Last weekend I led a workshop on releasing the inner child near Atlanta, Georgia. It’s taken me a week to process all the yumminess and deliciousness from the fantastic souls who came out to play. I have found that within these 7 days, things from my own childhood crept up and visited. I have enjoyed the reminders and memories and tended to some of the desires that have come up. That’s the beauty of joining with others, exchanging stories, sharing ideas, and memories. It takes some time to process your own answers. Because, let’s face it, the little child in us is always needing attention. We have a habit of shutting it down and repressing the playtime because we are adults with responsibilities. Who has time to run off and get toys to play? The answer is…there is always time. You MUST make the time!
I gave a sheet with some simple questions asking about childhood. One question was, “What toy did you always want and never got?” Even though I came up with the list of questions, I didn’t answer them ahead of time. I sat with these sweet ladies to answer them for the first time as well. And, to hear all the magical answers as we went around the room, was delightful. I never got my Barbie Dream House. But, here’s the thing, I’ve spent a lifetime buying houses and decorating them as my dream house. There was something incredible about the answers to the questions and who these souls have become. Others talked about the Easy-Bake Oven and how cooking, now, is a form of joy. I had forgotten some of the most wonderful toys way back then. We traveled back in time with those answers. It was sweet and tender!
You don’t just let go of your inner child as you grow. That little girl or boy stays there accompanying the adult in you. If you don’t take time to play, laugh, and embrace the wondrous joys of childhood you will get lost in a maze of anger, resentment, and regrets. We have such a mystical source of magic available at all times: imagination. Our imagination creates, manifests, and transcends. We think only children have access to it. But, as adults we can create the most magnificent things with this form of consciousness. It’s only a thought away! Albert Einstein said,
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
In a workshop, class setting, or session, there is one thing that clients need: to be heard. We all want to know that we matter. That starts from the moment we are born. Each time you are given the chance to participate in a group setting, you have the magic wand to show and re-create love, acceptance and awareness. These ladies answered questions that they had forgotten from childhood. They revisited a place of joy and sometimes not so loving. They recognized things that went lost, some great disappointments and the ability to see their journey and how they got to where they are now. They’ve survived. They endured. They loved. They cried. They returned to a place of simple times. And, they are able to recognize that the little girl in them is still desiring things: places to travel to, adventures, toys, joy and so much more.
We have the ability to return to the past with one thought. We do not have to stay there. We also have the ability to move forward and enjoy this very moment. Thoughts transport us anywhere we want. Memories are time machines. We visit them through old songs, places, smells, taste, and words.
You don’t have to attend a workshop to entertain your inner child and play. You can do this every day, or every week, by allowing the little child in you to go on play dates. Make a point to take her or him to a park, a movie, a hike, pick rocks from a creek, walk barefoot in dirt, make mud-pies, go to a toy store, etc. Wear your cowboy hat, the tutus, the crowns and join the fairies and other imaginary friends. If you didn’t get your toy back then, perhaps it’s time you go find it now. Buy it, build it, make it happen and you will see a happy soul taking flight. Do not, for one minute, think that you are too old to play. Age has no limit.
I am the happiest when I am dirty in a creek collecting heart-shaped rocks. This simple act of play is a form of grounding and collecting joy. I don’t know what works for you. For me it’s being in nature. My mother didn’t allow me to get dirty. If she saw me in dirt I was immediately pulled out and sent to bathe. At nearly a half a century young, you better believe that I take advantage of dirt as much as possible. Now you…go do the things that make your heart skip a beat. Be in the moment. Embrace the child in you and love it the way you would your own child. Be gentle and caring and available to listen to the whispers and the secrets.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
**Note: To all the beautiful ladies who came out to play, I thank you for allowing me to enter your past and present. I love you!