I spoke to my sons yesterday by phone. They are Solomon and Salvador, magical beings of power and possibility.
Solomon was recounting his experience of a local stage production in which he got to play a lion. His participation was not planned though. He was in the front row in the audience at an interactive show and, not being shy, found his way onto the stage, naturally. As I was not there I could only piece together what he shared (which he did with LOTS of coaching from his mom in the background! lol) and I was able to picture vividly in mind what he shared.
And here’s one thing I want to share, what he, Solomon, said to me:
“Dada, when I was playing the lion I wasn’t just playing the lion. I BECAME THE LION!”
My heart exploded a billion times brighter than a million suns! YES!!!! YES!!!! YES!!!!
“Yes, Solomon, yes Papa, that’s it! You got it! You got it! You know! You know!”
When I’m with the boys and we play we don’t speak of worlds, we speak from them. We imagine in the first person, and I allow theirs to lead. As children they are mastery in motion feeling for spaces more than borders and transforming all spaces they enter just by their ability to declare reality fearlessly and have it be so. They get it. Do I? Do we?
In this way of playing, the child’s way, the way of the Eternal Child, we become the story, and the story becomes us.
And as we, the boys and I, do what we do I drop seeds here and there –
- don’t be strong, you are strength
- speak your own mind, not the mind of another
- don’t play (the thing), be (the thing)
- you are the power to create what you choose to create
- problems?? there are never problems – ever!
- you are because you say you are
- everything you see and everything you don’t see is an expression of Creator
- Creator lives in you, through you, as you
- you are part of everything you see and everything is a part of you
- there is no outer space because we are all in the same space
- and on and on
These are not rote teachings but eruptions of awareness uttered by the moment; because all of life is One Voice speaking, One Urge seeking utterance in the vessel, through the vessel, as the vessel. And as Humans we have the privilege of free will to choose what is uttered and how. What power!
The boys and I conduct symphonies of sound and rhythm, mime and dance, and play and more play. When I’m present with them (and there were plenty of times I was absent from them, withdrawing into realms of alienation with many layers, and I aware and feeling overwhelmed by them and adding a layer by which overwhelmed meant overpowered for reasons and stories I won’t discuss here now, if ever) I get into my genius where imagination and magic become the context and the content, the world and the life therein. I become a child again, which is easy when I’m present with them in their world.
I follow their lead and play becomes easy. I might set down a context here and there, like baseball for instance, where they both show natural gifts and when they bring the content magic happens every time. Salvador, for example, when playing baseball with me, will do things when playing pitcher, catcher or hitter that I never showed him – idiosyncratic movements and mannerisms exactly as big league players tend to do. He becomes the baseball player; he does not just go through the motions.
Most times they direct and I follow. When they bring both context and content, both the world and the story, I can be there or not be there and their flow continues unabated because they create and populate their own worlds whose space they own and govern. Autonomy nurtured is character gained. I may want to suggest, but doing so only intrudes. Trust the process, Dada.
Another example is when Solomon paints. Caroline does arts and crafts with the boys and when Solomon did painting in his toddler years he picked up the brush and created abstracts with startling results without the aid of coaching. I watched the Painter paint, and all of Solomon became merged with the brush and the paint and the canvas. All elements became one instrument. A few of these paintings hang on the wall. They show an unconscious urge working through Solomon, not directed from without but somehow guided from within. Intrusions by a parent, or by a coach or teacher of any kind, as well-intended as they may be, will only stifle and frustrate in ways subtle and gross so that the genius seeking expression, seeking utterance, falls into silence only to seek, or roar, another day. This dynamic is embedded in all relationship – the free demanding to remain free that the creative may create unfettered.
I see how the results differ when I intrude in the creative process with my idea of what or how it ought to be done. Their flow, my sons’, is then halted like a stream dammed by a mudslide. Their nature being that of water (and we are water!) they will seep through or find a way around so that, eventually, even the obstacle to flow becomes its very means of continuance (be water, my friend).
Nonetheless, I have faltered and fallen a hundred times as a father; and a hundred times I’ve gotten back up, striving to evolve while learning that growth is not subject to my will, it vitalizes it in proportion to the calling, an act of both law and grace. Desiring and envisioning being complete in my fathering of Solomon and Salvador, I remind myself that in an inter-connected Universe what we do we make possible for others to do whether they be our sons and daughters, neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies, real and imagined, near and far.
And more importantly, that our impulses and unconscious are inherently good, that our nature is noble and our basic inclination is to align with the best in ourselves, our localized source of Inspiration. Solomon and Salvador will know these things and live them as they bear witness to and find inspiration in my healing voyage, and that of their mother, and of anyone else that has devoted themselves to theirs in whose orbit we might be blessed to enter, even if only for a moment. Fulfilling begets fulfilling. Becoming complete as men, women, Humans, as expressions of Origination, requires that we deal with the damming of our own flow and still remain in flow.
But if never dammed to begin with and the stream is allowed to continue its self-expression unimpeded – what becomes possible then!!?? But then, what is it that is forged and formed expressly because of the obstacles and challenges they present that otherwise would not be??
I say that all parents damage their children in some way to some degree; and that the nature of life, of which we are an embodiment and expression, is such that the turbulence, the obstacle or the refuse become the womb, channel and fertilizer for new growth. This is the life, the power and the possibility that we are for whom adversity is merely opportunity in disguise.
Again, imagine what children could be without censorship, without the intrusion of damaged minds? Imagine what we could achieve in 2 generations? Imagine, having achieved thus, what 7 generations from now could look like, feel like, be like?
My talk with Solomon was brief; my talk with Salvador was a mere single statement.
Salvador, who is three, his brother five, participated in this production as a tiger. He wanted me to know he played a tiger, and I replied with exaggerated excitement which I find awkward to do and behold. Anyway, he may have read me in the moment because he didn’t continue the conversation. He occupied himself with whatever it was he was doing and that’s cool with me. His mom told me that he, as the tiger, peaked his head out of the box during the show then retreated back into it.
Whatever it was that Salvador sensed and felt I know that the tiger, who walks alone, that this tiger, who chose this time to hide his Self, will one day roar! And when he does you best look out for the tiger that hides today eats tomorrow! Salvador knows the tiger better than any of us! He knows!
Salvador and Solomon. They know. They gnosis!
Each one distinct with different needs, different desires, different ways, different dialects of consciousness. Where one cries, the other does not, and vice-versa; where one awakens the other sleeps, and vice-versa; where one hides the other shines, and vice-versa. And round and round they go.
Can I, as father and facilitator, learn the language of each one, accepting and respecting what they express and how, however frustrated or impatient or imprudent I may want to be? Can I silence my own inner critic and let their voices ring true and clear? Can I die to self, ego-driven, that they might live as Self universal and fully expressed??
This is my challenge and the calling of Life as Father – to sacrifice ego-self and let my sons shine in their own brilliance. This we are all called to do as both parent and pupil, with competence and humility. I pray we all, especially the fathers, find success and completion by learning the rhythms and the language, and how to comply and cooperate more than command, when attending to these souls sacred and whole. I pray we all master this aspect of Creator (Father/Mother).
Our children deserve it, do they not? And so do we.