There is nothing more precious than the heart of a child. Children live fully from their hearts and dream endlessly. They are fearless, they are creative! I love hearing kids talk to themselves because they have a constant stream of dreaming and make believe happening inside of them. Remember when you were that way?
One of the best ways to find yourself is to look back at your childhood. You can find links to your true self. What did you love? What did you dream about? What kind of playing did you do?
I grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains (in the middle of nowhere). The nearest grocery store was 45 minutes away and we mostly lived off the land with a 5 acre garden, 20 fruit trees, and animals. My brother and I were required to be up early and work hard. When we weren’t working we could go “play outside”.
Playing outside for me was wandering around the mountains alone from the age of 5. It still blows my mind that my parents allowed me to do that but I’m glad they did.
I wasn’t very loved as a child by my parents. They both came from damaged backgrounds and I don’t believe they knew how to love me. Their marriage was rocky and they were not happy.
My brother and I weren’t allowed to talk at the dinner table and if we laughed we would get yelled at. There was no encouragement ever, but constant belittling telling me that everything I did was wrong and I would never amount to anything even though I was a hard worker, I had straight A’s in school and attended the next grade higher for my math, reading, and spelling classes because I was ahead of everyone else. It was never good enough and my flaws were magnified daily. I realize now that my parents were just repeating the patterns from their own parents.
My intention is not to create a “woe is me” scenario but to point out that when I ask you to look at your childhood and your dreams, you may not want to because of abuse or a lot of pain. I am fully aware that in those moments you didn’t feel happy and full of dreams. You may have had every dream crushed by your parents like I did. But I want you to remove your bad experiences from this scenario.
When I was off on my own I felt safest in the mountains wandering. Even as a 5 year old I believed in God and felt him with me. My parents would send us to Vacation Bible School at the local Grange in the Summer (it looked like something from Little House on the Prairie). This is where I met God at such a young age.
I always felt God’s closeness when I was alone in the mountains. I felt connected, protected, and safe. Still to this day I feel most connected to God in the mountains which is why I make it a point to be on a trail everyday. It’s how I connect to my heart and who I am as a person. It’s where inspiration pops up for me. It’s where problems dissolve.
Where is this place for you? Where do you feel safe?
I was also a little crazy and fearless. The first thing I did when we moved to that property was jump on my bike with the banana seat and fly full speed down our very steep driveway. Of course the bikes of those days were not built for that kind of riding and my bike lost control, I crashed face first into the dirt, and tore up my lip. I just remember getting up and thinking THAT WAS AWESOME!!!
I also LOVED horses. I was obsessed with them. My neighbors over the hill had a few Thoroughbred Paints and they would let me ride them. At 5 years old I started riding bareback and what I loved most was galloping at full speed through the mountains and going over jumps, rocks, etc. My dad always watched Westerns so I would pretend I was in Bonanza or something. LOL. I can feel the excitement and passion now as I think back to it. When I wasn’t riding horses I was pretending I was riding a horse.
In the Winter when it would snow my brother and I would take big tractor sized inner tubes and find the steepest hills to fly down all day long. We would build jumps and all kinds of fun stuff.
All this adventurous excitement came to a halt after my parents divorce and for many years following. I then grew into an adult and started climbing the corporate ladder. I didn’t know how to hear my heart anymore. Instead I was on a constant mission to prove my parents wrong…that I was worth something.
We get lost in our survival mechanisms that we developed as children when bad things happened. We build walls, we wear a mask, we don’t even know who we are anymore. We completely lose ourselves and become an actor in someone else’s play.
At some point we hit the wall and misery starts to creep in. You may become depressed, have anxiety, or want to give up all together.
That is your heart trying to tell you that this isn’t going to work anymore and it’s time to find yourself. To get in alignment with who you were made to be. You can try to fight it but life will continue to get tougher until you listen to it. My advice, LISTEN TO IT! It will go much faster!
This started to happen to me. I found friends who were outdoorsy and I started hiking in Tahoe and that ignited the spark in me. I started trail running, then I started mountain biking. All these things reminded me of that joy I felt as a child! They made me feel alive again. And….I am still just as crazy! I love speed and flying down hills, running single track jumping over rocks and ruts. My happiest place is on a mountain trail.
The more I went there, the more I found myself. It guided me to who I am today.
So, again I ask you, what did you dream of as a child? Really take some time to think about it. Write it down. Think deeply about this.
When we were children we lived from our hearts. We had enormous imaginations! Yours may have been completely different from mine. You might have loved to just be alone and read. You may have loved science projects or building things with your hands.
Also, pay attention to what your personality was. For me, I was shy. I didn’t mind being alone. I cared for people and never wanted to hurt them. I wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to be kind to people and I would always make friends with the person no one else would be friends with. The way I was treated at home taught me to have empathy for others who are hurting. This is what guided me into helping people and wanting to be a life coach.
Who were you? Were you outgoing? Good with people? A leader? Did you always have a lot of friends or just a few close friends? What were you good at? This will tell you a lot about yourself but you have to do the work and allow yourself to go back to your childhood.
As you go through this you might be tempted to respond with “I could never do that now, I have too many responsibilities”.
You don’t have to change everything right now! The key is to start doing those things again that brought you joy, excitement and passion.
Implementing these things back into your life will start guiding you on an adventure to knowing your true heart…to understand who you are and what you were made for. You will find that you start getting to know yourself better and better the more you engage in things that light you up.
It’s the little steps we take that bring more and more enlightenment. More doors start to open. You become more aware and start having “a-ha” moments.
You don’t need a plan right now. Just start doing those things that excite you! They will be your guide.