Reflecting on our youth often evokes a mix of nostalgia and maybe a little regret ("why did I EVER think I looked good in bangs??")
Those younger years, when we more than likely felt the freedom to pursue our passions unabashedly, sometimes feel like a distant memory. In our adult lives, responsibilities and societal expectations can often lead us away from the things that once brought us pure joy and fulfillment.
Embracing the Authentic You
As we navigate the complexities of adulthood, it's crucial to reconnect with the essence of who we were during our younger years, especially if we're on a mission to discover what it is to live authentically.
At age 20 or so, we were unapologetically ourselves, embracing the things that sparked genuine joy within us. The energy of others and life's demands had yet to mold our paths and suppress our authentic desires.
For me, that source of joy was art.
My life revolved around art--creating, envisioning, and immersing myself in its world. The dream of attending art school fueled my aspirations until, one day, it didn't.
Rediscovering Your Passion: A Personal Journey
Over time, societal pressures led me to stow away my art supplies and stifle my creativity. As adulthood beckoned, I believed I needed to focus on what society deemed as "grown-up" responsibilities.
A pivotal moment arrived about 10 years ago when I rediscovered my love for art. Watching my son embrace creativity reignited my own dormant passion. Slowly but surely, I started to dabble in artistic endeavors again, feeling like I was rekindling a long-lost connection with my true self.
Now, surrounded by my own paintings and collages, I am reminded daily of the journey that brought me back to my authentic self.
Reconnecting with Your Younger Self: A Guided Meditation
When you think back to that girl you were, does anything stand out in terms of the things that brought you joy and fulfillment?
Maybe so. Maybe you need to dig a little deeper to remember. Here's a meditation to help you uncover that spark.
Close your eyes, and take three deep breaths.
I invite you to visualize a place you loved when you were 20 or so. It might be a place in nature. A farm. Your home. An art studio.
See your younger self there.
What is she doing?
Feel her joy as she does that thing. See how clearly she loves it, unobstructed by the opinions and needs of others. See how pure her joy is.
Remember that feeling. Embody the happiness she’s feeling.
Now, the you of today knows what happens between then and now. You know that you let go of those things that you once delighted in. Your younger self doesn’t yet know this. She is innocent and open.
Think of what you’d like your younger self to know, given what you already know about the future. How can you prepare her to not lose herself and her life of authenticity? What advice would you have wanted then that you can now give?
Touch her gently on the shoulder and say what you need to say to her.
She may have something to say back to you. She may want to remind you that the joy she’s feeling doesn’t die. It doesn’t go away. It just gets buried, and it’s your mission today to uncover it.
Listen to what she has to say.
After you’re done talking, give your younger self a big hug. Tell her you love her and will honor her by coming back to what lights you up.
Return to the present moment, carrying the warmth of this encounter with your younger self. Take a few deep breaths, open your eyes, and embody the intention to rediscover your authentic joy.
How was that for you? I'd love for you to share in the comments below what came up for you.
The journey back to your true self is an ongoing process. Embrace it, and may you find solace and fulfillment in the authenticity of your passions.