"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. 
In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to 
sing to us while we are still in darkness. If we listen to 
their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves."

Rabindranth Tagore

Existential Intelligence is the sensitivity and capacity to engage questions about human existence – how we got here, whether we have a purpose, and whether there is meaning in Life. Existential intelligence embraces the exploration of aesthetics, philosophy, religion and values like beauty, truth, and goodness. A strong existential intelligence allows human beings to see their place in the big picture, be it in the classroom, community, world, or universe.

First proposed by Howard Gardner, existential intelligence is one of nine theorized intelligences and is considered to be amoral – that is, it and the other eight categories of human intelligence can be used either constructively or destructively.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bring Out Your Eight Year Old

The other evening I visited with friends after a long day working my stand at the Festival of Quilts, held every August in Birmingham, England. We were enjoying a little relaxation on the patio of our inn.

I’ve brought my snap together hula hoop along on this trip. I’m going to spend five weeks on the road and knew I’d need something to supplement my yoga practice. Got to keep that blood going or the body rebels. Hooping is great fun – you can dance by yourself any time you want to. The snap together hoop is an invention rivaling sliced bread! Easy to put together, lightweight and portable. Crank up the music and you’re good to go.

Sharing the hoop seemed like a great idea. The evening breeze was perfect; the sun was dipping low on the horizon and the folks enjoying their drinks laughed easily and often.

So I was surprised at the response the hula hoop provoked. Only two friends jumped at the opportunity to try it out. The rest held back as though I’d tried to pass them a loaded pistol. Hmmm.

Eventually almost everyone hooped for at least a couple of minutes, laughing and game about the new experience. Few of us are good at something the first time we try it out. It’s taken me five months to hoop consistently and I’m still not that great at it.

How is hooping related to creativity? It’s the realization I had after the evening ended. If we’d been a bunch of eight year olds, we would have clamored for our chance at the hoop! It’s the bugaboo maturity thing. Are we afraid we’ll look foolish? Do we doubt our abilities now - when once upon a time we believed we could do anything? Christine Northrup observed that seven year-old girls rule the world – at least in their own minds. But then adolescence begins, and self-confidence takes a tumble.

So now I am observing my own reactions to the new experiences of being in unfamiliar surroundings. Nothing like a five-week road trip to challenge your perceived sense of self.

I am determined to bring out my eight year old as often as I can on this trip – confidently embracing any opportunity to learn something new or imagine an approach to my art work I hadn’t thought of before. It’s a good creative strategy. Probably a good Life strategy too.


  1. My spirit guides have been encouraging me to hula hoop for a while now. They tell me it opens the second chakra, which is tied to creativity. They also tell me the world is very in need of this energy right now, too. The synchronicity of what we are all doing fascinates me--that you and I are inspired to hula hoop (something I never did, even as an 8 year old) in different places but at the same time!

  2. I love my hula hoop, use it frequently and best of all it really impresses the grand kids!

  3. As the mother of an eight-year-old girl (herself an avid hula hooper), this post resonates in many ways!

  4. Hurrah for the 8 year old in all of us!

  5. A very similar situation: invite friends over for a pool party. Kids run and jump in, shouting and laughing all the way; adults rarely even bring a swimsuit.
    I'm most grateful to the person who reintroduced me both to my hula hoop AND my 8 year old self.

    Enjoy your time away!

  6. at a retreat recently, out of about 16 women, 4 of us went swimming as the cottage is so close to the ocean. we bobbed about and talked and laughed. two new members wandered down to the shoreline the first day in tee shirts and shorts and did not get in . we 4 "mermaidens" continued to encourage them to jump in and swim even if no suits were available and that at our age swimming in shorts and tee shirts is just fine and it is really none of our business what other people think... the second day we were joined by the gals and even if one said she could not swim, we all tread ed water and washed up on the sandy shore and laughed often and loud.at least they didn't get as sunburned as we did !
    i never knew hula hoop came that way! i learn something everyday i am available to my 8 year old self! at that very retreat years ago i found an abandoned hula hoop , bent and out of round and brought it home as a base for making a large wreath at holiday time... life is too mysterious to take too serious little Sonja told me!

  7. Taking a break is refreshing! We've had the grand-daughters (ages 10 & 12) every day this week, and we've enjoyed them, though they've tired us out. They left at 12:30 today and we've had the rest of the day to refresh. All week I've not worked in my studio, this afternoon I finished reading a novel. During the week I played with my lovely girls. Tomorrow I'm eager to begin right after visiting the Farmers' Market, and I feel good. Seeing the world through a ten-year-old's eyes is so broadening. I'm usually one of those who is timid and doesn't leap into the pool, I'll try to stretch a little more. Thank you all for sharing your experiences, they're refreshing!

  8. I went to a party about 3 years ago. This party was at my son & daughter-in-law's house, so you can see the generational spread. I did do the hula hoop and what fun. It does make you younger and divests a person of all their vanity. You just can't be good at hula hooping after 45 years! But it was fun.
    Didn't know "they" had made a take apart one. I will look on line. Great way to reconnect to the "inner child".

  9. Jane, you are an inspiration to us all!

  10. hoola hooping is like singing ... not everyone will join in... and trying to get someone else to start the happy birthday isn't always easy... i think we americans are too self conscious ... the swimming example is so true! but i am going to look for a hoola hoop... my back isn't great but i'll give it a try..maybe thats what i need.... love the second chakra connection!