My son has a new toy this week. It’s a mini grocery cart that he has wanted for ages. I saw it in the thrift store so I decided to buy it for him. Yesterday he came into my office pushing it full to the brim with fake veggies and fruits, and at the top sat his favorite stuffed Tiger and Bunny toys. I asked him if he was having fun with his new toy and commented on his stuffed animals. “Yup. I’m taking them for a walk” he said. “They are getting some fresh air!” and with that he rolled off again into the other room.
Watching him just made me smile and think about how easy it is for children to connect with fun and playfulness. How creative and inventive they can be, and how for the most part, it is so easy to make them happy. It also made me think about how quickly we can lose that part of ourselves. How for most of us growing up, also meant letting go of that joy.
It was not until I had my son that I realized how much of that joy I had let go of, and how so many of us have a need to connect with that part of ourselves again. I can hear the collective groan! Yes I am talking about that “find your inner child” stuff that people talk about, but don’t worry. There is a fine line to finding your inner child though, and it’s about still being an adult and keeping up with all of the responsibilities of your life, AND embracing that fun, playful and imaginative side of yourself.
So where to start? For my clients who are unsure and hesitant to begin, I always suggest a very easy route which is to purchase a box of crayons and a colouring book. They are readily available at any dollar store in a wide range of themes. In the privacy and safety of your own home, take the time to colour at least one page. Don’t worry about the “rules” that say the sky must be blue or the grass green etc. Just play and be creative. If you go outside the lines it’s okay. In fact, do it deliberately just to see how it feels: be brave! Each week pick up something new to try such as modeling dough, stickers, toy cars, blowing bubbles or whatever else you desire. I bet that pretty soon you will be looking forward to your new “toy” and what you get to play with that week!
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