Living in Neverland

This past week I had the joyful experience of seeing the show Finding Neverland as part of the Playhouse Square Broadway series. In so many ways, it was just what the doctor ordered. With the election and the aftermath thereof, I was troubled and challenged with the negative energy that permeates our nation. I didn’t know anything about the show, but I told a friend that I was hopeful that the show was bright and uplifting. It most certainly was, and it was also filled with interesting life lessons and shifts.

Finding Neverland is the story about the story of Peter Pan. In fact, J.M Barrie, the author of the book Peter and Wendy, is the main character in the play. And “play” is the central theme. As you probably already know, Peter Pan is the story of a little boy who never grew up. What the play highlights more importantly is that everyone of us has a little boy or little girl inside us yearning to come out and play.

The play suggests that Neverland is a place that I have to go to in my imagination, but I see it differently. Neverland is a place inside of me where I can always be young, playful, curious and joyful. It’s the place where my little boy or your little girl experiences life as a playground.

Throughout the play I would cringe when I heard the adults say the things that we’ve all heard throughout our lives. Phrases that remind us that being playful is a bad thing and that we have to “grow up.” Finding Neverland also talks about our shadows and how we must have our shadows in order to experience the light. When you peel back the curtain, Finding Neverland is a much deeper story about little boys and little girls and how they grow up as adults.

There’s one particularly touching scene where James Barrie is honoring the character in the play named Peter (a young boy who had grown up too fast after the death of his father and had lost touch with his little boy). James Barrie says that Peter is Peter Pan, but the character Peter responds by pointing at James Barrie and saying “no, you are” – because James Barrie’s character had discovered and unleashed his little boy. This moment brought tears to my eyes.

Growing up physically is a reality of life. Whether you grow up mentally and emotionally depends on your circumstances and life choices. Growing up and leaving your little boy or little girl behind is a choice. I choose my little boy. I choose to live in Neverland. I hope you’ll come out and play with me.

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