One could say I had a pretty typical weekend - went up to Ventura to spend time with friends and their 4 year old child (who I am absolutely in love with) and I got my haircut. Pretty ordinary sounding weekend right? But it was SO MUCH MORE.
WE CAN LEARN SO MUCH FROM CHILDREN! Here are the lessons I learned after spending 48 hours with sweet Archie.
TO EMBRACE MY INNER CHILD
First of all, when I hang out with a 4 year old, I have no choice but to delightfully embrace my own INNER CHILD. What does this look like? Jumping in puddles, climbing trees, going on the merry go round at the park and making silly faces, dancing without music, skipping through the forest and endless, endless amounts of laughter. Oh yea, and did I mention I took a nap? Do adults take naps? I certainly don’t have time for them. When fully connected with my inner child, here is what I noticed:
I was PRESENT
Time did not exist
I did not care what anyone else thought
I felt an immense sense of joy and excitement for life
TO FIND WONDER AND ENCHANTMENT IN EVERYTHING
From a child’s perspective, EVERYTHING is the bees knees. Literally. Even the “Bees Knees” peanut butter we put on Archie’s sandwich - ah-may-zing. But seriously - this child found wonder and excitement in the drops of rain on the window sill, every rescue vehicle that passed us on the road, the red-tailed hawk that circled above us (and yes he happens to know the name of every bird in the sky). A seemingly mediocre rainy day turned into an absolute fairy tail filled with mystical creatures, adventure and magic! Archie’s excitement about the smallest things shifted me first into mindfulness, being present to the moment, and then into extreme gratitude. Gratitude for this beautiful life we get to live on this beautiful earth.
TO BE MY AUTHENTIC SELF WITHOUT A FILTER
I’m sure we’ve ALL experienced how innocently authentic children can be, speaking their immediate truth without a single filter. I LOVE this about children. They speak what they know, they proudly admit if they don’t know and they are absolutely not afraid of what other people think. Somewhere along the way we stop doing that.
Before going on a hike, Archie did not want to eat his sandwich so I took it upon myself to teach him the purpose and importance of food as fuel, as I would with my adult clients. I normally draw a parallel between food for your body and gas in your car. “Food is your fuel, it gives you energy to do all the fun things you want to do in life,” I preached. “Food is like gas in your car, do you know what gas is?” I asked him. He giggled his adorable little giggle and tilted his head down in embarrassment. For a moment, I thought he just didn’t know what gas was - maybe his parents called it something else. Then he answered “Yes, I know what gas is!” and proceeded to point toward his butt and make fart noises with his mouth. We both needed up hysterically laughing and he ended up eating his sandwich.
I could go on and on about the lessons I learned from Archie in just 48 hours, but frankly, it’s 8:30 and it’s time for this old duck to go bed. #adultproblems…. but I want to leave you with this… we can put this process of MINDFULNESS into practice with ANYTHING we do. Within EVERY experience we have, good or bad, fun or boring, routine or spontaneous, we can find hidden jewels, lessons to be learned, profound realizations or simply reminders along the way. We can turn the ordinary into extraordinary.