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The Way to Start Feeling Again; the Way to Start Living Again...






 

STEP TWO: Find The Child Within:

One Session of Practicing the Lost Art of Your Childhood



Who we are in the present includes who we were in the past


—Fred Rogers

 

 



In the development of humans, there are various stages and cycles of development. When a child grows up, he is not meant to stop being a child; instead, he is offered the opportunity to add adult qualities, skills and traits that would make him more mature, developed and well-rounded. This is what should happen in every child’s life, and all humans are naturally drawn to people who have at least a degree of this maturity. Men who have a strong and even aggressive presence, yet are gentle, sensitive and boyishly playful—fully-developed masculinity; women who are youthfully beautiful, but calm and secure, with a soft, alluring presence—fully-developed femininity.


Before you begin thinking that I am stereotyping, or am elevating some forms of human expression above others, consider this: full human expression is the deepest subconscious desire of every human being. It runs deep into the core of humanity…and it is most active and present in children.


There is a reason why we suppress them, and shun them from our presence.

But wait a second, you may say, who suppresses children these days? Most parents today love children and go out of their way to encourage them to be themselves. If anything, children seem to be running their parents’ lives, not the opposite!

I agree, of course. But this is what I would ask you:

What about the child inside you? Have you not shun that child from your presence? 

If you think you have not, let me ask you this: are you allowing that child to play, explore and enjoy life, develop and pursue the interests and activities you were once so passionate about?


Are you, on a regular basis, allowing yourself to play?


I rest my case.

 

‘I am every age I’ve ever been,’ said writer Madeleine L’Engle once; and this is true of us all. Who we have been as children and adolescents has not simply vanished—it is still within us. It is the traumas of the past; the losses, great or small; the resignation that often sets in as the years of unfulfilled dreams pile up and the grey same-ness of daily life takes it toll—it is those things that have affected each ‘segment’ of our inner self, and stopped it dead in its development. When they are traumatised, and thus not allowed to stay open and able to connect to the world, those ‘segments’—a two-year old, a five-year old, a teenager—are shut down, pushed down into a world of their own, and end up being unable to connect to the ones that, like layers, are added to the whole being afterwards. As a result, we are all a collection of individual ‘pieces’, each living their own life and having their own unmet longings and desires.


If this explanation is too technical or too complicated, consider this:


Most of us go through life leaving various aspects of ourselves behind. We call that ‘growing up’. The activities that we once enjoyed—things like drawing, painting, playing music, dancing, or playing a certain sport—that once brought us so much joy, tend to be less and less present in our adult life as the years go by.


When I have asked my clients about a childhood hobby or occupation they have once loved but are no longer pursuing, they typically respond, ‘but I am too busy now’; or ‘I was never good at that anyway’.


We effortlessly find excuses such as these and tell ourselves that they are true. I find the one about not having enough time particularly easy to dismantle: if I really haven’t got time to draw a picture, or play a forgotten childhood game, how would I explain my binge-watching of a TV show late at night? That takes a lot of time…


It is easy to spend a lot of time trying to comfort ourselves, numb ourselves, in front of a screen; it is a lot harder to reopen those old doors and pursue those lost passions. 


Or so we think.


You see, if we are courageous enough to face the reasons why we engage in excesses such as endless hours of entertainment, we would find that our soul has been craving something we hadn’t given it for years; and we need to be numb in order not to feel it’s longing. But wouldn’t we be better off if we addressed those old repressed longings? Wouldn’t we then need less time for comfort—doesn’t the need for excessive comfort come from those unaddressed, forgotten places within our soul?


Think of this, if you’re wondering why you’re spending hours watching videos every night, and then find it hard to have the energy and motivation you desperately need to have in the daytime. 


Trust me, I have been there. For years.


And what about the binge-eating? I myself have been guilty of that, too—for decades in fact: food has been one of my false comforters since my very first years in this world.

My soul needed attention and love; but what was mostly available was food, books and, later, television. I consider myself blessed to have been raised without internet or even video games (the games came later, in my mid-teens).


Why do we have time to indulge ourselves with food, alcohol and endless hours of entertainment, but when it comes to reclaiming and pursuing the things that once brought us joy, we are ‘too busy’? 


Something is very wrong here.


Of course, it is not time that stops us from practising those lost arts of our childhood. We run from pain; and this is why we avoid that old, forgotten world. 


We know that pain awaits us there, and we live our lives miles away. We keep the child within us at a safe distance, and still wonder why we feel drained of purpose and passion and joy…

Because the pain of our childhood is more real than the motivation and hope for a better, more fulfilling future. On a deep, subconscious level, we all fear that pain; we also feel that there is no point in revisiting a world that is dead, and a child that has gone. But it all comes down to pain. We know it is there.


For you see, once we pick up that forgotten paintbrush, football or book, we risk coming face to face with the vacuum that now exists within us in the place of our younger self. We think that the pain and the emptiness of our past will ambush us, leap upon us, whenever we try to open that old door and revisit those old loves. And—understandably, I must add—none of us want that. 



 

When I was a child

I caught a fleeting glimpse

Out of the corner of my eye

I turned to look but it was gone

I cannot put my finger on it now

The child is grown,

The dream is gone.

I have become comfortably numb.


—Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb


 


We no longer feel the life that was once available to us, and think that, to attempt to reconnect with those lost parts of ourselves—the child within us—would mean to feel the pain of that loss; and none of us want that.


Hence, binge-watching Netflix but having ‘no time’ to pursue feeling alive again.


It is not our fault. Of course, it is not our fault.


It is the traumas of our past that have robbed the child within us from that golden innocence; and we have had to survive as a result. We also have good reasons for avoiding opening the old secret doors of the past. After all, the child within may be full of grief, or rage, or sorrow—why would we even want to access that child, and engage in that world?

We choose to stay on the comfortable surface of things for a good reason. This is understandable…


But in reality, our numbness comes at a great price. 



 

 The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed...

—Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey


 


 By not pursuing the journey of becoming alive again, we end up suffering even more loss than what we had originally suffered once—and we deprive those around us…

 

We deprive them of our truest self—the self that could still be filled with the life that was available before the trauma happened—and all the life they can experience through that self. 

‘Unless you change and become like little children’, says Jesus, and goes on to say, ‘you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’


The good news is that it is never too late to rediscover the hidden kingdom within you. It is never too late to turn, and recover that old longing for life again. It is never too late to enter life again, and it is never too late to begin living it with joyful abandon.


But getting there is a process...



 


You can get your copy of 'Rise From The Ashes' here:





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