I met Ezra over the weekend (actually two weekends ago now). He is two-ish months old and is Estelle’s brother. Being around him got me thinking about the way of being of an infant, what it is all about, all the amazing things occurring in the brain of a baby etc. Ezra staring up at his blinky star happy as can be, arms and legs wiggling. It struck me as baby meditation.
Being new to this world, it seems to me a big job of a baby is to observe, to take in huge amounts of information. It blows my mind to think about what they are learning to comprehend, tiny details and patterns that we are unaware of. While listening to an audio file of an Andrew Weil Meditation book, it occurred to me that meditation can be described as focused observation and being present and being creative in the world can also have to do with observation and being present….So spending time with the little ones as a nanny, it’s like this big part of my job is to be observant and present. Isn’t it kinda the perfect counterpart to being a creative person?
Okay, so there is observation and being present, but I have also found there is some sort of connection between the way I go about entertaining/playing with kids and with being creative, like maybe it’s the same way of thinking or something. I was sitting at a café and wondered to myself, “What if I was with Estelle right now? What would we do?” And I immediately noticed how the blue sugar packs made this lovely angle toward the yellow and then brown sugar packs in the sugar bowl and I would probably play with them or build something out of them or … and then Estelle would get interested and we would play and talk all around the objects on the table.
So what is interesting to me is that when I asked myself those questions, it was really an aesthetic response I had (in addition to nanny knowledge)… It’s the color and shape and placement I’m noticing and interacting with knowing that if I engage with this the child I am with will most likely get interested and it will go somewhere like decorating the table or a story with sugar packs as characters. Prior to wondering this I wasn’t paying attention to what was on the table at all, partly because I was busy on my computer and partly maybe because I have learned to be an adult in public and not play with the sugar bowl?
I guess what it is I wonder and think about is how this so obviously relates to my pictures of children and childhood – the way I engage with kids is similar to how I engage creatively. And I tend to think of this as part of what my pictures are about, that what I am doing is related and relating to what the kids I’m with are doing… But there is often this comment about me making pictures from a “child’s point of view” that I always stop and question because I see it as my point of view (and well obviously it is). I think maybe it’s just that the adult me point of view relates well with what we think of as a child’s point of view, which I guess now I am saying is sort of inherently a “creative” view of the world (defined here as related to being visually open, curious and engaged in the present moment).
Is the grand thought behind this maybe about creativity and a way of being in the world that we are born with? Are we born artists (and scientists and meditators)? Are kids always in a creative state? I guess this really depends on what you think of as creative. I am thinking of the sort of visual pleasure/appreciation that can come from openly taking in your surroundings with an eye for something to engage with… Okay so now I see I have found my way around to perhaps we are all just born to appreciate the world around us through our senses and young kids are doing that much more readily perhaps than the average adult?
Oh the thoughts keep going and going….