By Nancy Smorch
Have you ever thought about how we all talk about the things we want to do, or the things we might be interested in, but we don’t allow ourselves to explore them and actually do them?
I mean, think about when you were a kid. If you wanted to do something, you just did it – you didn’t analyze it and think about what you should be doing instead – you lived from your heart more than your head. I remember being a kid and going outside in the snow – sledding and shoveling our neighbors’ pond so we could ice skate and play hockey. We would stay out until our feet were numb. I didn’t think before going out, it’s too cold out, I’d rather stay in and have some hot chocolate. I wanted to have fun in the snow, and I went out and did it! I remember not wanting to have the same clothes as the other kids in school, so I learned how to sew and picked out patterns and material and made outfits for myself. I didn’t analyze the situation and think this is going to be too much work and take too much patience and time – I just did it because I wanted the outfit and I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that came from it.
I loved to dance, so I would go in the living room, close the door, and put on Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album (yes, I said album) and would dance for hours. Later, I would take dance lessons and perform – which was also a blast. What I was “tuning into” all of those times was my heart – listening to what my heart was leading me to. Now, some of you may say this sounds too New Age.
Whatever! Get over it!
The fact is, the "heart" is the primary organ of perception. And at some point, we grow out of our ability to use it to interpret our world and to take in the information (energy) around us, listen to it, and act upon it. Let’s first, admit that, and then get back to using it as it was designed to be used!
When we grow up, we start making decisions and acting more out of our "heads." As adults, that’s typically where we live. You might say, Well, when I was younger, I didn’t have all of the responsibilities that I have now, so I could just have fun and do whatever I wanted. Yes, we probably do have more responsibilities now. But, when I was younger, I still had chores to do (the famous “lists” from my mom), homework that I always did because I wanted to get all A’s, team practices, and later – jobs. I did all of those things, and still always made time to have fun and tune into what brought me joy.
At some point, things shifted to “what I should be doing” – things a responsible adult would do. People would say, “You have to get serious and figure out what you want to do with your life." Or, “You aren’t going to be able to afford that car you like so much if you have your own business.”
All the talk when going to college and deciding what path to study was about what job markets were going to be hiring and that it was prudent to study those areas to increase your chances of getting a job when you graduated. Talk about settling!
How do we make the shift, and go back to that “childhood mentality” while still meeting the responsibilities we’ve created in our lives (taxes, house upkeep, bills, to name a few)? My heart tells me that we need to allow ourselves to have that childlike mentality in order to be healthy. My mind struggles with going there. How do we do that? I believe it initially comes down to discipline – like it or not – it’s going to take some work. It’s just like working out. You’ve got plenty of other things that could be calling you away, but you need to make time to work out. At first it takes a ton of discipline, and after a while it becomes a habit, and then it becomes a part of who you are – you choose to make it part of your identity. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do and you haven’t been allowing yourself to do it, try this exercise along with me:
Since your mind probably works on schedules right now, schedule it in. Make it part of your routine – create a new habit. It may feel like work at first, but once you get out there and start doing it and feel the joy and enthusiasm that will come from it, you will start to crave it. You will also be building evidence for your conscious and subconscious mind that it is “safe” to do this.
I’ll do this along with you. One of the things I like to do is ride horses. How much have I ridden this past year? I can probably count the number of times on 2 hands. I can give you all kinds of excuses as to why that is, but the bottom line is that I am depriving myself of something that I love – really insane when you think about it, I mean I deserve to enjoy it (and so do you)! So, I will start allowing myself the pleasure of playing with and riding the horses.
What are you going to do?