When was the last time you paused and took the time to be curious and observe children at play? Each person in the world is a teacher and there is something to be learned from everyone no matter what age or stage of life. I believe children are our greatest teachers – especially those around the age of four or five. Robert Fulghum highlighted this notion when he wrote his poem (and subsequent book) about kindergarten.
“Most of what I really need
to know about how to live
and what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.”
Everything you need to know about being a fabulous, perfect YOU is already present in that early stage of life. As a little girl growing up in Oklahoma, I loved to skip around the block, ride the miniature roller coaster at my backyard kindergarten, hang out with puppies and kittens, eat ice cream, take naps, dress in sparkles and have permission to get dirty. I could ride my bike for hours without exhaustion because I loved it so much. Chalk was my favorite writing utensil and Tarzan and The Three Stooges brought me adventure and laughs. Road trips to the California beach and floating for hours on a raft in the middle of a peaceful lake still resonate. In fact, most of these things (or at least their essence) are where I find love and joy today. They are the things I know about living my life and being me—both then and now.
Several decades later, I still know it feels delicious to take a nap on a warm or rainy afternoon and there is sweetness in being gently awakened by someone I love. Sharing is delightful whether with a friend or stranger. Seeing a person’s face brighten is worth offering a lick of my ice cream cone, a seat on the bus, or a kind word. I also know it’s physically impossible to be angry while skipping. Doing something that elevates my heart rate with excitement and a touch of trepidation is worth the risk. Coming out on the other side and saying “I did it!” is one of the best sensations ever. Undertaking something risky each day brings living into life... and you get to decide what “risky” looks like for you.
We innately know what’s best for us (although it’s sometimes forgotten through years of poor habits and trying to follow everyone else’s advice). Our bodies know what is satisfying and nourishing... whether it’s cookies and milk after a lingering nap or gluten-free pizza and fresh garden veggies that comfort the soul.
An adult’s knowledge and a child’s wisdom are the perfect prescription for living life beautifully. Today, imagine what it might be like to nurture and trust the wisdom you instinctively knew as a healthy child. If you’re uncertain as to how or where to begin... Start slowly, be gentle with yourself, and explore...
· Watch children at play.
· Notice what you love and who makes you smile. Acknowledge generously.
· Laugh every day.
· Skip when angry. (If you find yourself in a situation where skipping isn’t immediately possible, then imagine doing it. The results are nearly as effective!)
· Eat well. Dine when hungry. Stop when full. Ask what would best nourish you in the moment.
· Move your body.
· Claim peaceful moments.
· Remember what you already know!