Muchness, Childlikeness and Wonder

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Vincent van Gogh said, “If you hear a voice inside you telling you you’re not a painter, paint…and that voice will be silenced.” Do you think that maybe van Gogh struggled with such voices, but defied them to become famous for his paintings in modern times? He didn’t even begin painting until he was in his late twenties. That makes me smile.

"Ches"
Painting of “Ches” by Minda Magero

I started painting in high school, but I wasn’t a great painter. I was much better at still life drawing. Still, I love to paint and I’ve gone back to it this year after more than 10 years of not handling brushes and paints. I don’t care that I’m not great at it; I just find joy in being able to paint again.

That’s childlikeness–something we all desperately need. Something we lose along the way growing up. When a child paints, she doesn’t think her painting anything less than a masterpiece until someone contradicts that view. With that in mind, I painted the Cheshire Cat last night, and I had so much fun, laughing in delight throughout the process. There will be other renderings of Ches (yes, I gave him a nickname) in future, but I will always treasure this first one.

Alice in Wonderland really captured my heart with its theme of the rediscovery of identity. Alice had lost her muchness–her identity, her childlikeness, her wonder–since her previous visit to Wonderland, and was struggling to see in herself the bold, adventurous and gifted person that others remembered her to have been when they first encountered her years back. Living had taken its toll on her heart. She had discarded her dreams because she thought they were merely dreams. She struggled to understand that her dreams could become reality, if she chose to consider them real and attainable.

Have you lost your muchness in the journey of life? Have you given up on your dreams? It’s not too late to turn the tide; it’s never too late. I regained a bit more of my muchness on my walk this morning. I stopped by the neighborhood playground and invested a few minutes in swinging, recapturing the sense of childlike wonder I had in younger days when I lived to swing.

May you regain your sense of wonder. “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. risper says:

    Minda, you are immensely gifted. Reading your work, I want my daughters to meet you and learn all these things early enough.

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    1. minda says:

      Risper, thank you! I am so honored that you want your girls to learn from me. I so look forward to meeting them!

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  2. Clare says:

    You are ‘dead on’ – and I love your Ches – you’ve captured his essence beautifully and the colours too!!!!
    Now to have him screenprinted so we can all walk about proudly displaying that mischievous grin. It’s almost frightening how in sync our spirits can be – just when you were revelling in the movie so were we – and came away with the ‘loss of our muchness’ concept – very convicting – I want to share that with one of my daughters who has lost hers – just how to say it is my challenge.
    Keep on keeping on, and being so true to yourself. That’s difficult for any artist as they come under fire in many subtle ways quite regularly – sometimes from their own critical ego. Sending you love, Clare

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    1. minda says:

      Thanks for your encouragement and love, Clare! I know you’ll find the words to reawaken your daughter’s muchness.

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  3. jengilmer says:

    Wonderful post, Minda! I’m inspired to try my hand at painting or drawing or something! Especially swinging. Maybe even poetry… ha! I agree that we lose our childlikeness as we grow older and it’s a shame. I’ve been thinking about that as it relates to the public school system, since I’m studying to be a middle school English teacher. It seems in middle school, the “fun” goes out of school. Why should that be? I hope to incorporate some of the fun things from elementary school into my future classroom so that students don’t lose their creativity, childlikeness and muchness! I’d love to hear anyone’s ideas how to accomplish this. 🙂

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