growing down

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Mostly we go through life growing up.

We get older. We learn from experience. We generally therefore get wiser. We get more aware, more tolerant, more reasoned.  We have knowledge, wisdom and experience on our side. So we can make better decisions, better choices. We can be balanced, measured, sage.

Maybe?

A A Milne’s book “Now we are six” is a wonderful collection of children’s poems that ends with this verse…

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever

A child’s logic. A child’s wisdom.

The problem is we don’t stay six, now and forever. We become, seven, fifteen, twenty six, fifty one, seventy three. At each stage of ‘growing’ we take on more rigidity, more stuckness, more ‘one way’ thinking. Life experience actually binds us. We learn rules, habits, behaviours, beliefs which constrain our potential.

Take a challenge you face today. Maybe it’s about money, time, work, relationships?

How would a six year old face this? What creative, unbounded, imaginative solutions come from the naive, inexperienced, free mind of a child?

Anything is possible. Maybe adults should start growing down? Going back to the free, unencumbered wisdom of childhood.

Maybe we all need to stay six forever?

 

the wisdom of the goats

GOATS

In our modern world there is much complexity. With that comes contradiction. An either or, pros and cons, do and don’t do.  We face everyday life with a heavy burden of choice. A weight of expectation, of responsibility. How to spend our time, our money, our energy? Lots of ‘what if?’ Lots of ‘if only?’.

I heard a story the other day which resonated with this world truth of contradiction and complexity.

The story teller, a young African boy at the time of the story. Living in a village in remote Nigeria.

The villagers kept goats. The goats served many purposes. They provided work, endeavour, a sense of purpose. They provided food. They provided milk. They were a currency of prosperity.

But the goats also ate things. Anything. Everything. They destroyed much of the fabric of the village.

The elders of the village met to discuss this complexity, this contradiction. In order to decide.

The young boy observed the elders meeting.  Their long discussion about the goats.

The elders sat and debated this contradiction. For days.

After a while, the young boy asked his father why they continued to discuss the goats. Why they were not deciding.

His father said, there is a wisdom in not deciding. A wisdom in living with the contradiction. And so there emerges another truth in the complexity.

Wise words.

how will your future you advise the younger you?

wisdom
If you were your own mentor … what would you tell yourself?

If an older, wiser you could guide the younger you and impart some wisdom, some gem of learning from life’s journey, what might that be?

Novelist Cheryl Strayed’s advice to her twenty-two year-old self from a viewpoint two decades further on was …

“There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. Understand that what you have resolved will need to be resolved again. And again. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of these things will have to do with forgiveness.”

Sound advice. What would yours be?