As I take a seat on a bench in front of Cinderella’s castle on a cool November evening, an instant feeling of tranquility and bliss begins to wash over me. I marvel at the glittering display of sparkling lights on the façade of the castle as I bite into a warm, freshly baked, caramel-coated apple.
After a few minutes of relishing the grandeur of this sight, I turn my attention towards my surroundings to soak in everything else around me – the sights, sounds and smells were like cherries added to the top of a delectable, sensory treat that I was relishing that evening.
I can hear the sounds of two toddler boys laughing as they chase each other during a game of tag. I see a little girl proudly prancing around like a peacock in her miniature Disney Princess regalia.
The soothing melodies of the songs that defined my childhood playing in the background, and the whiff of cinnamon flavored buns fresh from the ovens of a nearby bakery, all wrap me up in a warm blanket of comfort and serenity.
In my heart, I knew that this was a moment that I would always treasure and return to in my private thoughts. Although my visits to Disney parks has been a regular ritual for me and my family for many years, what I experienced that evening felt particularly special and sacred.
I felt connected to Walt Disney’s spirit and his intention in creating what he hoped would be the “the happiest place on Earth” – a place where dreams and innocence are celebrated, where a sense of wonder and curiosity are encouraged, and where wholesome fun and family traditions are the norm.
I think that the world is desperately in need of places like these. The pace of modern life has created a population of individuals who are tired, overworked, and constantly in a state of urgency and stress.
I believe that returning to a state of wholeness that is so characteristic of our childhood can not only heal these symptoms but also help us live richer and fuller lives.
When we came into this world, our minds were like blank slates, but after enduring many years of mental conditioning, we lost touch with the gifts of the pure consciousness that we were born with.
We may have received messages from parents, teachers, or whoever had an impact on our thinking, which made us believe that life is a serious affair that requires a cautious and predictable approach. Many people may have had genuinely difficult childhoods that demanded maturity at an early age.
This belief system is further supported when they face real-world challenges such as raising a family, maintaining a steady flow of income, or dealing with the general ups and downs of life. It confirms everything that they learned from the adults who raised them, and they begin accepting it as the truth.
What these people don’t realize is that having this kind of personal philosophy can lead to a cynical and jaded outlook on life. People who take life too seriously tend to have a zombie-like existence of going through the motions, unable to appreciate the rich colors and textures in the tapestry of life.
First of all, I think it’s very important to understand the difference between being “child-like” and “childish”. A “childish” behavior pattern is demonstrated by an unwillingness to face reality and take responsibility for one’s actions. A “child-like” disposition, on the other hand, is demonstrated by a display of all the positive attributes, retained from childhood, such as openness, curiosity and play.
I think it’s extremely beneficial for us to get in touch with these “child-like” sensibilities, because it can not only add more joy to our lives, but also give us an empowering outlook that can push us to dream big and to chase those dreams.
Over the years, I have developed several rituals and activities that give me plenty of opportunities to bring out my inner kid, such as scheduling play-time with my niece and nephew, watching animated movies, and playing board games with friends.
I encourage you to do the same. I have provided some guidelines and life lessons to help you identify the activities that you would most resonate with:
- Always be open to learning something new: Many people delude themselves into thinking that they know it all or that formal learning stopped when their academic life ended. But one of the best ways to grow and also broaden our horizons is by keeping our minds stimulated with new learning. Whether it’s related to a current hobby/career or something entirely different such as learning a new language or engaging in the arts, the objective is to bring you back to the beginner’s mindset.
- Make “play” a priority in your life: When I say “play”, I mean any activity that takes you to place of true joy and genuine contentment. Most people associate “play” with hobbies related to the arts or sport, which can either be enjoyed alone or with other people. Create your own list of activities that you consider “play” and schedule non-negotiable “play-times” during your week.
- Maintain a sense of wonder at all times: Children are a lot easier to impress than adults because they see everything from a place of wonder. Painful and tough experiences may have blocked our hearts, preventing us from appreciating the vibrancy and beauty of life. We need to re-open our heart space to re-create that sense of “wow” that felt magical to you as a child.
- Stay hopeful and be open to possibilities: Children wish upon stars because they intuitively know that if they truly believe in their dreams, a universal force will back them up when they take the steps to make it happen. As adults, we need to tap into that child-like hope whenever we are ready to take a leap of faith in any area of our life, while staying open to whatever guidance and messages we receive as we try to find our way.
Ultimately, getting in touch with our inner child will help us return to that original state of consciousness that we were all born with by letting go of our limiting beliefs and social masks.
We can then begin to tap into that pure state of being that is filled with immense peace, love and boundless possibilities.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: Have you been in touch with your inner child? If not, which personal beliefs prevented you from doing so? What can you do to begin changing them?
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