Updated: Mar 11
Day 43/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Mood: saddened
The premise is that children have certain instincts that drive their behaviours, preferences and actions.
If you do a google search on this topic you'll find a whole lot of information and research that seems to suggest that we don't really know what's going on. A number of hypotheses exist with little real understanding to speak of.
Given our anecdotal experiences, which incidentally are not usually regarded to be as valid as the research, I'm going with the idea that in spite of our perceived instincts, environmental influences have a big impact on whether those instincts are functional or shut down at an early age.
Sarah asks us today to connect with a younger version of ourselves, around 10 years of age, and become reacquainted with her. The idea is that this little person will have knowledge about our preferences that were later subjugated by trends and social expectations.
Today's inspiration is to find that little girl who trusted herself
Find a photo of yourself at the age that you think fits, frame it and put it somewhere where you'll see it often. Take a trip down memory lane and try to remember what your life was like at that time. What colour was your favourite? What game did you like to play? Who was your best friend? What was your bedroom like? What sort of clothes did you love to wear?
Connect with this little girl as much as you can.
For some there will be quite a few traumatic memories from that time, and very little trust. Go easy with this exercise. Be gentle with yourself. Try to connect with the essence of that little person.
This little person is your most authentic self before the world really started to prescribe how she should or shouldn't live her life.
For me there was little opportunity to discover my true preferences. From an early age I was forced to conform, and any preferences that didn't match were seriously punished. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this dilemma.
Reconnecting with my instincts is, and has been an incredibly long and difficult journey.
So instead of connecting with this little person around instincts, I've connected with her a number of times over the years to see how she's going. Just that. To check in and see if she's feeling safe. Because taking a risk on my own preferences was never safe.
As an adult, this has played out as being risk averse. Playing it safe, staying in control, going with what is known. This is very limiting, but it's safe.
Nowadays I'm feeling a little more able to experiment with my preferences. I'm 63 years old. It's been a long time coming. I'm enjoying the freedom.
If this exercise is frustrating for you, opens up old wounds and brings you to despair, then go with simply caring for this little person. A lot of self-healing can come of simply sitting with, talking with, observing and being kind to this little person that was once you.
This little person lives within. Her fears, traumatic memories, heartbreak all still reside in your body and in your nervous system. This is the reason for therapy. This is the reason I do what I do.
It's never okay to say, "it's finished now, get over it". Maybe it's never finished, as the tears well up again as I'm writing. It gets easier to understand and to live with. For most of us who's childhood was anything but supportive of our instincts, it's a long slow journey to well-being. Make it as much fun as you can.
For those that have the pleasure of pleasant memories enjoy this exercise as you discover your instinctive preferences for colour, texture, joyful activities, dress sense, playful exercises and more. Connecting with those is a great starting place for a return to living authentically in a world that demands anything but authenticity.
And for everyone, this little girl needs your care and attention. Don't be afraid to keep her with you for a while, take her out on excursions, give her treats, and love her to bits.
Take care of you. 💖 I'm off to grab chocolate!
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.