"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." -Pablo Picasso
The news is exhausting, isn't it? We are inundated with information that's often confusing and conflicting. We are inundated with "breaking" news, stories of surges and spikes, overcrowded hospitals and looming threats of another potential lockdown. It's a lot.
That's why I've taken to removing myself from the chaos, as best I can. I’m doing it for my own mental health. These days, I read some news in the morning, and then again at the end of the day. But never before bed. I’ve reserved that time for Kevin Costner and his hit TV show "Yellowstone!"
As the days and weeks pass, and as they all seem to blur together, I’ve tried to drill down on creating a routine for myself and a set of rituals. I’ve long believed in routine and structure. Even though my work life has been turned upside down, I'm doing my best to act like it hasn’t. I keep the same morning routine that I had when I went into the office: taking conference calls throughout the day that keep me focused on my larger purpose. Then in the evenings, I try to walk out the day’s anxiety or spend that precious time reconnecting with the ways I enjoyed summer as a little girl. Playing. Laughing. Being wild and adventurous and carefree.
A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on Instagram of a young girl having a blast. The caption read, "Remember her? She is still there inside you... go get her." The response was astonishing. Thousands of people responded and reminisced about that fun, loving child that they felt was long gone.
I thought a lot about everyone’s answers. I also thought a lot about my own little girl within. I felt saddened for all of us who have lost touch with that spirit, myself included.
So, I’ve taken to trying to bring her out. I’ve embarked on a quest to find her, to reconnect with her, to be more like the girl in the picture above. That will be my goal in August when I take my yearly break. It’ll be my goal because I know that I'll need and I'll want that little girl's sassiness, laughter, spirit, strength, and playfulness as I head into what will undoubtedly be an out-of-control Fall season.
Children have a way of being present in the now. They laugh out loud. They find joy in the simplest things. They have a sense of possibility. And so, I've started to play with that possibility. This past weekend, I decided to play catch with my daughter. I was surprised at the joy it brought to me. It was a joy I could feel in my body. I also laughed out loud with a friend on the phone, and that made me feel young. I organized an egg race, which brought back wonderful memories of three-legged races and capture-the-flag games.
For me, doing these simple things in these complex times reminded me that I can find the spirit of my little-girl self buried within me. It’s my job to go get her. I think it might help all of us to give this a try at this time when we feel weighed down by the news and by the uncertainty of life. It might seem simple, maybe even silly to you. But chasing after your childhood spirit will break up the breaking news. It will break up the routine. It will bring silliness back into your life. It will bring joy. And, most importantly, it will make you feel hopeful about your life—your now and your future—in what feels like such uncertain times.
So, go throw a ball. Try to be serious balancing an egg on a spoon. I dare you. Play Uno with other adults or a kid. Try running charades. I’d be shocked if you don’t feel that strange feeling inside called joy. I'd be surprised if it doesn’t spark a memory of who you used to be before life got complicated.
Try sparking laughter. Try reaching for a surge of joy. Break away from what is. Do something simple and old-fashioned. Sit on the grass and maybe even roll in it, if you can. Put on some music. Run in a sprinkler. Tell me what you feel and who you find. I bet you’ll reconnect with someone you remember, that child within who never left you. That child will be thrilled to come alive again.
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Dear God, during these hard times, please help me reconnect with my inner child. Help me find that spirit that I’ve long forgotten. Help me be present in the now, laugh out loud, seek joy, and embrace a sense of possibility and wonder. Amen.
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