“Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” – Walt Disney
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” – George Bernard Shaw
“If you open your heart and become like a child, you will always be blissful, always content.” – Dharma Mittra
Do you remember long before COVID19, those days when coworkers would have lunches together in work kitchen, those beautiful days when you would have water cooler catch-up meetings, those beautiful days when you would go out for coffee or lunches with coworkers. I miss those days!
Recently, I was reminiscing about those days, I remembered we were having lunch at Work, when we started to talk about childhood memories.
“As a child, I loved nothing better than spending time outside. Riding bikes, cloud watching, playing ball and playing in the pool are some of the things my sister and I enjoyed,” Mary (not her real name), said with excitement.
“But my favorite thing to do was when I played with bubbles, “ Mary smiled, you could see her childlike soul start to shine.
“Even NOW as an adult I still love to play with bubbles, I am a big kid at heart and I want to have fun.”
“Did you play with bubbles when you were growing up?“ She asked.
There was a pause from the rest of us, then I answered,”I didn’t grow up playing with bubbles, but as an adult I have played with bubbles a lot. I have played with my kids, in Sunday School as a teacher and also as a caregiver for persons with disabilities, me too love playing with them.”
“There is something that awakens my child like spirit when I play with bubbles, “ again she shone. As we transitioned to other childhood memories there was a feeling in me that felt that we all (adults included) should never grow up from being child like.
Oh,don’t take me wrong, nothing is wrong with being an adult. But nothing is wrong either with being child-like again. Allowing the child in us to resurface occasionally, can be a great way to live. Children see the world exactly the way it is: full of wonder, full of magic. Adults tend to stick to routines and “normalcy” and are more interested in the “should”.
Now many months from that day, I am still reminiscing about childhood. My biggest question for me today as think I about childhood memories is, who am I? Yes, yes who am I besides the many layers of being an adult?
I picture my childhood self, hoping to reconnect with my true nature. As I awakens the small boy in my heart, my inner child reminds me who he is.
I am that boy born in a very small village in Central Kenya, that boy who plays for the sake of playing. My imagination soars, creativity bursting. There’s no fear. No thought of any time wasted and no need to be productive. In my imagination I am playing however I want and in my imagination, the whole world melts away.
In my imagination, I am the one who eagerly bounces out of bed every morning, heart full of excitement for the brand new day. Energy buzzing through my veins, I’m pure spirit in a small body. I’m pure love for life, expressed through my hobbies – art, ballet, piano, running, reading…
And of course, play.
I am the one who loves running through the grass, lungs bursting with fresh air, free as a bird. I love my body. I love the joy of moving my body, savoring this physical experience on earth.
Sounds like fun? That is all of us, when we look back, most of us had moments in our childhood that created joy.
And even now, although we may now be adult, there is also a little boy in us, a little girl in us, who longs to be free again.
Imagine bubbling over with excited anticipation rather than sinking under a million worries. Delighting in all that you’ve said and done instead of over-analysing every detail. Swapping the worry of what the day might bring to rushing out in your pyjamas to welcome it in.
You know, we can learn so much from our tiny rays of sunshine.The child inside you is not only wise, but very knowledgeable about who you truly are, and what you need in your life to grow and thrive.
One thing: learning to work with your inner child isn’t about becoming childish again, it is about reconnecting with your childLIKE side.
In other words, there is a big difference between being childish and childlike.
Being childish can be thought of as behaving in an immature or naive way. Being childlike on the other hand can be thought of as a state of purity and innocence.
We all have the capacity to experience our original innocence; that period in our lives when we saw the world with openness and wonder.
For a moment, I want to ask you to centre yourself for a mindfulness and think about some of the positive qualities of child like that we want to remember even as we grow older:
- Joy and Wonder – kids have an amazing sense of fun, adventure and excitement. As we grow older, we can easily lose this and become increasingly negative and cynical about life.
- Receptive and Open – kids are teachable and eager to learn. As we grow older, we can become less teachable and more resistant to change.
- Emotionally Honest –kids express their feelings fairly quickly and unselfconsciously. As we grow older we can tend to freeze up more and hold in our real feelings.
- Simple Trust – kids’ natural tendency is to trust others without analysing and questioning everything. As we grow older we can tend to develop a fair amount of (inappropriate) suspicion and fear.
- An Adventurous Spirit – kids love action-orientated activities, even if they are dangerous at times. As we grow older we can tend to play it safe more and choose to avoid risk (staying in our comfort zones).
- Freedom to be themselves – kids are very real with few inhibitions. As we grow older we can tend to wear masks and play the game of what we think others want us to be.
We all need to regain some of our childlikeness! After all, the world doesn’t need more negative, cynical, closed off, fake, suspicious and risk-averse people who take life too seriously!
Most of all – don’t forget to play. Honour your inner child. What does he or she do for fun? What do they love? find out! And when you do celebrate and know you are forever a child inside and when you play, laugh and love you do so with all the other children at once! At Rise and Shine we honour the inner child and most who visit get to meet an reunite.
In my future blogs, I would like to continue to talk about this topic, I would like to explore how we can remove the guilt, shame, fear, hatred, and anger that we carry within us, how we can heal the child within.
Thanks for listening to my thoughts🙏