I have become very interested in the topic of inner peace lately. My interest in this topic is due to my own inner exploration. From that I have found that I have a desire to help others discover more peace in their lives as well. So it is from that perspective, that I write this blog post today.
Lately I have been contemplating my thought processes as an adult as they compare to my thought processes as a child. My focus on this topic is due mostly to some recent experiences I have had where, faced with a given situation, I was able to enjoy that scenario as I would have at a much younger age. I found these situations to be very liberating and joyful experiences. I write here about two specific situations.
A few weeks ago, we were enjoying a warm fall day in North Carolina. I took advantage of the weather and went for a run in the neighborhood during my lunch hour. While the fall color had passed its peak, there were still a lot of yellow, orange and red leaves on the trees. It was a sunny day but clouds were rolling in. The sun peering through the clouds gave the air a golden glow that made the tree colors more vibrant against the blue and white sky. It reminded me of a couple very similar fall days while I was in college (Okay, so I was not exactly a kid – but close enough ) when I would make the one hour drive to visit my grandmother. I remember how free I felt on those trips, leaving the world of college behind for a day or two to visit my grandmother on her farm. And I remember how in touch I felt with the beautiful nature around me on those drives. Accessing that memory while I ran and comparing it to the scenery I was seeing in my neighborhood brought back those same feelings of freedom and wonder. As an adult, I often feel like I miss out on a lot of the natural wonder around me because I am in a hurry to get to my next obligation or destination or because my mind is full of concern over some current issue involving my job, finances, family, etc. At that moment I was very thankful that at least for a few minutes I was able to witness and appreciate the fall beauty that was all around me.
About a week later, we had a family movie outing. We chose to see Thor: The Dark World. It is safe to classify this movie as a science fiction, action thriller. This is not the type of movie I usually enjoy anymore, mostly because I probably approach movies with too much adult rationality. But as a kid, I loved science fiction movies. Well, for some reason, I settled in for this movie, accepted it for what it was, and I actually really enjoyed it. I did not over think the movie. I did not try to rationalize everything. I did not get lost in thoughts about other things that were going on in my life. I just sat back, relaxed, and had a good time with the family. I was aware of this while I was watching the movie – that I was enjoying this movie the way I would have as a kid – and I was very thankful for it.
I think very often as adults we get bogged down in all of our grown-up worries and because we do, we start missing a lot of the joy in life. We start living too much in our heads – thinking about the grown-up things we have to do. This leads to thoughts of worry, fear, regret, frustration – and all of these types of thoughts keep us from living in the present moment. In the two instances I describe above I was able to access feelings that I used to feel all of the time as a kid (or as a college student), because at those two specific times I was present in the moment. I was really running in the beauty of fall nature and I was really watching a sci-fi movie with the family rather than performing these two activities while letting myself be bogged down with all types of other worries.
I have heard several wise people say recently, that the things you loved to do when you were a kid (maybe 8, 9, or 10 years old) should be part of your life today. I agree with this statement and think that it can be expanded further. I think that the presence that we had as children should be part of our adult lives as well. When we can look at the world around us with the fresher, more present and mindful eyes of children we give ourselves the opportunity to live with more joy and peace.
Have you had an experience like this recently – one where you found yourself in a situation that reminded you of a joyful experience you had as a child or young adult? Please feel free to share by leaving a comment!
With Peace and Gratitude,
*The photos in this post were taken by me via smart phone. While they do not directly relate to the subject matter of this post, the photos are included as part of my goal to add visual appeal to my posts through the use of nature photography.