to that door of possibilities. We can deny her, shut her away in some attic room of the mind, but she does remain, always waiting, and more than ready to step through that doorway.
It is never too late to revive her. But, it does mean we have to actively choose to do so. For me, that choice is simple. I write everyday. Writing is creativity. Everyday, I open that door to possibilities. I make that choice. And each time I do that, I find the wonder that is the child within me, often running out in front of my older, slower self, to explore some new idea, some new train of thought, a path I have not yet ventured down. I find the wonder in me, in being me, in exploring those ever present possibilities.
Yes, we have to learn and to replace our ignorance with knowledge. But, that doesn’t mean we have to relinquish that child-like wonder. We can, and should, treasure it. It is what makes us grow and evolve. It is that world of possibilities.
How do you connect with, and keep your inner child nurtured, her wonder alive, and well?