Perhaps it is the sun shining through the windows to make patterns on the floor, perhaps it is the smell of dirt, the buds and the birds and general excitement of new beginnings, but I have been experiencing this incredible influx of childhood memories. Not so much events or landmark moments, just the experience of feeling or hearing something in a very pure way. It was simple, back before I had accumulated this intense list of worries and responsibilities, even that ever-present awareness of other people, my actions and reactions and how I fit into the entire scheme of things. I've been remembering odd moments like standing in my backyard on a sunny day or hearing a plane fly overhead or that afternoon feeling, that 2pm moment when everyone seems to pause, recollect themselves, and gather energy to live out the rest of the day. I'm remembering feelings, and realizing that it has been a long time since I've felt anything that deeply.
As we get older and more integrated in society, we seem to build layer upon layer of distance between ourselves and our environment. It is so rare to just sit and experience anything anymore. The way I see it, being an adult has become synonymous with inventing all these pit stops between ourselves and our world experience. Again, we make everything so complicated. What is an essentially simple equation becomes this winding emotional path. We pit stop at facts, labels, opinions, associations and the emotions tied to these. We pit stop at how we think others view us, what we are responsible for, what people are depending on us for or what is expected of us. We think about how we've acted in the past, whether that was appropriate, analyze, and plan for future changes. Even as you progress in life and perhaps realize the futility of these layers, the pit stops seem to become more subtle. You might even be adding more layers, all the while thinking you are becoming more aware or enlightened or whatever. But now you are, in addition to the past layers, thinking about how you shouldn't have layers, something a certain spiritual teacher or self-help guru said, how you wish to change, how other people aren't as aware as you are...and this can go on forever until you can stop, sit up, rub your eyes and realize that you knew absolutely everything you needed to know when you were five years old.
I've been testing this out by trying to very quickly stop any series of thoughts that happen when you look at something or someone. It's not as hard as it sounds, and although it can last for only seconds, I finally feel like I'm experiencing things like a five-year-old again. I had reached a point where I was seriously considering whether I would truly have fun ever again. My hope has been restored. I've been going to bed at night feeling like I really and truly put in a good day. I feel like I'm once again adding to this store of pure experience, those memories of feeling. I'm finally able to feed this craving of life and love and happiness that hasn't been fed since (and I estimate here) the early 90s. I feel light, I feel adventurous and most importantly, I feel more inspired than I ever have before. Because now creativity is becoming a way for me to really express my experiences. It becomes a way of integrating yourself into your experience. It becomes a way to offer something in return for the experience. It completes the cycle of experience by allowing a release of energy and feeling that builds up as you take in your environment. It is all very exciting.