Your Truest Most Genuine Self

You can find inspiration in the most unsuspecting places. This month I transcribed for you a closing thought from a podcast host for a home improvement show. When I first heard this, it was exactly what I needed to hear to help get me back to a “beginner’s mind” approach to life. I’ve listened to it several times, and now that I typed it out, I can read through it anytime to get me back on track and out of any ruts I find myself in.

The following is from the July 7th episode of the “‘Home’ with Dean Sharp - the house whisperer” podcast. Enjoy!

“ Somebody asked me this week, “How is it that you are working so hard and yet having so much fun?” which is a great question. The secret is that I am a big kid and every day I spend absolutely as much time as possible utterly captivated by wonder and playing as hard as I can. And that may seem a little irresponsible, but it’s not.

Play and wonder have nothing to do with responsibility. They are simply an attitude by which you approach life. A wise person once said the end of childhood is when things cease to astonish us. When the world seems familiar, when one has gotten used to existence, one has become an adult so, clearly, I have not reached that point. And I hope I never will.

My truest, most genuine self is a child consumed with insatiable wonder and fascinated with virtually everything and everyone he encounters. And of course there was a time when I wasn’t my truest most genuine self.

There was a time I was far more insecure and sought the approval of very grown-up, very old, reverent, and respectable people. Luckily for me I never got their approval but because I wanted it so bad there was a time when my own sense of spirituality had become too abstract, too esoteric, too locked down, and not at all genuine. Now I know, if you become too holy, or too wise, or too mature to play, you’re headed in the wrong direction.

Wonder and play are the fountain of youth and the doors to the kingdom of heaven that can only be opened by a child. So at some point I’d have enough and finally realized I had to be the real me no matter what—whether it meant I was a sinner or a saint, hero or heretic. I had to put on my own face and be okay with just being genuinely Dean.

And there is a great thinker and civil rights activist Howard Thurman who once said, “There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in your self. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”

I listen for the sound of the genuine in me, and I discovered that deep inside my truest and most genuine self is just a kid on a trampoline. And even though I began my life in somebody else's story, my only real ambition now in life is to finish it in my own, and my story is a children's book.

I've read Dostoyevsky. I prefer Dr. Seuss because it was Dr. Seuss who said adults are obsolete children.

Jim Henson said, “The most sophisticated people I know—inside they are all children.” 

R.C. Ferguson said, “A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it.”

And George Bernard Shaw said, “We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

And C.S. Lewis said, “Someday you may be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”

For me a child will always hold rank over a theologian because as they say you will always find more happiness growing down than growing up. So here is me, heading out the door to go play, encouraging you to find your genuine self as well.

The genuine you is this truest guide you will ever have, and who knows, maybe you find a kid on a trampoline. And maybe instead of telling that kid what to do, maybe today is the day you let that kid teach you how to build yourself a beautiful life. ”

Remember to keep a sense of play and wonder in your life. :-)