If it is as De Chardin said that “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God” then children know how to be present to and with The Divine. There’s nothing quite like the unhinged laughter of little ones, of tweens and teens and kids when they have the space and time to be weird and gross and funny and hilarious and silly.
Kids know how to have fun. Kids know how to let fun play in their blood. Kids haven’t had the wisdom of silliness beaten out of them by ideas of image and fame and reputation and gatekeepers of belonging and worthiness and success. What a beautiful thing that is.
In you, somewhere, maybe hidden underneath piles of disappointment, dulled by sharp and lingering pain, shoved in a back corner in rooms of responsibility and deferred dreams, lies that younger you that knows how to have fun and how to laugh until you cry.
It knows how to hug yourself silly and let yourself go with joy and goodness- it’s waiting for you to come and play. Inner child work isn’t only about healing from traumas and heartaches that happened to you when you were a kid and changed the way you moved through the world. It’s about reconnecting to those glimmering parts of you as a child that flowed with creativity, energy, wonder and hope. That in itself is a healing practice too.
Joy will heal you if you let it. Practically speaking, Inner Child Work stimulates the right side of your brain where your creative, imaginative, emotive centre is. And this supports the left brain, the place of your reason and logic, where your language and analytic thinking lives. They come together to support each other.
Often times, when you find yourself in a joyless place, whether it be through tragedy and pain or simply the monotony of responsible adult living, you can reconnect to joy by coming to your inner child and remembering again how you experienced fun and happiness at a time in your life when you were free to do so. Maybe you could find a photo of yourself as a child, at a time when you remember you knew how to laugh and enjoy the world- focus in on that child, breathe, relax your shoulders, remember, listen.
What things brought you joy? What things made you smile? Was it drawing, dancing, making things?
Was it playing games and running in the yard? Was it swimming at the beach or collecting leaves?
Maybe it was just that you were free from worrying about today and tomorrow and that you were free from the fear of this and that and that things didn’t depend on you and you didn’t have deadlines and food to cook and washing to put away and work to finish.
Listen. Soften. Breathe. Unfurl your brow and drop your shoulders. The child that knew how to have fun unfettered from the pressures of being alive in the world lives in you still. You are still you and joy is in you, and your younger you will help you find it, even amongst the worries and the fears and the responsibilities and the very adult things you’ve left childhood behind to do. It can all live together; you don’t have to choose.
Children find joy because they look for it, they take it in their hands and bodies and they revel in it. Children believe in magic because they look for it and everywhere they go they find it, they make room for it, they conjure it into being through their living. Take some time, make some room, open your eyes. “Dear younger me, help me find my joy.” Joy will save you if you let it. You just have to let it.
Words of Wisdom and Healing from Liz Melani, the Practice Co. This week’s series is called Dear Younger Self. Below is Morgan Harper Nichol’s Breathe Deep and Seek Peace Right Here series. Mindful prompt: “The fully integrated person is capable of being both an adult and a child simultaneously. Recapture the childlike feelings of wide-eyed excitement, spontaneous appreciation, cutting loose, and being full of awe and wonder at this magnificent universe.” Wayne Dyer.