All the Myriads

I wandered into a paper shop a few days ago. Actually it was more like a gallery of paper art. Actually, it was a little gem of sanity.

And everything was black or white.

I asked the saleswoman if this was her art. Because it was art. And she said no, putting her hand to her chest and bowing in admiration to the invisible artist, whose vision had created journals and notepads and sketchpads on display. I just work here part-time.

She went on to explain that she had just graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and had recently begun teaching art in school, to 7–10-year-olds. And she loved it. Their creativity is limitless!

In response I asked, They say all children are creative. But not all adults. When do we lose this? And why?

Ahhhh, she sighed, I studied this. The height of creativity is at 10-years-old. But really it starts to change in the teenage years. When reason enters. When children want answers. When their world becomes black and white.

Like your shop? I asked.

She smiled, seeing the irony. I told her I was a poet and she showed me a wall of journals all with different titles: Poetry, Writing, Inspiration. I picked up the one that read Poetry and it felt inviting, just waiting for words to be written.

We chatted a bit more and I bought a gift for a friend and as I walked out, back into the horn-honking city streets, I found myself reflecting on the question of children and creativity. On comfort with mystery. On living in the world of make-believe. On living with bewilderment.

In her essay “Bewilderment”, writer Fanny Howe defines bewilderment as an enchantment that follows a complete collapse of reference and reconcilability…it cracks open the dialectic and sees myriads all at once.

Bewilderment says, life greet me with your inconsistencies, complexities, mysteries. And may I find beauty in sitting with the conversations that arise.

Maybe we need to channel our inner child, our pre-10-year-old child. Our wonder. Poet and Marie Howe teaches her poetry students to observe ten things throughout the day and write them down. Simple things—blue chipped cup on kitchen counter, Golden Retriever puppy digging in the dirt, trash on the street that didn’t make it into the overflowing trash can, the washing machine abandoned on the sidewalk.

Just start noticing.

And maybe today it’s the puppy and the trash. And maybe tomorrow the sun shining through the rainstorm. Or the father yelling at his daughter in public. Or the way you want to cry when you are sitting at the café down the street, the café where you go every day, and today Lauryn Hill’s Zion comes on, and you remember playing that song non-stop when you found out you were pregnant with a boy. A boy they said before he was born might not be born. A boy who is now 21. And you sway back and forth singing under your breath,

…Unsure of what the balance held

I touched my belly overwhelmed

By what I had been chosen to perform

But then an angel came one day

Told me to kneel down and pray

For unto me a man child would be born

Woe this crazy circumstance

I knew his life deserved a chance

But everybody told me to be smart

‘Look at your career,’ they said

‘Lauryn, baby use your head’

But instead I chose to use my heart

Now the joy of my world is in Zion…

Zion, the name of Lauryn Hill’s first child. Zion, referring to the city of Jerusalem as well as the land of Israel. Zion, the name of a street I’ll walk down later today on my way to Hebrew class.

All the myriads all at once. The song. The memory. The land and street name. The son. The lady who interrupted my reverie to ask me to plug her phone in. All the myriads all at once; I think that’s where the beauty is.

Published by Musings

Certified Life Coach Certified Nutritionist Certified Yoga Instructor Certified Naturopath

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