Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Art of Being Enthralled



Can you remember being a kid, and maybe you applied crayon or pen or something to a surface that wasn't meant to have crayon or pen on it? Or mixed a couple of things together, or took something apart...

Remember the look on the resident grownup's face when they came into the room? That kind of, "Oh, uh-oh" face - followed by "Oh honey, that's not what that's meant for - now, let's clean that up... you know better!"

That's a pretty easy thing to remember -- especially maybe some of the vocabulary words that you learned right then...

But do you also remember the feeling BEFORE that? That feeling of being completely engrossed by what you were doing? The feeling that is the reason that you weren't "knowing better" at that particular point in time?

I remember writing on my bookshelf with a mascara brush.

That enthrallment that you felt is a skill that we need in order to accomplish great things in our life - and you learn it by participating in the arts.

Kids know how to get enthralled. It drives grownups nuts. They get enthralled at all the wrong moments. Like, when they are supposed to be getting in the car. Because we're late. So could we just get in the car? Please? Okay put down the ladybug, let's get in the car... NOW!

But we need the ability to be enthralled in order to really accomplish something. In a society that is obsessed with the Big Win, the Medal, the Championship, we sure don't spend a lot of time cultivating the kind of enthrallment and perserverance that you need to get to that pinnacle. Or to get anywhere, for that matter.

You get that from the arts. Not from completing an art "project," but by setting aside a time and place to just sit and make something. Follow your thoughts and impulses. See where things go. It's like exercising an enthrallment muscle.

If I had my way, every kid in the world would have at least a half hour a day, or an hour, to just get out some kind of materials and have at it. Could be crayons, glue, tape, clay, electronics - just some open space to exercise that enthrallment muscle.

Have you given yourself an enthrallment workout lately? What about your favorite kid? Give it a try. Enthrallment comes from WITHIN. Peace takes practice. And so does getting enthralled.

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