Today’s story is about accessing the kid in us—the one who keeps us honest, and we know the truth shall set us free if we would only give it a chance. Many years ago I had a deep yearning for something but I didn’t quite know what it was. I knew there was a lack in my life but couldn’t figure it out because on the outside I was doing all the “right” things.
It was not tangible. I had a felt sense that it had to do with what I was like when I was very little. It was an energy inside me that was unencumbered and free. I remembered the summers when I was a small child and could hardly wait to play outside because of the new discoveries I found every day in the field just beyond the apartment building where I grew up.
I would lie back in the tall grasses looking up at the sky and be totally mesmerized. I loved watching the cloud formations turning from prehistoric animals into human faces and angels with billowy wings. Or I’d turn my attention to the ground and be very quiet and still in order to watch the praying mantises. I really thought they were praying!
Or I’d skip past my best friend Suki’s house to the creek and watch the tadpoles and baby frogs. I’d make up stories and write songs and sing them to my pretend friends, and sometimes real friends, and it was the quality of this time that I was missing so fervently in my life as an adult. It was like an ancient dream had died with growing up. Where did my innocence, spontaneity, and favourite pastime—daydreaming, go?
Of course, it got replaced with schedules and responsibilities and “important things”. But what can be more important than play, than leisure time, and stopping long enough to experience and appreciate what’s actually in front of us in each moment? I realized that I had conformed and bought into society’s expectations of me and in doing so pretty much lost my playful, fun-loving inner child who cracks me up when I let her.
Back then I came up with an idea and approached my friend Janice, who I believed would help me. If I was having so much pain around the lack of spontaneity, joy, creativity and fun in my life, there must be others just like me also wishing to find a way to bring it back. Sure enough, she loved my idea and we went about creating Re-awaken Your Sleeping Child, a play shop for adults. I was right. There was indeed a big need for it. People kept signing up. It was a definite hit!
I don’t believe that need has changed. Perhaps there’s an even bigger need than ever with so many of us stretched to the limit every day with those important to-dos which all but eliminate leisure and play. I know this need in me has never waned. Do I always give myself time to kick back and have fun? Embarrassingly the answer is “no”. If I did, I guess it wouldn’t be a need. But my motto is: if you fall down, you get up. So, this is one of those times I’m acknowledging my need to play is on the FRONT burner.
In last week’s Sunday Afternoon Sacred Writing Circle, I wrote about tossing in the towel of responsibility and hangin’ loose. It was a very passionate piece that even had me surprised. It bought me relief and freedom and that truth set me free. Last night, in the dark winter cold and blustery winds, I threw on my warm winter jacket, hat and mitts and set out to experience the exuberance of a wild sea. Fully inspired, I continued walking around the neighbourhood enjoying the holiday flavour of houses alight with Santas and reindeer, or peering in windows to see the lit up Christmas trees, tinsel and bobbles.
Then I remembered how fabulous the magical coloured lights and ornaments that line Government Street are so I marched right downtown to see them up close, returning home some two hours later, feeling exhilarated. My little kid thought she had died and gone to heaven. Why would that be with something so simple? Because I just don’t let her have her way when it’s cold and dark all that often. I clearly need to renegotiate the hierarchy of decision-making. There’s no question she has much more sense than I do! And it takes so little to please her.
I had simply said “Yes!” instead of, “No, it’s too cold. It’s dark. You’re tired. Watch a movie, go to bed early.” Instead, I listened to the kid in me who wasn’t tired at all. She was ready for adventure and it turned into a magical night of simple, easy fun.
Are you ready to listen to the inner promptings of your inner child? I invite you to take a one-minute break right now. Be still and listen. What is he or she asking for? This is the voice of your innocence, creativity, spontaneity, and intuition, the one who will never steer us wrong. I’m re-committing to letting this voice steer my ship from now on. I only know this: when I let go of control, when I listen and am led, I am moving with the flow of The Universe. And what could be better than that?
Mind Mapping with Flare: Gather a bunch of coloured markers and create a mind-map. Give it this title: “Things the Child in Me Loves to Do.” In the middle of the page, draw a circle and write the name you were called when you were a child. Then start creating spokes off that circle of all the things that little kid loves to do or used to but hasn’t for a very long time. Make it colourful. Have fun! When you’re finished, tape it to your fridge like you do for kids’ drawings. This one’s yours and should be front and centre where you can see it often. Then, choose one of those things each week and just do it. You can say, “Little Junie said so.”
After you have gone on your first play date (which could also include a bubble bath, candles and soft music), use this prompt: “I feel—choose one of the following adjectives or better yet, name your own—alive, elated, fantastic, happy, at peace, mellow, rejuvenated—now that I…” Be sure to show all the sensual details of your experience. The first rule of writing is to show us, don’t tell us.
Please scroll down and write a comment. Tell us what you did and give us ideas we can add to our own!
You can always head over to Junie’s Writing Sanctuary and share your stories there too. You will inspire us all! Thank you.