To play with pies of mud and boats that don’t float, oh what a dream we could have.
by Cindy Myska, therapist and mother of two
Remember when we were children?
Remember the death of your dreams?
Remember when we were children? When the world seemed safe from everything because we had someone taking care of us. Remember how as a child we did not know of a wish to do things ourselves. Remember the freedom and joy in each new activity. We worked as play and played as work. We brought home our lizards and toads, and washed our grimy faces after a day of play. We plotted and created. Make-believe castles and boats that did not float but were fun to make even if they did not work. We climbed the trees for a lookout position and made magic potions from dirt and water and straw.
We played! Yes, we did children’s work we played. We scouted and hunted and primped and monstered. We held a vision and created a dream. We never looked back, always on to the next vision. We are as children now.
We are as children, you and I. We meet in our children’s dreams, we hold ourselves in our children’s eyes. We are our children, you and I, and the children are our dream for us. To be our children, what a blessing, to be our selves, what hope. To play with pies of mud and boats that don’t float, oh what a dream we could have.
We will dream if we can just get past this, we say. We will play when the work is complete, we mutter. We will save ourselves the trouble of boats that don’t float, we will make sure our vision is real before we build the boat. We will, we say, play when the figuring, and saving, and knowing, and praying is done, we say.
Tell the children. Tell the children that they must not risk much for a dream. Tell the children that there is nothing more than hard work, loneliness, fear, and hurt. Warn the children: run! Behave, children, fit in this world. Mud pies for now, sure, but wait ‘til you are grown up. Tell the children what they have to look forward to. Tell the children that happiness is there, see Mommy and Daddy are looking for it.
I can hope for a better day, but the hope is flat and sordid; indeed, the hope is not really hope but a facsimile of some unknown notion of future gain from present hard work. Bullshit would be a better word for this great robbery taking place.
We are robbed of our worldly trinkets when a robber enters our home and places our things in his bag. Just as surely we are robbed when this notion that there is happiness for the future if we save up, work hard, earn our way, is called hope.
Instead of invigorating, this hope is defeating. We can never earn our way to happiness. We can never read our way to Heaven. We can never speak our way to peace. Nor can we penetrate the layer of special-ness that exists in our minds. We can only be different about now. We can only change our minds to reflect our hearts. We can only react with joy when we have no hope—faux hope—that there is a better future. There is no other way.
Joy is only now and can never be anything else.
Treat yourself to a big mud pie. Make a boat and see if it will float. Make magic potions and find yourself making a new life. You remember.