I had a dream about a week ago, in which a unicorn spoke to me. So, that’s my unfluffy cred spoiled for ever, but hey ho. It was a good sort of dream and I am not averse to unicorns. It said that the whole maiden and unicorn thing was a misunderstanding. It wasn’t about virginity, it was about innocence, and that’s something we make, and can reclaim. Innocence is not something you inevitably have to lose, or lose forever.
Part of the problem is that we muddle the concept of innocence up with ignorance and inexperience, as though all three words are interchangeable. They aren’t. Innocence is about not choosing to internalise all of the things that experience and knowledge bring. It is a deliberate dedication to not becoming cynical, jaded, and narrow.
I’ve put this blog in the ‘magical’ bit of the listings, because for me, a deliberate decision that informs your choices, perceptions, emotions and prospects, is without a doubt an act of magic. To choose innocence of soul is a magical act, and allows us to deal with the world in entirely different ways.
I met a girl, years ago, who had been kidnapped and abused as a child. She’d survived, and somehow, against all the odds, it hadn’t stuck to her. She had a sweetness of self, an ability to trust, and an open heart. In the face of horrendous experience, she had chosen, and kept in tact, her innocence.
We can decide that what happens to us, is who we are. I’ve been along the edges of that one, feeling worthless because I was treated as worthless, feeling defiled because of what had been done to me. I do not have to take anything into myself, I do not have to become the consequences of any particular experiences. I can choose. I can pick to be the consequence of open skies and good friendships, to be shaped by dancing barefoot on the ground, and laughing, and playing. It is a choice, and one that I cannot claim has been easy, or that I’ve always managed, but not letting the shit get in is a powerful thing.
When pain, loss and betrayal cut us down, it is so easy to start imagining all the world is made of hurt and there will only be evil. The more self protective I’ve been, the more remote I’ve been from the good stuff, from the nurturing, soulful, healing stuff. To let the good stuff in requires a degree of vulnerability, it isn’t without risk. That same vulnerability allows you to fall in love, wholly and unconditionally. Not just with people, but with cloud formations, the sound of flowing water, orchids in a meadow, owls calling, and all manner of other things. When you can, not just love that which is beautiful and around you, but keep on actively falling in love with it, being blown away and left gasping, being reduced to tears of awe and wonder, then that sense of mystery is ever present. There is an absolute sense of the magical, or possibility, and the numinous.
Innocence is the choice that enables us, perhaps not literally to see unicorns, but to stand a chance of not disbelieving one into invisibility if it did show up.