Last week, I engaged in some inner child work. The book I’m reading suggested a meditation I could do to help me connect with the child I once was. I had tried this meditation before with little result but last week, I decided to give it another go.
This time it was different. In my meditation, I could clearly see myself at 4 years old. My hair was scraggly, there was chocolate on my face and I was wearing a pair of leggings and nothing else. And I had the hugest grin on my face. I was there too, my adult self. And these two versions of me stood opposite each other. Out of nowhere, the little me began dancing. It was something between a recreation of Sia’s Elastic Heart video and the Haka. She was wild but she moved with purpose. And the adult me followed her every move, copying her and laughing.
When I came out of the meditation, I felt exhilarated. It had been so long since I had let myself feel the wildness which is often lying dormant within me. And in that moment, I made a promise to myself – to remember to remember that wildness, that fearless searching, that ability to play.
I believe that we are all born players in this beautiful, wild game of life. As children, we used play to learn everything we needed to survive and thrive. We fearlessly tried things out that made us look silly, we said sentences that didn’t make traditional ‘sense’. We blurted out sounds just to see what noises they made, and we threw our bodies into all different shapes simply because we could. It felt good to play, didn’t it?
And yet, I see very few people committing to play in their adult lives. When kids want to play, there is a massive market designed to help them do so. There are adventure parks and playgrounds where they can roam and climb and get muddy. And most of all, there is the general consensus that children are supposed to play. As adults, our playtime seems to be more regimented. Our new breed of ‘fun’ now comes from browsing social media, or sitting around tables and talking. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. But we do seem to have lost touch with the wild side of ourselves. The side which doesn’t want you to save your shoes by walking around a puddle, but wants you to jump straight into it – the messier, the better.
So much relies on our ability to play. The sense of fun in our lives, our creative abilities, our faith in the world and the universe. When we remember to play, we remember to enjoy, to laugh, to ease the difficult times in our lives. We free ourselves to create, to find unexpected joys and talents within ourselves.
This last week has been rainy and cold here in Wellington. And it’s made me want to wrap up warm, eat vegetables, read books, have long baths and get to bed early – all things that I fought hard against as a child. So this week, I challenge myself to worry less, to try new things (even if they seem silly) and to play at every opportunity.