With fall upon us, I am called to action and embedded with nostalgia. A burning desire to “do something” bubbles up in my gut and I get antsy. Something about the crisp, cool air and the smells and colors of the season (and the enchanting aroma of fireplace!) serve as a reminder for me of who I am and why I am here. I am not sure exactly when this began, but ironically just a few moments ago, I found a homework assignment I had written and it said that Fall was my favorite season. I didn’t know that I always loved Fall. I thought that I just began to in more recent years, or as I hit adolescence. I almost feel as though I found these stories and assignments I wrote as a child at the perfect time. Divine timing. They solidified the thoughts I have had in my mind for the last couple of weeks... and have been a vivid example of the points I wanted to make here today. Though I began wanting to speak about one thing, I am now called to fuse a few different topics together.
This weekend marks a pivotal “thumbtack” on my journey. I am dropping a pin on where I “was” and am moving on to find a place to drop a new pin. As I close one door and leave one chapter of my life behind me, I step into a new place. But, as I step into this new space, I now choose to bring something with me from previous chapters. I have reached deep into the old and dug out Little Camille. Yep. I am bringing my child-self with me. Only this time, I am going to love and honor her. I am going to praise her and I will hear her when she speaks. After all, she’s actually a lot wiser than I am... Big Me, that is.
My original purpose of this “writing,” if you will, was to discuss how our Little Selves actually know a lot more than we think. That if we peer back into childhood, we may find that so much is cyclical. That somewhere along the way, we lose our way, then inevitably end up right back where we began (though this may take a lifetime and never truly come to fruition in the physical realm, only in our mind). It’s like the little sheep that strays rebelliously from the herd... has one hell of a time out in the wilderness on its own... then finds his way back home where he realizes he was meant to be all along.
My add-on purpose(s) for today is to invite you to honor your inner child, and to encourage your actual children on their journey through life.
A couple of weeks ago, when I decided I wanted to write about this, I was taking a quiet walk pushing my newbie in the stroller. I was reflecting, as I often do when the world is quiet. I had just began writing, again, for the first time in many, many years. It felt so natural and exhilarating. I felt like I was “home.” I was sharing time with an old friend. It’s incredible, really. The circles we make in our lives. From young to old. What we once loved as a wee little lad, we return to later on in life after we sort through our “junk” or give in to our intuition hounding us. We make a lot of circles in our lifetime.
“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town (life).
And such is life. The wheel of life, or dharma. We begin by needing someone to care for us, we grow to care for ourselves, then we return to a place where we may need others to care for us, again. We begin full of life and wonder, we become poisoned by conditioning and fears, then we begin to unravel, again, to appreciate the mystery and enchantment of life as we let go of all else we picked up along the way. We do circles. We go around and around and around.
I realized on this day, walking slowly amongst the trees, that I should have listened to Little Camille all along. Why didn't I? She knew so much more than I realized. She knew herself, most of all. What she loved, what she wanted and what resonated in her heart and soul. Ha. I have to laugh, because I strayed so far away from her... and became lost. But maybe, getting lost was a blessing. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, “I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.” We don’t come “home” until we are good and ready to appreciate what we knew all along. We go out and explore the massive Universe. We pick up things and "stuff" along the way. Some that serve us, some that don’t. We gain knowledge and experiences. And finally, when we have had enough of getting tangled up in everyone else’s stories for us, we happen upon our home. So, here I was. Decades later. I stumbled upon my home and realized that I knew everything I needed to know as a child.
That leaves one asking, “What happened, then?” What happens is life. People (parents included) and society and culture dictate what we “should” do and be. We begin to draw up conclusions about ourselves and the world. We give in to fears. We develop self-limiting beliefs. We create tales that define us. And inevitably, we begin to doubt ourselves. “Oh, how silly is that!” But, I will argue that Little You knew everything he or she needed to know. Little You had passion and courage and love and zest. Best of all, Little You had unwavering belief and confidence.
I encourage you to ask these questions in a moment of silence: What is it that Little You loved so dearly? What did you enjoy doing? What did you want to be when you became Big You? What was one activity you could just get lost in for hours on end without peeking your head up? What pushed and ignited your fire-button? I truly believe that hidden within these answers - if you really spend the time reflecting - is your home. What’s natural to you. Where you came from, what feels good and perhaps where you belong.
Little You may not have been nurtured and encouraged. Maybe, you’re like me. Little Camille was laughed at and teased. She felt very much alone, and shy. She felt as though she lived in a world where she was the only resident and she didn't belong in the “other” world. She began to feel fear, and disappointment. She didn't feel safe. And, she didn't have the support she needed to grow her little seedlings into beautiful flowers. Her dreams and desires fell by the wayside as she wandered out into the vast unknown, trying to navigate a place where she felt alienated and unprotected. People mocked her for loving the things she did, especially animals. Others told her she would never do what she wanted to do. It was a hobby or interest. She would “starve” as a creative type.
As far away as I wandered, my passions were woven deeply into my life journey. They cropped up left and right, here and there. Always a reminder of where I began. And the Fall... that special, chilly air. It speaks to me like no other. Pushing me back to the place I call “home.” Living through what I have, I truly appreciate this moment. I am so grateful for the opportunity to see through new eyes. I, most of all, am finally able to look back and reach out my hand to Little Camille. To acknowledge her for how absolutely beautiful she was. Different, maybe. But so beautiful. Soft and gentle, maybe too innocent and naive. I can finally go back to that place and love her unconditionally... heal her wounds. Look her in the eyes and tell her she was so very wise and that she is safe now. Teach her to forgive and forge ahead with a renewed confidence to speak her voice and live her passion(s).
I speak of Little Camille, but really, I mean you, too. There must be some wound that Little You needs mended. Perhaps a broken heart. Fears or doubts, needing a soothing embrace. Little You needs to hear from Big You that everything is OK and that he or she is perfect as is. Extend your hand, and take Little You with you where you go... loving him or her along the way. The entire way.
And for those of you that are parents, please...don’t laugh at your children or discourage them when they tell you what they want to be when they grow up. When they tell you what they love. It may not be what you liked or wanted to be or what you want(ed) for them, but it's what feels good for them. Why cant they be an astronaut or a firefighter? A dancer or a movie star? A doctor or an athlete? They are so much wiser than we give them credit for. After all, they have not been tampered with, yet. They are pure and radiate love and passion. Encourage your children to blossom just as they are. To reach for the stars, their dreams. To follow their heart and let their intuition guide them. They won’t stay little for long... and sooner or later, they meet us where we are. Big People in the grown-up world. Hopefully, where we are is living a life with renewed joy and enthusiasm (as www.entheos.com says so brilliantly, “en + theos. Two little Greek words. Put ‘em together and you’ve got enthusiasm—or “God within”—the secret sauce to creating an extraordinary life while making a difference in the world”). Divinity within us.
Keep those fires lit, friends. And if your fire has simmered down, reach in to the world you came from and bring back Little You. Bring that fire back to life. And inspire others - especially your children - to do the same.
If you are meeting with some resistance, don’t fret. The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round. You’ll end up where you need to be when the timing is just perfect for you. In the meantime, enjoy the ride.