Goose bumps. Chills. Tears. Unbridled smiles and laughter. These are the external manifestations of past experiences that have inspired my fingertips to dance over a keyboard and share my story. Without any physical evidence or immediate cognition, a different force is at play in the creation of the thoughts that follow. Intuition. It is a sacred gift that often remains sealed in our own personal rendition of Pandora’s box. A seemingly innocent decision to dismiss the voice from within, its guidance remains untapped and its power is relinquished to the influence of the rational mind.
My childhood was played out in a house sitting on a half acre of land. My imagination overflowed with the most creative uses of this space. On one day, it was a medieval village requiring protection from the attack of invaders to the north. And on other days, it was the stadium where the seventh game of the World Series hung in the balance. There was one use of this space, however, that was never in my deck of cards. A tree house. We didn’t have a tree on our property that could entertain the grand plans set forth by the likes of Alfalfa and The Little Rascals. I don’t ever distinctly remember desiring a tree house. Looking back, however, I wonder if this wish was buried deep in the recesses of my mind. For, what I do remember is gathering up all the blankets, sheets, clothespins, and sufficiently tall chairs to conjure up my own secret fort.
Confined to the indoors on rainy days, bar stools were placed in just the right location. Bed linens were carefully measured and spread clear across the room forming the impenetrable roof to my fortress. The clothespins, holding adjacent blankets together, served as the basis of my unassailable security system. Within those walls, magic was present. Secret meetings were held (subjects which I am not at the liberty to discuss). There were no adults. There was no rain outside. There was only opportunity. I was in my own world of imagination where anything was possible.
Somewhere along my path to adulthood, the desire to build these private hideaways waned along with my sense of imagination and creativity. It was replaced by a sense of responsibility, a firm resolve to find my place in the world, to become a well-functioning and useful member of society. It is paradoxical that I abandoned the very elements that would allow me to do just that. Sometimes, however, the universe is gracious enough to send us suggestive whispers that rekindle the flame of imagination and infinite possibility from our childhood. In the quiet flap of a butterfly’s wings, in the colorful hues of the setting sun, in the recollection of special childhood memories that have been suppressed by the adult mind.
That breath of inspiration spoke to me most recently through the work of Pete Nelson, host of the television show Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet. As stated in his bio, Pete strives to create private escapes for those with a passion to reconnect with nature and awaken their inner child, one tree at a time. The enthusiasm and dedication to his mission is clearly evident in his personality and creative energy. The show captivated me. It grabbed hold of my attention for several consecutive hours. As I watched, my childhood passions began to emerge from the depths. Each episode served to fan that flame of imagination and creativity with a bit more intensity, revealing what was truly important at my core.
Along our journey, we spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror or far out into the distance. Too often, we neglect to appreciate the here and now. Like, right now. As I write these words, I welcome the pleasure, the bliss, the inner peace, the quiet exhilaration that comes with sharing my thoughts through the written word. Like a carefully choreographed ballet in a ballroom, my thoughts dance between the words chosen on this page. This is me. This is who I am.
I have repressed this yearning in the name of conformity and societal obedience. However, it is in this form of self-expression that I come alive. And what the world needs more than anything is more people who have come alive.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. ~Henry David Thoreau
Nestled in the supportive limbs of a towering hardwood, this humble castle reminds me of a breeding place for ideas and daydreams from long ago. Suspended between the solid ground of the earth below and the limitless possibility of the sky above, it is symbolic of the transition between superficial glimpses of reality and our vision of what could be.
Find your personal sanctuary, your own secret fort. Whether you find it in a canopy of trees, on a lagoon in a kayak, or burrowed beneath a carefully arranged set of sheets and blankets, visit it often. Give yourself permission to rest and listen. Deeply. In the moments of silence between your thoughts, intuition speaks. Welcome the voice that whispers to you. Whether it presents itself through a tangible experience or a deeply entrenched gut feeling, embrace it. Allow your dream to take flight and build a foundation beneath it.