There is something quite amazing about listening to a small child laugh. It's so carefree, radiating happiness and joy. We all go through times when we crave opportunities to laugh like that on a regular basis. Yes it's true as an adult we have responsibilities and decisions to make but surely that doesn't mean we can't connect with our inner child? Does it??
What my nephews have taught me
Recently I have had some amazing moments spending time with my young nephews who are both 3 years old. Their zest for life is just so refreshing and their ability to connect with the world of make believe is nothing short of magical. When I'm with them I get to be that child again too, giggling, making funny noises, running around and basically completely letting my hair down and not worrying what anybody might think. So why don't I do this more often?? In fact, why don't we as a society do this more often. It's an amazing feeling.
We can all relate to previous experiences where we have released our inner child, dropping our shoulders and just living for the moment... The question is how often do we give ourselves permission to reconnect with that? Can we honestly recall how long ago it was since it last happened? Mmm a while ago perhaps? Connecting with our inner child enables us to tap into other resources, such as creativity, alternative perspectives, and a chance to just kick back and be more carefree. Imagination is a wonderful gift yet we don't always allow ourselves time to really let it wander and consider possibilities outside our normal routine. A quick and easy way to connect with creativity is by letting the mind wander. We all do this from time to time. However are we always so busy rushing from one thing to the next that sometimes we dismiss the benefits of it?
Go on try it now... Stand by a window or even better go outside. Look up at the sky and the clouds -- what can be seen? No, really what can be see when we allow the mind to wander? Fluffy white clouds, or if we really relax can we let the mind wander and create something different? Maybe the cloud resembles an animal, or a shape, or a person.
How did it feel to try that? I tried it too whilst writing this and it felt good. I surprised myself at how creative I can be when I just let it be. I feel relaxed, my breathing is calm and I felt my shoulders drop. I've also noticed I'm smiling too. Man it feels good.
Life through a different lens
Now imagine how more creative life could be like when we provide opportunities to connect with our inner child in other situations. Like when we're struggling over making a decision for work, or unsure of how to complete an activity at home. What would it be like to take on a child's perspective? To look at life through a different lens and just get curious about what's possible from this angle?
Everything in its place
I like things to be neat and tidy. Everything in its place. Then I know how to find everything and it makes me feel good. I guess there is an element of control attached to that and I'm ok with it. Well referring back to my nephews. They have quite a different take on "tidy." I know sitting here typing this I'm laughing -- literally out loud (hello -- connecting with my inner child again, fabulous work!) I felt compelled to want to tidy their toys up when I was with them, and as I did they just got something else and scattered the floor where I had just cleared it. Surprisingly I found myself relaxing and finding it funny.
I became one of them and started to copy them. It suddenly dawned on me that what could be the worst that could happen? In the eyes of the child it was fun to be surrounded by toys and having them all out provided choice and encouraged them and me to have to look around to seek for what they wanted and to go and grab it. Their curiosity intrigued me, when they couldn't work out how to use a certain toy, they tried again and again in different ways until it would work. With their car mat they zoomed their toys around every which way, not following the road but going across the countryside and parking on top of buildings. It brought space, and choice and freedom. All the values I love.
Another example is music. Children adore music. They have this ability to just lose themselves in music with boundless energy and really connect with the melody. They have no inhibitions and don't worry what anyone thinks as they sing and dance around. Totally present in the moment of joy and the acknowledgement that they are making those around them smile as they perform.
Alongside this they are free with their emotion, expressing exactly how they feel e.g., this is so much fun, I love this, this makes me sad, this makes me happy, etc.
What I do know is that spending time with my nephews has helped me reconnect with my inner child. I am more open to considering new perspectives and to letting my imagination run free. It's certainly served me well in the last week as I have tried out new ways of completing tasks and the chance to step back and get curious.
So I encourage us all to consider how we could tap into the child perspective more often. Perhaps there are decisions we need to make or tasks we need to complete that could welcome looking at it from a different lens? Perhaps it's time to turn on the radio and dance our little hearts out. Let's all try it -- what have we got to lose?
As for me, I can see a new cloud base coming over by the window so I'm off to check it out.