Sunday, September 28, 2008

Standing Out

The other day my daughters were with me and wanted to see the movie, "What A Girl Wants". It is a charming movie about a teenage girl who goes to England to find her biological father. He turns out to be a politician from an extremely wealthy family. For the sake of his position in society and at work, she tries to become the demure daughter that she thinks he wants her to be. Her boyfriend asks her a very important question, "Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out?"

That is my favorite line in the movie. There were a number of excellent lines. But this one really speaks to me and to everyone who has tried to be "normal" by sacrificing who they really are. If we could all just remember the fact that we are unique and that this is something to be celebrated, not stifled, the world would be a much more authentic place in which to live.

The truth is that trying to be something that we are not never really serves anyone in any way that could be considered significant. When we become and stay authentic to who we truly are, we serve ourselves and our world in ways that are more deep and meaningful than we sometimes even hope or dream they could be. This is why I enjoy the sandbox. It grounds me and keeps me real and allows me to creatively express myself. Ever since I was a little kid I have enjoyed the sandbox. Now I have a grown up sandbox, called a Zen Garden. It is a beautiful pottery tray that my daughter made in her pottery class, with sand from Hawaii and shells and a stone from the Rockies. It has a teeny weeny rake that I can use to make patterns in the sand. I could go on and on about it, but I won't. The point is that it is part of who I authentically am. And when I am on the beach, I make the most wonderful sand castles. When I make sand castles, most of the kids on the beach end up coming up and asking if they can help me. The answer is always yes. It is amazing what one can learn from a kid while making sand castles.

As an example, I was on a holiday once and was making a sand castle on a beach by a lake when a young boy named Devin came up to me and asked if he could join in. As we were building the sand castle, he revealed to me that he was an only child, that he loved to play the guitar and drums, that his favorite color was blue like the sky, that he could see all sorts of things in the clouds if he looked at them the right way, that his mom and dad were sitting on the bench about a hundred and fifty feet away watching us, that he loved to ride his bicycle, and that he thought that the world would be a better place if there were many more flavors of ice cream from which to select. I had to agree with the ice cream philosophy. Small things like that do indeed make the world a much better place in which to live!

So I invite everyone who reads this to play in the sand. This will help you to discover many a wisdom that is right there, just waiting to be uncovered. I also invite you to build sand castles with children in your world. And while you do, listen to them. They will always surprise you with the knowledge and wisdom that they can impart, when one is able to receive.

Blessed Be


1 comment:

Gail said...

The line from the movie got me thinking about how I used to try so hard to fit in when I was younger. I desperately wanted others to like me, so instead of being my authentic self, I tried to be like others around me. This proved to be a total bomb, but it took me a long time to realize that others don't want copies - they're a dime a dozen - and I don't need to be like someone else, I just need to be myself. Oh, the things we do to feel part of the mainstream ...
I, too, enjoy listening to kids. They are so open and honest about so many things. Without their knowing, they impart such wisdom when they share their perspective. My little friend who lives next door told me this Spring how he needed to find another job because the one he now has doesn't pay the bills. This little guy is 6 years old and already he has the weight of the world upon his little shoulders. What does that tell us? Are his parents conversing about such matters in front of their little one to the point that he becomes so worried about how the family can afford the necessities? Perhaps my little friend's parents need to consider the content of the conversations they're having in front of him...