June 2012

Adults Are Boring

(For those of you who are the exception to the rule (you know who you are) this does not apply-I do not even associate you with the “A word” anyhow.)

Tonight at my gig I was visited by a sharp contrast of adulthood and childhood.  It started with this one little amazing being who’s name I never learned, but I will call him Spiderman because it is his favorite superhero.  Spiderman is 4 years old and I first witnessed this ball full of light when I opened my eyes during one of my songs to see him bouncing around near me, putting out some crazy dancing moves.  I know I’ve written here before about little kids coming up to me at my shows and  I am writing about them again because they never cease to amaze me with the pure energy they radiate.

Every artist (and I believe down deep every human) aspires to return to the state of childhood, becoming powerful through our vulnerability, free through our lack of self-consciousness, and lack of inhibition, and independent because we have no need for external validation..  A performer that people are drawn to  is one up there completely playing as if they were by themselves, for no one’s approval or flattery, no ulterior motive-only the moment and only their own fascination.

I always think it is so interesting to observe the period in time where a child starts to become self-conscious.  Have you ever seen siblings close to the same age, but the young one is stealing all of the attention and adoration from the elders in the room, putting out the most creative comments and ways of play, while the older one has lost their draw of the audience because they’ve become self aware, their movements no longer as fluid nor as original?  How to be an adult without becoming a robot?  How to wear spiritual armor in a sometimes deceptive world, armor that enables you to boldly assert your will, to pierce through the swarming influences and listen to no voice but your own, while also delicately preserving that sensitive, wonderful (full of wonder), honest child-self inside of that armor (and letting them out to play)?

Spiderman was spinning around, touching the ground, criss crossing his feet, and flaring out with some break dance like moves, with what seemed to be an inexhaustible energy and zeal as I played.  I watched enthralled, and could not supress my laughter  though I was mid song (the lyrics came out part laughs part notes) to this endearing and amazing sight.  After the song I clapped for him and told him he was a good dancer and asked where he learned his moves.  He reflexively said “my mom and pop” and then thought for a moment and retracted saying, “actually, I dint learn from anybody, I just dance myself.”  His mom came over and said “I really apologize for this.”  “Never apologize for this!” I said, “This little guy is so amazing, what a great little dancer, encourage this!  You could be a great dancers someday!  You can do anything you want as long as you believe in it.  I know it, that’s why I’m here, right now, doing what I love.” 

Moments take on a life of their own inside of us and I often wonder about the course some of my moments with others travel onward into.    I wonder about moments like this with a 4 year old Spiderman and the ways they might affect his life, big or small.  Moments can and do set life’s courses.  He probably will not consciously remember today-him dancing up there and me playing music, my words of encouragement and high fives-but I’d like to think that it stays with him along his way, seeds that sprout I know not when and in some way however large or slight, keep him that free dancing 4 year old.

Over the course of the next hour what happened amazed me.  I watched as this one little 4 year old began to draw out all of the other little kids sprinkled through the audience up onto the stage.  By the end of it a group of 6 or 7 little one’s were bopping about, making all kinds of savage little kid noises, doing whatever they felt like doing and causing a wonderful scene at this 5 star luxury resort.  I am so thankful for them when they come.  Some people have their spirit animals that guide them, a wolf, a bird of some sort, I believe my spirit animal is a tie between a dolphin and a little kid.  Whenever they pop up I feel like they recognize me as one of them, just with a look, and I feel more at home with them then with most people my age and above.  They are dancing free, uninfluenced and unrestrained in the creative infinitude of life’s possiblities.  They are finding the vast worlds in small spaces, the myriad games, ways of sight and modes of travel in plain sight for all of us to reach out and touch, to dance with.

After I finished playing music, I asked Spiderman to teach me some moves.  I told him I was scared of dancing, that I was not very good, that my girlfriend loved to dance and I had always shied away from it.  Little did he know how candid I was being and how inspiring he was to me.  I imitated him as he showed me some double kick leaps in the air to the ground, some spins, crisscrosses and all kinds of other music meanderings.  Then he said quite suddenly and excitedly, “Now you just do whatever you want!” and went back to bouncing around and loving every moment of it.  Words of the wise.  As it got later the children departed and I went-with the reluctance of  a child who’s been summoned off of a summer neighborhood  and into the house for the night-to interact with adults.

Its one weird thing as I grow up, there is a mismatch between my physical appearance and my mentality, and people, to no fault of their own, mistake me for an adult and address me and commune with me as they would an adult.  I can play that character, I can sit and nod my head to talk of the mundane, of the current societal paradings, but inside I’m squirming in my highchair with a full knowledge of the world of possibilities and play just out the door, around the bend right past the flat illusion we are fed as adults.  I can sit and squirm for the hearing of societal banter and watery language currency, but one thing I cannot sit or stand for is the negativity many adults veer into in conversation and energy; keep that far far from me, that binding blinding poison.

So to end this part journal part blog part vent part satire, I say god bless the children….my people!  I also must give a shout-out to the man in me for his independence, his creative potency, and his role as guardian and preserver of my child-self’s sensitivity and playground; I’m glad he’s around.

Spiderman, you’re my hero.

-RH

Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

-Matthew 18 and 19 NIV

“if you receive the world,
the Tao will never leave you
and you will be like a little child.”

“the greatest wisdom seems childish”

-Tao Te Ching