Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time. ~ Joy HarjoFor Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet

Morning, friends!

A few weeks ago, I took my 4- (almost 5, he might add) year-old nephew to the playground. We spent a while on the swings, because he really loves the swings—and to be honest, I do, too. He’s learning to pump his legs but still needs a good push. Watching him glide through the air, I decided to join next to him.
By the way, sometimes you have to shake your head at what life is like for kids in 2019. Back in the olden days, we were excited to watch Disney movies on Saturday night; today’s toddlers own their own iPads. But then I'm heartened to see that some things haven’t changed: together he and I play Uno and Candyland, and at night he gets a certain number of bedtime stories but still stalls for "one more book." And, of course: long live the playground.
Anyhow there I am, living my best life when I decided to share a secret with my swing buddy. “When I was a kid,” I confessed, “I always wanted to jump off, but I never did it because I was too scared.” Even in that moment, as a 31-year-old who's been skydiving before, I felt the flutter. At that point he had slowed to a gentle sway next to me when he replied with words that could only fall out of the mouths of babes, “I get scared too sometimes, Aunt Kelly. But then I remind myself…I have to be brave.”
Whoosh. Well, danggg. Is this what every day is like as a parent? Like, your heart just explodes out of your chest? And you are left as a shell of the human you once were?
He proceeded to announce that he wanted to jump off the swing, so that’s what we spent the next long while doing. I’d give him a big push, and he’d hurl his body forward to face plant on the mulch a few feet away. After the first rough landing, I was nervous he’d never try it again. But again, he leapt. Probably twenty or so more. With that, he teaches me there’s always time to finesse the landing.
In the realm of psychotherapy, some therapists talk about inner child work. It says that many of us have wounds from our childhood, and it could perhaps become our life’s work to uncover them, and to nurture and heal them. If you are a follower of Julia Cameron, you're well aware of her lesson that we're all creatives, it's just that we need to tap into that inner child. And beyond all that on the most basic level, we have tons of literature to back up the importance of play (free, fun, imaginative, unstructured and spontaneous activities). Adults who play are found to live longer, and they're found to have better cognition and memory than those who don't. On a neurological level, "Play looks like an emergency but isn't. It's a simulated emergency. The frontal lobes win out over the reflexive phenomena in the back of the brain." We can enjoy and experiment, without the adrenaline and endocrine response of an actual dangerous situation—like the tiny nervous flutter you might get on the playground as an adult.

I spent countless hours on my childhood swing set as a kid. I can still feel the rope beneath my fingers, the sun-faded orange rubber seat, and hear the rough squeaks as they chirped the higher I soared. Would it have occurred to me that the same legs I used to get that high could also catch me if I jumped off?
With my nephew’s adorably innocent wisdom apparently rattling around in my psyche as we explored the turtles and birds of Virginia's suburbs, I announced to my mom: “I wish I’d caught fireflies in a jar as a kid.”

She looked at me incredulously and goes, “Of course you did!”
Whaaattt? How could I have forgotten such a memory? And yet, perhaps there are many things I once knew, but have since forgotten. Like how to toss a frisbee, how to make art without comparing it to anyone else's art, how to eat an ice cream cone without thinking about the sugar, how to lose track of time, how to make up games in the car, how to swim in the pool until my fingers turn to raisins. And, maybe even: how to jump off that swing.
Ah, well. I’ve got all summer to practice.
Here’s to remembering,

Try this at home ✍

There are three things that kids lack the frame of reference to care about, and it makes them pure and wise. Those things are: 1) time, 2) money, and 3) results. My charge this summer for myself and for you guys too, should you choose to join, is to surrender attachments around those things for one activity (or more!) to tap into what feels purely good. It doesn't have to cost anything, shouldn't feel like a burden, and should be free of any "outcome."

Here's mine:
  • When I was a kid, every night we would say grace before dinner. I had no clue what "thy bounty" meant, but I liked how we took turns saying it, and the routine. I can't believe how frequently I eat meals now without pausing for five seconds to be grateful. I'd like to be better about that.
  • Also: I was an absolute bookworm. I would read for an hour or more before bed every night. That is something my inner child could stand to impart on her adult form. Less screen at night—more page turning.
  • All that, plus the swing set leap and the shriveled pool fingers.
What about you? Share, and I'll add it to the list of responses I'm collecting in my Instagram highlights. 

~Retreat into your intuition!~

What does it feel like to be intuitive? To be certain and trusting of your needs and desires? To know what your body, heart and mind are telling you? I'm hosting a retreat with Catherine Andrews in the beauty of Shenandoah, Virginia September 25-27...and we will explore all that and more. Early birds who sign up before July 1 can snag $50 off, and as Om Weekly subscribers you get another 15% off the listed rates. I hope you can join! Deets are here.

What's up

I actually wrote a lot this week, and didn't read a lot of substance, so not a ton to share here. However, I did want to mention and shout-out to fabulous local D.C. bookstore, Politics & Prose, where I just signed up for a workshop on creating fictional characters. It actually appears it just sold out—but if you live in D.C. you should check out their classes and events because they are great. 

Tunes 🎶

The playlist has a refresh. And I made one that's allll about the inner child. So fun. Have a listen! 
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