“What did you love to do as a child?” I asked my Leo Sun husband. He instantly replied: go to Radio Shack and get the battery of the week, then figure out where to use it. He loved leatherwork (he and I both. I, too, enjoyed visiting the Tandy leather store). He also loved to take apart televisions. He majored in electrical engineering. Today he is a physicist.
What we loved as a child is what comes naturally to us. It speaks to WHO WE TRULY ARE.
You know, before you became indoctrinated with the “shoulds” about who you are supposed to be, or not be.
I was thinking about this as I was outside painting a trellis. I could smell French toast wafting through the air, from someone’s Sunday morning late breakfast. I loved French toast, as a child. I would make it often. The great thing about growing up poor is that we always had stale bread on hand! I enjoyed cooking …and creating. But it wasn’t just one thing, for me.
I was resourceful with what I had. I enjoyed starting small businesses, making art, playing dress up and boutique. I enjoyed packing off on adventures just down the road, to the neighborhood creek. I loved reading mystery novels, putting on dance recitals and plays for the adults, starting a summer school for neighborhood kids. A latchkey kid, I was often alone, and before technology, it was just me and my imagination. Boredom was another word for just not being interested – and I was.
It was having the options, to explore my imagination and curiosities, that I really dug.
This is something living in Hawaii has given me, that connection to that part of myself who enjoys meandering and learning, creating, discovering, and simply discovering stillness within. I’m more of a generalist than ever before- learning a little bit about this, a little of that, even if conditioning occasionally argues that I should focus on just one thing, which is what culture taught me.
As adults we look for a sense of purpose, meaning, mission. Then, seek experts to help us figure out why we don’t feel strongly or passionately about something “out there” but we do feel something “in here”, like a love for animals, or the pleasure we take in solving mystery novels. Maybe our quest has been off mark. As children, we did not need a reason for doing what we were drawn toward, naturally moved to do. We don’t question our different-ness from those around us till we are taught to do so.
We didn’t ask our self to justify our life, demanding PURPOSE and PASSION.
(can you see how the “New Age?” movement has its own conditioning to unravel?)
We didn’t demand specialization, getting good at just one thing and sticking with that.
(we were more like butterflies, as children. Engaged in exploring our environment.)
We didn’t have to prove our worth, that we deserved to exist, to be who we are as we are.
(way back, daily corporate life left me feeling I had to justify my very existence, monetarily)
We simply followed our curiosity, trusting that to lead us to everywhere we wanted to be.
In Follow the Moonlit Path, I asked the question: What do you like to do when no one else is looking? That is your True North, your key to centeredness, inner stability and contentment.
It may or may not appear to be the same thing as your calling but is intrinsic to it. Just as a tree cannot flower for the world without having a well-nourished hidden root system, everything we do that is “invisible” to the outer world, but nurtures our Soul within, supports all that we are. Reading, exploring, creating, engaging our fascination…fertilizer for a full, rich, flowering.
This pandemic time has been especially potent opportunity for reconnecting with what truly nourishes our Spirit(s). Disruption has a way of opening doors for new ways of being to surface and finally breathe. I’ve been giving myself more and more permission to be exactly where I am. To the tune of the go-go-go manic energy outside of me having necessarily slowed down, the neurotic voices that tell me I should be elsewhere quieted down, as well. I’m getting softer, more allowing towards myself. I’m indulging my love for stillness and solitude. I’m giving myself greater degrees of permission to do and receive the things I enjoy; I give to myself for no other reason than to experience myself receiving what I held out on, longed to receive, for so long.
I am lighter in Spirit. Yes, I’ve decided to LIGHTEN UP. I am not taking things so seriously nowadays, mostly in my inner work, but it is transforming everything, how I respond to my partner, his stressors. I’m not being so reactive. I’m lighter toward myself. It truly is a decision anyone can make — it is only a decision away!
I’m not complaining about what I don’t have, what’s not in front of me. I am not lamenting what I can no longer do. I relish what I’m being given. I am doing things I was too distracted to do when I had so many options, or others created distractions that kept me externally focused. This feels against the grain. Many do not feel this way (I also acknowledge that my health and resources have not been impacted; I speak only from and to this perspective.)
If you are having difficulty with the isolation of this period… spend a little time ruminating about what you loved as a child. There were so many good options then, as there are now, when you choose to see through these eyes. There is something to invent. Someone to become, in your imagination. New streets to explore. And oh, the limitations of childhood – scant resources, no way to get anywhere, and often no playmates- gave rise to creativity, and some of the happiest times many will ever know. That, and the suspension of forward moving time…the feeling that time is slow and drawn out… is something we all acutely felt as children. Yes, we have that now, too.
What did you love to do as a child? This week: can you give yourself permission to do a few of those things? Can you lighten up?
With very little worth paying attention to in mainstream culture, when you think about it, there’s no better time than this very prolonged pause to sink into the rich, moist fertilizer of your Soul and check out what’s been fermenting there while you’d been too busy to look…May you give yourself permission to explore and be the person you have most longed for: YOU.