Find Your Childlike Enthusiasm

I remember the first time I rode a bike without training wheels. Down the street from where I lived, there is a cul-de-sac where a group of friends played every day. I think back so fondly of those innocent moments when life was an exploration of first times.

I was 4 years old. Being the youngest of 3 girls, I always wanted to be doing the same as my older sisters. As a kinesthetic learner, when it came to doing things that required any physical prowess, I seemed to catch on fast. The cul-de-sac where we played had little to no traffic, so it was a hot spot of activity. This one day stands out as a moment that instills that sense of excitement, amazement and wonder - something that as kids, we experienced a lot.

It was a warm and sunny spring day. Having the training wheels just removed, I got onto the seat, and rode with the wind. When I close my eyes I can recreate the feeling from that moment, one that conjures up images of me in flight. I felt weightless, as though gravity had no hold on me, and I glided along the street like a panther running through the jungle.

This was so magical, because the sensation was new. When we are kids, we do everything for the first time when it comes to learning how to use our bodies. All those challenges that seem too big to overcome suddenly aren’t. As we become more skilled and automatic with using our bodies, the new eventually becomes the mundane. 

As kids entering adulthood, there are plenty of first times to keep us excited about life. Your first car, the first time you fell in love, ending school and continuing with secondary education or beginning a job, possible marriage and family . . . you get the picture. These can keep us occupied for a long time. And there are always new and exciting things that we can look forward to; however, as you get a little older and aches and pains begin to accumulate, suddenly those new opportunities can shift from being joyous to downright miserable. When your body hurts, pushing its limits isn’t a game of pleasure and freedom, but becomes a task with limits that often has negative consequences of increased discomfort. In time, many forego the new opportunities, as the joy is trampled on with pain.

But what if you can gain the enthusiasm that was once so freely taken for granted, and as a result, continue to challenge yourself to new heights as you learn how to reconnect with yourself and your cells. Would this be something you would do if you knew you could spark life back into your heart and mind, and rebuild your body to a level where movement has a newness and wonder, bringing about a freedom once lost?

All it takes is a simple yes to commit, and the road can begin. I have learned to play with my body every day. It’s all about becoming conscious of your cells, through bringing awareness to pressure and movement. This can be an entire course in and of itself, but for starters, let’s make this simple.

What is your dominant side? Easy enough. Now, whenever you are about to do an activity, pay attention to your automated movements. For example, when walking up or down the stairs, do you always lead with the same foot? When reaching for a glass, do you always reach with the same hand? When doing any activity, are you on autopilot, simply doing the activity to get it over with as fast as possible?

What if you approached the everyday, from a different perspective. Switch which foot leads first, get used to using the less dominant hand to do tasks (start with the basics and in time, transfer this to more challenging tasks), exhale before answering a question, vacuum with the opposite arm . . . make the everyday a new experience, and see if this brings back some of the awe and wonder we regularly experienced as kids.

Then, after you have become more conscious of your body and how it moves, notice if you have made gains with managing pain, improving range of motion, endurance . . . then continue to challenge your body in fun and new ways to continue to refine this understanding, connect to your cells and make your body an enjoyable instrument to play in life.

The simple actions are often the most profound, if they become a habit. Make using your body an exciting game that comes with multiple benefits and a reawakening of heart, mind and soul. Doing this will activate the frontal lobe to strengthen the brain and reinforce the need to always be learning. As long as you are learning something new, you are still the 4 year old who can experience flight, on a bike!

Breathe & Believe,

Deanna

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