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.
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.”