My 11-month-old niece Rosie is beautiful, carefree, loving, curious and a bit rebellious (whether she knows that or not). When I saw the picture of her doing an impressive downward dog it inspired me to write this article on how we can all learn/remember the important lessons in life that we sometimes forget about through complacency. Hopefully some of things we have long left behind (like the drooling and the nappy dependencies) but many characteristics of babies can bring us back to our roots, remember what life is about and to help us feel more alive.
“There are no seven wonders in the eyes of a child – There are seven million”
From the minute babies are born they seek curiosity at every turn, and why wouldn’t they? Pretty much everything they experience is a new experience. They assemble every sense they can use to find just about everything they can about it.
I bought Rosie a toy TV remote, partly because it had lots of buttons and looked fun and partly because I wanted to annoy my sister and her partner with all the annoying sounds it could make. When I gave her it she looked at it inquisitively for a good few minutes, analysed the shapes and curves, tried out the buttons and immidiately got excited by the different sounds it made. Just for good measure she even tried out what it tasted like but didn’t seem to like that all that much.
Whilst I’m certainly not suggesting you pick up your Sky remote and start munching on it, the techniques Rosie (and lots of other babies use) is very closely in line with behaviours and habits of mindfulness. In fact, one of the most famous mindfulness techniques is the raisin meditation which allows you to concentrate on using all your senses including taste, smell, sight, sound and touch. Give it a shot – research has proven that it can lead to greater creativity, inquisition, problem solving, better decision making, relaxation and stress reduction.
So embed this detective-like approach into your every day life and once again become fascinated by the small things. Rekindle the curiously exciting feeling of seeing the world in its full HD, Dolby Surround Sound glory.
For most of us this will seem difficult at first, almost forced. This is because as an adult we feel that we have explored everything and as such become stale and complacent. Maybe we’ve been stuck in that same job, looking at the same walls and feel that the endless treadmill has nothing left to offer. The truth is, there is so much out there to explore and so much we have already explored which can be seen from a new perspective. So at first it will be hard, it will be forced but as a slight adaptation of the famous quote:
“Fake it til you
make itrediscover it”
So follow in the footsteps of the great artists, innovators, inventors and musicians and always be curious and always a student of life. In doing so we can ignite the fire of creativity.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is to remain an artist once we grow up” – Picasso.
There’s no denying that Picasso created some pretty impressive, creative and ‘off the wall’ works of art. To become creative you have to be bold and not be afraid to try new things. Rosie is a perfect example of this – they don’t know what they ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t conform to yet. Of course, as a protective parent (or uncle) it is essential that we teach the core values of what is dangerous and what is right and wrong in the world. However, as we start to grow into adults the walls close in on us more and more – what we should wear, what car we should drive, what people we should associate ourselves with, what type of job we should be doing, what we should be doing with our free time. As time goes on we either change our behaviours or we accept it and over time become more and more miserable, losing that spark of life that is inside us all. So start listening to our heart, not our head and once again do what you love. I’ve lost count the amount of times my sister has bought Rosie a shiny new toy with flashy lights and cool sound effects, only to find her ten minutes later curiously analysing and playing with the box it came in! Try new things, rekindle that creative spark and break free from the box and then play with it not in it.
There’s something cheekily rebellious about a baby – fortunately they are at that age where they’re just so damn cute that they get away with it. Of course it we all started behaving exactly like a baby we may break a few rules along the way. Certainly many rules out there keep ourselves and others safe, they’re logical and make sense. But other rules, particularly socially accepted ‘rules’ can actually be quite silly yet equally restricting.
We’ve all done it at some point – maybe we’ve failed to pursue a job we are passionate about because of the connotations that come with it, maybe we’ve bought a certain type of car to help us ‘identify’ or maybe we behave falsely around certain people because we are afraid to reveal who we really are.
A baby doesn’t have this problem because they haven’t developed enough to understand social conformity yet – they do as they please and do what they want. Not because they have to, but because they want to and it makes them happy.
Rosie is always fascinated by the toy box at our house which we keep behind the sofa. Despite putting a vast range of toys on the carpet for her to play with, she usually gets on all fours and sprints to the toy box. We call her back, coax her with shiny new toys and she continues to ignore it. We even pick her up and bring her back to all her toys and she tries to make a dash for it again. Why does she do this? She does it because she wants to do it. Certainly I am not suggesting that we become a nasty, selfish person (that is definitely not what yoga is about for a start!). But too many of us may be stuck in a boring, dull, uninspiring job because we feel that we should be doing it. In modern society not enough of us do what we really want to do anymore. Dig deep, find what you’re really passionate about and do everything you can to reach those goals. And, if you have to break a few ‘rules’ along the way then go for it.
“Only when we start taking care of ourselves can we start helping the world”
Live your lives and be more yoga baby! 🙂