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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Besides the many stirring things Ms. Williamson says in this quote, one of the most inspiring is her reference to children.
The older I get, the younger I want to be. (Not chronologically – I don’t want to revisit those dreaded high school years or be back in my 20’s trying to figure out who I am again. Oh the drama!)
I’m talking about recapturing the essence of youth, which is really locating the eternal child within each of us.
So many great world teachers talk about returning to child-like innocence. Why? Because children are not in a state of developed ego. They don’t let the cynical, fearful, habituated, negative way of seeing the world contaminate their reality. Which is wonder, excitement, mystery, possibility, play.
And that’s where all the creative work comes from: in-the-moment, not tied to results, not worrying about how you look or what you’re going to get out of it. Like how kids play.
When I was in the 5th grade I’d re-enact episodes of Charlie’s Angels for no other reason than the joy of playing. (Well, OK, I did love Farrah Fawcett’s feathered hair and if I was going to re-enact a show, I wanted to be in the one I thought was the most glamorous on TV.)
But the point is, that boundless, nonjudgmental, childlike creativity is inherent to us. Forever.
We haven’t lost these qualities just because we’ve gained 10 pounds or turned 30 or have gray hair or feel that our lives are at a standstill.
Let this year, then, be a year of tapping into that truth. That to be child-like isn’t to be childish. It’s to be hopeful, innocent, awed and appreciative.
How you used to be. And somewhere within you, you still are.
You gain thirty pounds. Your essential nature is the same.
You get dumped. Your essential nature is the same.
You turn 30. Your essential nature is the same.
Your agent drops you. Your essential nature is the same.
Your essential nature – who it is that we all are – transcends our age, social status, accomplishments, physical appearance, successes or failures.
It’s not derived by the cars you drive, the shoes you wear, the zip code you live in.
It’s not affected by the ups and downs of your life. Your challenges or disappointments.
It’s the part of each of us we are born as. You could call it your essence. The truth of who you are.
The essential nature of who you are is child-like. Perfect. Innocent. Expressive. Whole. Not lacking in any way.
It’s the part that can’t be influenced by the prejudices of others. By the things people say or the actions taken against us.
So many of our doubts, insecurities, fears and worries are generated by outside influences that use “compare-and-despair” tactics to make us feel like we’re not good enough. Or that we’re a failure. Or not attractive. Or have nothing to contribute.
Stop letting the influences of Madison Avenue and its marketing campaigns and media images distort your self-image.
Our culture sells dreams. It preys on our insecurity that who we are isn’t enough. That our lives are lacking and unfulfilled in some way until we get married, or have millions of dollars or have our own TV show or get invited to that A-list club or buy these products we “can’t live without.”
Accumulation of things – of stuff – doesn’t make us happy.
Happiness is a state of being. It’s who we already are. It is our essential nature. It’s the creative child within all of us. We don’t lose this essence when we become adults, but we do misplace it. We forget we possess it.
You don’t have to work so hard to “do.” You already are.
You don’t have to push and always make things happen. Simply allow.
You don’t have to control. Be in a let go.
Stop trying to become what you already are.
“Children aren’t bored when they wake up in the morning because they don’t know what’s going to happen to them that day. Adults are bored because we think we do.” ~ Marianne Williamson
The experiences we are looking for in the world seem to show up out there.
They might be in the form of getting a girlfriend or booking a job or going on a cruise or getting an agent.
But what they really represent is the feeling you are looking for (and actually already possess) inside you.
We think that getting “the thing” is what we need to finally be who we are.
In actuality, who we naturally are already is – ironically – how we get the things we desire.
Life is a circle. It’s not a horizontal line leading to somewhere out there in the future. It’s a journey of coming back to you. As adults we’re trying to get back to that core essence of who we were (and still are) as children. The part of us that is nonjudgmental, innocent, fully-expressed, free, emotionally connected, playful, committed, fearless.
And as children, we don’t wait for “events” to give us permission to express ourselves. We express ourselves fully moment-to-moment in each moment.
Just because we’ve grown up, or gained twenty pounds or have gray hair or seem to have lost our way, doesn’t mean we’ve lost that eternal part of us that is yearning to be expressed again. We just have to reconnect to it and let it show us how to play.
Homework: This week, give yourself the permission to express yourself in a way you normally shut down, control, edit or don’t allow. Just do it.
And remember. Child-like is not childish.
“Adults are obsolete children.” – Dr. Seuss