CROSSING INTO WONDERLAND
Not long after Alice tumbles down into the rabbit-hole, she faces the reality of her new surroundings wondering how ever will she be able to get back out of the hole. She comes to a hallway of several doors to which she does not have access to enter. It isn’t until she finds the small curtain revealing a small door that she sees the table with the small golden key. To her pleasure, the key opens the tiny door revealing a beautiful garden that she desires to enter. The only problem is her size. She knows that she will not be able to fit through the tiny door and wishes to fold up like an accordion. At this point she finds the little bottle with the “drink me” written in beautiful lettering. She is not entirely sure that it is safe to drink the contents of the bottle but rationalizes that if it were poison it would be marked clearly.
Like Alice, when facing our inner child, we only have to wish that there was a way for us to become youth-like again, and the potion bottle will appear. However, we may not trust that Wonderland is a safe place to enter because we remember that land of fantasy and imagination also risks being a destination of vulnerability. Only we forget that only moments after Alice drinks the potion to become small, she needs to grow again to reach the key. She eats the cake and becomes much too large. All of this growing and shrinking frustrates Alice. At one point she muses, “Who in the world am I?,” yet her courage is solidified, she has the strength and whit to face every situation and obstacle presented her throughout her adventure. This also should be the case as we as creatives go back to reflect upon the past to befriend the child many times left behind.
We Hold the Key
We may wonder throughout our lives, who we are. Many of us hold the key to that little door within our soul and may not even realize it. This week, viewers were asked, “If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as a creative child?”
Charlotte Gillbanks stated, “We’re never too late to be a loving parent to our inner child.”
Elizabeth Ferrell-Casey advised, “Follow only your heart and go there often.. alone.. to hear what it speaks to you. And when it tells you where to go, let that guide you..only..and never, ever, never let the voice of others drown it out.”
Gentleness is Required
Both of these creative souls understand that the child within needs coaxing and love. In fact, many times our creative selves were left so far behind in the what we may perceive as our mistakes of the past, that a mist of fog may cloud our vision.
Susan Leslie said, “Face your fears. Don’t run from them. They are not nearly as scary as you think they are. Accept that pain comes in everyone’s life, then let it go. The pain only lasts for a little bit then it goes away. Forgive yourself first. Love yourself first. You have infinite value and worth just because you are you. Believe it. Then act on it. Don’t give up on your dream. You can make good choices. Just do it. It’s okay to make mistakes. Everyone does. Just learn from them and move on. It doesn’t make you less of a person. You don’t believe other people are stupid because they make mistakes. Neither are you stupid because you make mistakes. “
Acceptance Bridges the Past and the Future
The insight she shares is self-love and acceptance. This is the baby’s milk to the creative child within. So, why bother with all of this work?
Miriam Marino advised, “Do not let anyone or anything discourage you from developing the dreams in your heart, mind and soul. They were placed there exclusively for you. These are your gifts to the world.”
Susan Leslie added, “Follow your passion. Protect it. Nurture it. Work at being enthusiastic about your passion and don’t let others squash it. Find people to be around who encourage you. You are building your future with what you do today. And most of all, remember that life is a journey to be lived one day at a time. Enjoy today for that is what you have to work with. It is enough.”
As the question was posed to viewers, Cindy and I also discussed what wisdom we would share with our younger creative selves.
Cindy: Such a great question!
Michelle: I think that I would tell my younger self to go to art school right after high school.
Cindy: I would tell myself to have published my book of poetry when I was a teen. I was too insecure…and I also would have studied Creative Writing as a major. In many ways, I don’t know how I could have done things differently when I was younger.
I wasn’t given many options as a teen or as a child. This is honestly therapeutic for me when I analyze it. I realize that so many of my decisions were based on this. For instance, I was very insecure growing up, and I couldn’t have really told myself to stop being that way, because my home was so unstable growing up. There was no way of feeling security.
Michelle: Yet, your art was still strong.
Cindy: My love for art remained strong, but I realize there is also a self-forgiveness that comes from understanding why I acted certain ways. I realize that the only real and most honest advice I can give to my younger self is this: “You’ll go through heartache, you’ll have no certainty about anything, and you’ll be tossed from one side of the mountain to the next until you feel like everything is lost. But you will get stronger, you will not be broken by it. You’ll learn many things, and one of them is to be grateful. The other is compassion. Hold on tight kid, it’s gonna be a long journey ahead, but I believe in you, and one day, so will you.”
Michelle: That is such insightful advice.
Cindy: Thanks. I really feel that it’s a healing experience to look back and cradle your younger self, and to let yourself understand your vulnerability and the reasons why you made the decisions you made.
Michelle: I agree. I was just thinking what I would also tell myself. I would probably say, “Trust your heart. It will lead you back to you. Be patient with yourself. You eventually get this figured out!”
Cindy: I like it.
Michelle: Luckily it is not a race! I think that sometimes that we need to reflect on the past to feel better and to be okay about things so that we can move forward.
We learn from Alice’s experiences that “[We] can’t go back to yesterday, because [we were different people] then.” Although regrets are likely to surface as you could see in Cindy’s and my initial response to the query, with a little insight, the regrets can be released and our soul will whisper the words of comfort each of us need to hear to heal and move forward with today. Words like heart, love, forgiveness, compassion, and patience were spoken again and again in the viewer responses as well as in our own conversation together. These words provide safety and security to our growing creative selves. We find the courage to face the past in order to be present today. This presence provides the veracity needed to face the adventures that lie ahead as we cross into Wonderland.