I laid on the floor next to my five-month-old son, observing him as he pushed around a little green funnel. He would be the last of my three beautiful boys – I resolved. At that time, I was going through a very difficult stage in my relationship. Feeling alone and worried for the future, I directed my mind to remain still long enough to soak in the absolute cuteness of that moment. The funnel though. That puzzled me.
My little one, unable to crawl yet, rocked back and forth, propelling himself forward just far enough to reach the boring plastic kitchen utensil. The funnel, of course, was having nothing of it – rolling away a few inches every time Mateo got his fingers on the tip. I looked around at the assortment of baby toys shining, scrunching, noisemaking in pure baby heaven color. He couldn’t care less about any of them. He’d been obsessed with this green funnel for the last couple of weeks and showed no signs of losing interest any time soon. He had first got his hands on it when it fell off the kitchen counter. When I tried picking it up to get on with my cooking, he cried hysterically until I returned it to him. From that time on, the kitchen funnel became a permanent fixture on his activity mat. What about this funnel beat the shiny, noisy, fuzzy “age-appropriate” toys I wondered? Then it dawned on me.
Over the last two weeks, Mateo had made literal leaps and bounds in terms of movement. He had gone from laying on his tummy touching everything within reach to rocking, scooting, and near crawling all while obsessed with this one green funnel! Did Mateo know that chasing the utensil was leading to such quick development in his motor skills? No. He just loved the darn thing!
Now this got me thinking. Once an avid hiker, I’ve long held the belief that the fundamental mechanisms or laws of nature replicate themselves over and over from the seemingly simple to the complex mysteries of the world we live in. If you have a question about the whole, you need only to observe the part. I thought about “obsessions” in life generally, and yes – in my life too. These intrigues that we ourselves or others may not quite understand. Specific passions in art, writing, science, woodworking, gardening, engineering, philosophical subject matter, or relationships themselves. I thought about the often long, winding, and lonely paths we venture in pursuit of our seemingly “oddball” passions.
Artists in the first half of the 1900s, probably wondered whether Henri Matisse had lost his mind when he departed from the traditional canvas painting obsessed with “cut-outs” that he would often pair with other materials such as charcoal to hang directly on the museum wall. Weird as it may have seemed at the time, he expanded the art world in a whole different direction – a direction which opens the door for other artists to further that particular expansion in any number of ways.
When you genuinely love someone, be it for life or just for a moment, that love results in growth. Love stretches you in ways that you would likely never have pursued without the object of your affection. This is what following your passion does. It allows for the continued growth of the individual, the individual’s immediate environment, the larger world, and the universe as a whole. This is what I learned from my son and his love for a little green kitchen funnel. Following your bliss is the fundamental mechanism of growth needed for the continued recreation and expansion of the individual and the whole.