Choose Your Happy

"The Tree House" is an exquisite visual read sparking the imagination with the turn of every page - a place to congregate and make friends with curious four-legged and flying creatures from around the globe."  A beautiful read for children both young and old.

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul - Simone Wei
— Taken from Camilla Gibb's memoir - "This Is Happy"

I am one of those children who was never read to. I grew up surrounded by two parents and four other siblings and no memory of being read to nor do I recall teaching my two younger brothers to read. One might assume reading, and the pleasure of reading together, would naturally ocurr to a child like me, born into and blessed with a large family.

Reading, like learning to speak, seems natural enough but there are adults who never open their mouths to say what is on their minds - not ever! We know how to speak and how to use language because it just naturally happened as a developmental stage in childhood. So, why are so many adults stifled and fearful and guarded when offering their opinions? Even attempting to raise an opinion or speak out causes problems where boundaries are needed or limits reaches and silence reigns, in place of self-expression. Some are forever shut down by others and simply give up using their voice because of the old adage - ‘What’s the use?”

As we grow into adulthood if joys of childhood, like reading, are not rooted in us then tragically we lose, miss out on, and give up on the possibility of knowing the joy of reading. We fear new experiences and we silently control our worlds to stay familiar, living out our lives never yearning to learn or try anything new. The fear of failure or thoughts drowning in negativity of - ‘it’s too late to learn’ or ‘to re-do a time lost is a waste of time’ or ‘it will take me too long to learn, now, at my age’. We are trapped inside a bubble of unhappy bitter loneliness. Sadly, we live out our days never bursting that imagined bubble and giving ourselves a chance at doing what makes us happy. We truly are only larger versions of our childish self with adult needs - one of which is the joy of reading.

I have a habit of always going back to the beginning or the origin of what was lost or missed or not learned and as a result I began reading children’s picture books many moons ago after completing, Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way. (Three times)

Julia asks us to embrace our inner artist child and to travel back in time to rediscover our joys, our loves, and our interests. I admit, at first, I felt foolish and the feeling of childishness thickened as my inner critic tried to stop me, but then the joy came! Once I let go of the negative chatter in my head I let myself be read to, with picture books. I took my inner child to the library (Julia Cameron asks you to take yourself out on an “artist’s date” each week) sat on the floor, in the children’s section, and let my fingers touch the spines of the books filed alphabetically inside the boxed slots. With head slanted sharply to my right reading all the titles in the “A’s” before inching across the carpeted floor to “B’s and C’s”, and so on, until I picked out so much joy from the shelves I had to race home and read to my inner child before dinnertime.

Children’s story books bring me a joy I never could have imagined. Something else I learned, very late in life, is that I learn visually first with auditory learning as a close second and the written word last, which solidifies all learning methods (for me). My ability to visually take something apart and re-create it was only realized when I allowed art into my life. Thus the reason I love children’s stories and picture books today. Children’s books can be a huge inspiration for visuals in art or they can just be the healer to my inner-child artist. I get to choose "my happy" whenever I dare myself, as an adult, to do something to make my "inner-artist child" read!