I was that child who never pulled a leg off a grasshopper or a wing off a bee. I never burned an ant with a magnifying glass or kicked a dog for barking. I was that kid who named our plants and urged them to grow. I named our cars, too, and was furious with my dad when he sold one of our sedans without letting me say good-bye. I was that child who talked to the people in the paintings, and they talked back.  And the kid who knelt backwards in the backseat of the car chatting with the moon, whom I called Moonie. He was my friend. I knew that because he followed me everywhere.

I was that child who cried at night because children were starving in Ethiopia, while we had a grain surplus in America. And the kid who’d ask some elderly person what it was like when he was young. I waved at people in passing cars like I’d known them my whole life.

I had sleepovers with my guardian angels, and Jesus was that friend to whom I could tell all my secrets. Mother Mary was my second mother. And God? Well, God sent his Holy Spirit to fill me up in the confessional, so I wasn’t afraid. God had my back, even when bad things happened. And he had everyone else’s back, too, whether they were Jews or Muslims or Buddhists, as long as they were “good people.” It was that simple.

It’s not hard to be one with everything when you’re a child. It’s not hard to see how it all fits together: humanity, nature, science, art, religion, the cosmos. It’s not difficult to believe in the divine or in magic or in imagination. And then we grow up and have to “work” at being one with everything. We have to read books on the subject and attend lectures. We lose faith in everything, even ourselves. We no longer believe that anything is possible and that everything is relevant. We question it all.

But deep inside us dwells that child, the one who believes with all her heart we are capable of great things, and everything we create—if it’s created for good—is important and deserving.

That ability to believe is not something we need to “develop,” it’s something already inside us. We just need to feel into it once again and know without doubt that being one with the universe is as easy as seeing everything and everyone as your equal. Only then can you be truly open to anything. And with openness will come your very best art.

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Also published on Medium.