Some artists spend their careers trying to recapture the sense of wonder and imagination they had as children. I was reminded of that this summer while I sketched and watched my friends kids create artwork from flotsam and jetsam on the beach. Their sand drawings, sand castles, driftwood forts, glass and shell and mobiles, and improvised instruments fascinated me. Their sense of awe with every new marine discovery and spontaneous exploration of its creative possibilities was a wonder to behold.
Artists capture beauty that can evoke the feeling awe for this environment we a part of. The sense of awe and wonder so fresh in children can be apparent in their creations. Knowing how to quiet the mind, see and sense and be in nature, while suspending judgment helps artists to develop the vision to see beauty in things that most people would not give a second glance to.
“I don’t like a big enterprise of people working for me. I don’t want to be a master. I want to be a kid. To keep making art, you have to put yourself in the position of a beginner. You have to be excited by a stone on the sidewalk or, like a child, the flight of a bird.” — Gabriel Orozco in the New York Times
Boundless energy, curiosity, imagination, creativity, a sense of anticipation and wonder (anything can happen/anything is possible), these are all the traits of a child. They reawakened within me when circled by a ring happy children beaming smiles. Unbridled joy and splashing in the sea ended in wild dashing for the shore. Their laughter was infectious and made me crave for more. Tender touches and fond embraces will be in my memories until next year, when I’ll see them all again – right here.
The Starfish -Ka Hôkû Kai (kah HOH’ KOO’ kai)
Once upon a time, there was a wise kupuna (elder), who went to the sea to contemplate. One day while walking along the shore, the kupuna looked down the beach, and saw a gracefully dancing human figure. The kupuna wondered out loud, “who would so joyfully greet this day with hula?” and began to walk faster to catch up. Getting closer …
The kupuna saw that the dancer was a keiki (child), who was not dancing at all. The keiki was reaching down to the sand to pick up something, and was gently throwing it into the sea. The kupuna called out to the keiki, “Aloha! What are you doing?”
The keiki paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the sea.” Surprised, the kupuna sputtered, “I guess I should have asked, ”Why are you throwing starfish into the sea?” The keiki smiled brightly, pointed upward and, with exquisite simplicity, replied “The sun is up, the tide is going out, if I don’t throw them in they will die.” “But don’t you realize,” asked the kupuna, “that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The keiki listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it gently into the sea, just beyond the breaking waves, and exuberantly declared, “It made a difference for that one.”
In each and every one of us, there is something very special. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a positive difference. If we are fortunate enough to fully accept and acknowledge that gift, we gain the “mana”, the power to shape the future.
Like the starfish, you have been chosen out of the multitude, to surf upon this cyber-shore and be inspired by a child’s wisdom. Become the wise keiki. “The sun is up, the tide is going out. If you don’t throw them in, they will die.”
Return the aloha spirit back into your Sea of Life. Find your starfish. Throw them gently and wisely back into the sea so they may live. Making a difference, you will Live!
“Never lose the child like wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us. Help others. Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.” — Randy Pausch