The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
I haven’t slept much the past few days since the idea for this blog first took root. The details are hitting me faster than my fingers can type. This first blog post is meant to try to set up the premise for this 365 day experiment. Not sure yet if it is accurate to call this post the first step of a thousand miles or if the year long endeavor will be the first step in a lifelong journey. My hope is the latter.
As I mentioned last week in 50,000 Thoughts, I visited a hypnotherapist for weight loss at the same time I read the book The Happiness Project. The combination was like swallowing a large dose of Drano. The unclogging has cleared a path for some free flowing clarity.
In January, I started 50,000 Thoughts with the intention of getting myself writing again after eight years out of the daily deadlines of a television journalism career. I hoped to be more reflective about the many blessings in my life as a stay at home mom. Eighteen weeks into the gratitude project, I still struggled with being naturally grateful. I could see the realizations about the good fortune of MY LIFE RIGHT NOW unfold like an objective third party, but I just couldn’t fully feel it.
It was startling last week when the hypnotherapist led me down a path that was supposed to be relaxing and instead I was overcome by feelings of guilt. Where is this coming from? I recycle. I read to my daughter before bed. I volunteer. Am I that bad? As I write this, I am staring at a big smiling picture of Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky on the front page of yesterday’s USA Today. I was always perplexed when I was a reporter covering heinous crimes at the fact that people who seemed so clearly guilty could be so totally devoid of remorse. In contrast, why do I play over and over again missed opportunities to pay a compliment or losing my patience with my whining pre-schooler?
So those are some of the questions I hope to find answers to over the next year as I spend time each day consciously trying to be more childlike. After all, I have never met a child that naturally feels guilt and all the ugly siblings in it’s family like resentment, envy, fear, judgement, criticism and grudge holding.
While I will continue my personal gratitude journal style blog, 50,000 Thoughts, the idea behind this new blog is to help me be more childlike and hopefully inspire you the reader to find your own path to that carefree, joyful approach to life.
There are a few contributing influences to this idea. First of all, several of my realizations in 50,000 thoughts center around my children and their natural inclination toward optimism and enthusiasm. I recently marveled at my daughter’s ability to live in the present and enjoy each day without the burden of expectations. I have been seeking out enlightenment for years from spiritual masters ranging from Deepak Chopra to Billy Graham to The Dalai Lama. Are their messages all that different or more profound than from what I am witnessing in my own children? I say witnessing and not learning because in order to learn, you have to listen.
So while I will be tuning in more to my 12 -year old son’s obscure, constant questions like ‘Are there different time zones on different planets?’ and my 3- year old daughter’s happy babbling when she is imagining a game with her doll, I will also be researching the science and psychology about how our adult brains work. Classic children’s literature like Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie and biographies from some of our most highly functioning children like Walt Disney, Picasso and Einstein are also on my growing reading list. Similar to the business plan approach that author Gretchen Rubin took in her year long Happiness Project, I will focus my personal intentions and research around twelve different childlike qualities over the course of twelve months.
You can expect inspirational daily quotes and daily posts. Weekly, I will incorporate a new childlike activity into my routine. I don’t count things like riding a roller coaster or swinging at the park, since I already do those things with my children. My children can participate, but the point is these activities only count if they are a positive reminder of my youth or make me feel youthful. For example, for my first activity, I chose to go to a midnight showing of “Snow White and The Huntsmen” at the drive-in this morning. My son went with me. He didn’t ask to go. I am not sure he knew midnight movies existed. But the drive in and midnight movies are two of my favorite past times from high school and it was a treat to do it with one of my favorite people.
This blog is not about me. Well, I guess it is. But it is also meant to be about everyone who reads it. I will be looking to you for feedback. Had a similar experience with feelings of guilt? How did you rid yourself of the unrealistic expectations? Do you have a favorite quote that is relevant to living a more childlike life? Would you like to be a guest contributor? Have a suggestion for a good book? Please, please remember what your parents taught you- Share!
For today, I leave you with one question, “Will being more childlike make you a better adult?”