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Even during the chaos of the pandemic, I experience moments of joy.
I find myself in a constant state of astonishment at the inner strength we possess to overcome challenges, awed by all the never-ending miracles, and fascinated by the healing power of creativity and nature.
Was I always this way? No!
My childhood was strict, serious, and plagued by rigid rules. The motto in my home was “children should not be seen or heard.” As a result, I was shy, invisible, alone, and emotionally numb. School life wasn’t easy, either. Kids bullied me for belonging to a minority religion and for being “different.”
What saved me? The power of my imagination.
I escaped from the struggles of my childhood by developing endless stories and plays in my head long into the night—envisioning a world of unconditional love, tolerance, and unity, and dreaming of a career as a writer, singer, and actress.
Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and he was spot on. No one could take away my inner dreamer—no matter what.
As soon as I left for college, my true spirit came out of hiding and an innate tendency toward playfulness, laughter, and joy rose to the surface. I was no longer an invisible wallflower. I felt free to be gregarious, creative, fun-loving, adventurous, empowered, expressive, and vocal. Talk about unexpected transformation!
After college, I became an early childhood music educator. As I witnessed the toddlers in my class react with a natural tendency toward inner freedom, curiosity, and joy, they secretly became my role models in “how to have a happy childhood.” Because I wanted to ignite a lost part within myself, I observed their behavior and watched their delight as they explored every facet of life.
I saw that simple things mattered. Toddlers would spot a piece of paper and crawl or walk over to it with curiosity. Wow! A piece of paper. What a find! They may not have known that it was even called “paper.” It was simply a fascinating “something.”
As they held, shaped, crinkled, folded, and tore it into tiny little pieces, they reacted with astonishment. The intensity of their constant wonder continued every time they took a new step, touched the bark of a tree, splashed in the bathtub, tasted food, or looked up at the sky and saw a rainbow.
My observations of these beautiful children helped me to understand the spiritual essence of a healthy childhood and carry it into my adult life. I learned how to release self-imposed report cards, negative badges, restrictive personal labels, and self-deprecating criticisms. It is never too late to transform, reinvent who we thought we were, release unhealthy labels and stereotypes, and invite rebirth and new beginnings.
Join me. Let’s tap into our toddler spirit and never let it go.
Free yourself to be yourself, forgive the past, and don’t look back for a second. Stay in the present, listen to the wisdom whispers of your highest intuition, and invite more moments of wonder into your life.
Toddlers know all the secrets to living life with joy. Follow their lead, live their wisdom, and share your joy with everyone you meet.