Mad Moments

Carly sat in the dry riverbed scratching an imagined icon in the sand with a stick. “It is getting late and I need to go back home,” I said twice. “No,” she said in her bossy-mean way. “OK, by-by,” I said and continued walking up the dirt path until I was out of sight where I sat in the shade and waited.


How dare they?

For reasons only she knows, as we were slipping on her pajamas, Carly stopped. She wiggled free and ran naked to the closet where her shoes lay waiting. I, of course, being focused on preparing for bed, interpreted her escape as just that, a creative diversion to keep play going as long as possible. Play isn’t an activity. Play is a state of being, a unique quality of attention and relationship to whatever is happening at the moment. From her play perspective, sleeping is like dying. Who wants to do that? I explain, as best I can, that if we don’t sleep and just keep playing, we will all get tired and then grumpy and then we won’t have fun anymore. So, it is important to get lots of sleep so we can wake up fresh and keep playing. But that is another story.


Home Base

The player steps up to home base. While at the plate, he or she is perfectly safe. From this position of safety they swing the bat and hopefully hit the ball. The moment they leave home base, they are at risk. They run to first base avoiding being tagged. The goal is to make it back to home base where nothing bad can happen. I, and everyone else who cares for Carly, is that home base, the safe place where nothing bad can happen, except when we are not.

basic trust

What Are You Doing?

It is a privilege to be Carly’s friend and guide. She is obviously not an honored guest, a celebrity or foreign dignitary, but she deserves being treated like one, with that same heightened level of care, empathy and respect. To do so takes time and attention. Being present is increasingly rare today. The earth is spinning at more or less the same speed, but inside we humans, psychologically, the world is not the same at all. Ten years ago, in 2007, we crossed a tipping point. Human consciousness was jump started into exponential acceleration. Most now carry a mobile computer in their pocket or handbag that buzzes, beeps, and flashes pictures, grabbing our attention, 24/7. Every time it does, we become less attentive, less present, less sensitive to what is taking place here and now, in and between ourselves and our honored guests. Imagine being deep in the Congo and discovering that your guide is oblivious to what is happening, standing there, enchanted, staring at the palm of his hand. “Wake up,” you say! “Be here now!” That is what loving and caring for Carly does. She wakes me up.


Changing the world - one father at a time

As you know, I kept a journal inspired by “what I learned with Carly,” writing every two weeks for two years, beginning with the home birth of Carly Elizabeth, now thirty-three months young. This evolved into a new book; Playful Wisdom, A Father’s Adventure, now at the printer and is expected mid-July. My dream is that this inspiring and heartfelt book becomes THE GIFT every new father receives from caring friends and families. (They won’t buy it for themselves. Not this kind of book. Guys don’t do that.) But, they will read it as a gift from someone who cares.


No More Pee Parties

Suddenly, it becomes apparent that this precious moment we call early-childhood will never come again. Never. This moment is over, pushed aside by a new moment. It was just a blink ago that Carly Elizabeth would announce that she needed to pee. “A pee party,” we celebrated as I walked her to the potty. She would sit on her potty and I on mine. It was, indeed, a pee or poop party. Yesterday, when she announced that it was ‘that’ time, she added, “I will – alone,” and that is what she did. An era had come to an end. As we celebrate each new milestone we often miss the ending of what was – now – just a memory and it happens every day.

imagination and play

I will do it myself

Row upon row, names and words stack like Legos in Carly’s expanding brain. They connect, form bridges, roads, creating castles, places to visit and to hide. We don’t see them but she does, building blocks for her future. Story time and briefly for meals is the only time Carly sits still. No hyperactivity here, not a drop. Life is opening and unfolding before her eyes, fingers and toes. No time to waste. There is another adventure right here and over there.

Wiggling Free

Optimal experience is an end in itself… it is a self-contained activity, one that is not done with the expectation of some future benefit, the doing itself is the reward.

When experience is intrinsically rewarding, life is justified in the present, instead of being held hostage to a hypothetical future gain… The solution is to gradually become free of societal rewards and learn how to substitute for them rewards that are under one’s own powers.


Self As Self-Defense

One’s relationship with another is based on memory. Would you accept that? On the various images, pictures, conclusions I have drawn about you and you have drawn about me. The various images that I have about you - wife, husband, girl or boy or friend and so on, there is always image making. This is simple, this is normal, this actually goes on. When one is married, or lives with a girl or a boy, every incident, every word, every action creates an image. No? Are we clear on this point? Don’t agree with me please, I am not trying to persuade you to anything. But actually you can see it for yourself. A word is registered, if it is pleasant you purr. It is nice. If it is unpleasant, you will immediately shrink from it and that creates an image. The pleasure creates an image; the shrinking, the withdrawal creates an image. So, our actual relationship with each other is based on various subtle forms of pictures, images and conclusions.


Walking through millions of years of image-making evolution

Jul. ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.
Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare