Trees, they are who they are. When I’m with them and paying attention, I feel their sense of content, their sense of being settled. They are who they are.
Children, especially babies and toddlers, they are who they are, too. When I’m with them, I feel their self-assured-ness, their play and wonder, their joy.
The birds—they are who they are. They know it. They exist in the flitting and the chirping, the flying and the singing.
We adult humans knew it once, too. Maybe you still do! We were children and we played freely and joyfully. We revel at the moon peeking out from the mountain, or to exclaim. every. time a plane flies over our heads. We were who we were.
And then, some of us, at least, got older and tried to be
who we thought we should be
or who we thought the people around us wanted us to be
or who we had to be.
Sitting on a rock, surrounded by the friendship of trees and marsh and birds, I can’t escape their joy, their freedom. And for a moment, I am who I am, too. Sometimes it lasts longer than others. Usually it’s for a few minutes, or maybe an hour. Then something sweeps me into not-quite-me-but-maybe-necessary-for-the-moment. And then, eventually, I come back to me. Over cycles of days and weeks and seasons and years, I think I’m becoming more me. Maybe this is just growing older, or maturing, or something.
But it feels cyclical, too. A lot of the healing and creative exercises I’ve been doing recently center around nurturing my inner child. I’m exploring what I loved as a kid, which was:
wandering through the fields and creeks with my dogs and my friends
reading books in hammocks and
Nurturing my inner child? What? Who?
For me, this means playing, cultivating a relationship with wonder, inviting in more joy, and being open to the expansiveness that’s exists beyond my mind that often tries to keep me and my world small and safe.
Being in relationship with wonder means sitting on a rock by a marsh and hearing wind chimes that remind me of my mother, and pausing to write and notice and gain insight. Looking up at the trees, I see no wind chimes. I see nothing that could make that noise, though of course it could be beyond my line of sight. After I start writing, even though the wind is even stronger than when I sat down, the wind chime sound is gone. Coincidence? Maybe. My mother? Maybe. I get to choose which to believe. Thanks for the reminder to pause, rest, notice and write, Mom.
Playing means literally playing, like making up a freeze-dance trampoline game with my delightful nephews and actually jumping, running and playing it with them.
Inviting in more joy means seeing the darkness and fear and intensity of now, while simultaneously holding light and joy and curiosity. Some days it’s easier than others. (This is coupled with intentional political action, too.)
Being open to expansiveness means noticing when fear or scarcity stories pop up and asking them to step aside to allow curiosity and abundance to take up space, too. It means a certain amount of surrender to what is instead of directing and trying to force what I want to happen. It means seeing relationships- to EVERYTHING- as the currency of my life. Relationship to self, to my body, to trees, to water, to food, to friends I haven’t talked to in years, to close friends, to family, to the person I just met for the first time, to my inner child, to the grass, to the people I despise, to the sky.
Returning to the wind now, to the word I learned recently, which means the sound of wind going through trees- psithurism- and returning to gratitude, too. For another day. For the journey. For the trees and the wind and their lesson for me. For you, dear reader, and for your own inner child. You are who you are, too. And I see you.