Adults are surprised when what looks like meaningless scribbles turns into something as the kid describes wha’s going on in the picture. When very young kids draw, they cause the lines that causes something to appear. It is there to be found in the same way you found the fish in the drawing […]. And the water and the moon.*
L’essential est invisible pour les yeux. What’s essential is invisible to the eye.**
(The Fox in The Little Prince)
So much of what we do have is invisible to us; I’m especially thinking of what lies within us.
The invisible requires time and stillness, both of which feel like hard work:
Being present demands all of us. It’s not nothing. It may be the hardest thing in the world. […] It takes real work to grasp what is invisible to just about everyone else.*
These words from Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key means everything to me when it comes my work with people discovering the amazing things in who they are and what they can do, which may have been invisible or not valued by them.
Here’s the picture Lynda Barry is referring to, drawn by two year old Madison.
When Madison says,
This is a fish in the water. And another fish. And this is the moon,^
we can see them. We couldn’t before but now we can.
It’s the same in our lives. With some time and stillness we can do some causing and make the invisible visible, the first time see what it is, the second time to express it somehow.
Playfulness and drawing can help a lot with this. I often mention Johan Huizinga‘s point that seriousness and playfulness have been separated and need to be brought back together. Barry makes a similar point about words and drawing:
Before writing and drawing were separated they were conjoined.*
We drew pictures before we could write and when we learnt to write, it was first of all by drawing shapes.
Try playfully drawing and journaling to find out more.
(*From Lynda Barry’s Making Comics.)
(**From Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key; the fox to the Little Prince in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.)
(^Madison, quoted in Lynda Barry’s Making Comics.)