When my granddaughter Sophie was 2 years old and I was going through chemo, she and her Mom came to visit. On the first morning, I heard her stir, and when I entered her room, she stood up in her crib and announced enthusiastically, “I woked up, Nana.”
There is nothing like a two year old in the house to make you stop and enjoy the moments. Every little thing from cheerio’s, to blackberries, from an ant or a bird or her stuffed pig is sheer magic. Jumping in one spot, getting into her car seat by herself, singing and playing the toy piano, and relishing every bit of her vegetarian chilli. Passionate about life. Holding nothing back but giving herself away, all day long.
This memory came to mind when I read what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author, distinguished professor of Psychology and Management, and thought leader, had to say on “waking up.”
“Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to. Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day. This is not because they are cheerful, enthusiastic types. Nor do they necessarily have something exciting to do. But they believe that there is something meaningful to accomplish each day, and they can’t wait to get started on it. Most of us don’t feel our actions are that meaningful. Yet everyone can discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. It could be meeting a certain person, shopping for a special item, potting a plant, cleaning the office desk, writing a letter, trying on a new dress.
It is easier if each night before falling asleep, you review the next day and choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting. Then next morning, open your eyes and visualize the chosen event—play it out briefly in your mind, like an inner videotape, until you can hardly wait to get dressed and get going. It does not matter if at first the goals are trivial and not that interesting. The important thing is to take the easy first steps until you master the habit, and then slowly work up to more complex goals. Eventually most of the day should consist of tasks you look forward to, until you feel that getting up in the morning is a privilege, not a chore.”
― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
Children and certain adults are great examples. Sophie at two was aware, in her own way of the joy of waking up. My friend John who died ten years ago was also aware of this great privilege. In a phone conversation shortly before his death I was telling him about a particularly great day.
He gently reminded me that they are all good days. “You woke up,” he said. And I agreed. When I hung up from our talk, at that time, I thought about Wu Men’s little poem written hundreds of years ago that I love. I pass it on once again. A little gift for today.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life. Wu-Men (1183-1260)
Note 1:) The seminal work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
Note 2:) You pronounce his name like this: (Me-High Chick-sent-Me-High) Once you know, it’s easy.
Note 3:) I am always appreciative of you stopping by here. Many many thanks. Enjoy this beautiful summer month, wherever you are and find those magical moments to celebrate your days.