It’s easy to become fixed in the same position, to see things through a narrowly focused scope. As we step from childhood to adulthood it’s easy to get caught up in a rut. Under the constraints of new responsibilities, life demands that we establish a routine; social pressures force us to follow the status quo. And sometimes that limits our vision.
This past year, as I began my graduate degree program, I was challenged to expand my view of the world. In a class titled New Ways of Seeing, my colleagues and I were encouraged to reawaken our inner child—to see things without hindrance, to bring back to life the parts of ourselves that adulthood had stifled. It may sound easy or even silly, but at times it was extremely difficult.
As an adult the way you view the world can easily become constricted; not only that, but you become very conscious of the image you project, the way people see you. These were all things that bothered me at first. I knew it wasn’t everyday you’d pass a full grown woman making “art” out of stones and twigs in the Ruby Tuesday’s parking lot or taking pictures of birds while hanging out of the window of a moving car. At times completing the assignments felt weird. In the beginning I took my oldest son along as I completed the different assignments. People don’t stop and stare as much when they assume you’re completing a first grader’s assignment.
But somewhere in the midst of completing these tasks something amazing happened. I stopped paying attention to the folks around me and allowed myself to become entangled in the beauty of those stone and twig formations. I became utterly fascinated with the way a bird wanders through life. I stopped concerning myself with rational, fully-framed thought and allowed my mind to just be free. In challenging myself to see the world differently, or in the way I might have as a child, I not only opened my range of sight, I had fun!
This time of year is marked by fun, by childhood exploration and imagination. I hope my experience will inspire you to new ways of seeing—to awaken the childlike part of yourself that looks at the world without constraints. Not only will you discover the beauty that exists in most everything, you’ll have fun too.
This article is intended for general education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or medical care. If you are interested in seeking professional counseling, please contact The Stone Foundation by clicking here, or by phone at 410-296-2004.
Melissa Brooks-Cuffee holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from Towson University: one in Psychology, the other in English. She has sustained memberships with both the Psi Chi and Lambda Iota Tau honor fraternities, and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. Melissa also volunteers with E-buddies–a program of Best Buddies International.
Over the last several years, Melissa has assumed various administrative roles within the healthcare and mental healthcare field. She demonstrates her strong desire to help those in need by offering quality care and compassion to the population she so fervently serves. At present, Melissa maintains the positions of Administrative Assistant and Online Marketing Specialist at The Stone Foundation. She is also a featured writer for The Stone Foundation’s Weekly Wisdom Online Publication and creates the visual content posted to The Stone Foundation’s Facebook Page.