“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Children are able to see and hear things adults usually cannot. They see beauty, love, and have a zest for life that so many of us lose as we get older. This picture was taken a week ago in our backyard. The statue my daughter is holding has been there for years: it was my Grandmother’s whose house we were able to keep once she passed about two years ago. I honestly have not even noticed the statue until last week. I am in adult mode: rushing to get things finished, forgetting my keys in the house and literally bartering with my two year old to come back inside to grab the car keys, thinking about the to-do list in my mind, which I have not only written down but thought about multiple times since the night before, and like many adults worrying and thinking so much that I no longer enjoy or appreciate the things I did as a child. Kayci finds beauty in everything: leaves, water, flowers, birds, even little stickers and band aids. My biggest wish for my daughter is to never lose her inner child and loves herself and sees the beauty in the little things as she does now.
The wisest people I have ever known are children and the elderly. When I was a Social Worker I worked mostly with the elderly who were either close to dying or too sick to leave our facility. My favorite part about my job was counseling and leading group therapy sessions with my patients. So many of my patients would tell me: “Jessica, if I could go back in time I would have not taken so much for granted and been so serious. I wish I had not led my life in constant worry and just enjoyed life. I missed out on so many things because what I thought was important at the time, I now see really meant nothing.” I do not want to come to the end of my life and have to say this, although finding my inner child and learning that all my worries and what I think to be important truly just take away my joy is very difficult. However, it can be done.
I have written this before but it is a great reminder. When babies are born, they breathe with their bellies allowing eighty percent more Oxygen into the lungs and cells. When I lay with Kayci, she breathes just like that: calm, slow, belly breaths. How are you breathing right now? My guess is that like most adults you are breathing with your chest: not even close to the amount of Oxygen you once were accustomed to receiving. At the end of my yoga practices in the morning I lay in corpse pose and focus on deep belly breaths. It sounds crazy but learning to consistently breathe with your belly is quite difficult. You are re-wiring your mind and body to re-learn how to breathe properly. My guess is that most of us begin breathing with our chests once we hit thirteen or so. One of the biggest teachings on how to manage chronic pain and stress is to start using our belly to breathe again: probably one of the hardest tools I try and use. How crazy is that? Breathing should come naturally, it is not something we should have to be cognizant about: however it is something we literally have to go back to our inner child to find.
Go back to when you were a child and think about what you enjoyed doing the most. I loved music, dancing, make believe, swinging on the playground, decorating my house with holiday decorations, being outside, and going on bike rides with my dad. At what point in time did we stop enjoying the things our inner child loved doing? What could be so important in our lives that takes away our joy and happiness. Most of my readers have chronic pain, which can clearly take away close to all of our joy and happiness. It is important for everyone, including anyone with chronic pain to nurture and bring back our inner child. As I wrote: the wisest, happiest (for the most part) people I have met are children and the elderly. Well, that is just a small portion of our lifetime: we need to start taking care of our inner child. Kayci helps me with that as even when I am having a “difficult day” or stressed to the max, a song comes on in our car and she says: “Mommy sing” I sing. Try and do something this weekend that brings back your inner child. It could be the most powerful thing you have done in years. It is okay to be silly, and act like a child: quite healthy in fact.