“….it can happen to you, If you’re young at heart”. Remember the song that Frank Sinatra and Walt Disney made so famous? If you aren’t familiar with it or would like a boost of innocence, wisdom, and sweet hope, have a listen:
The song is a classic because it speaks to the hunger in so many of us to recapture our innocent joy and the fulfillment of our youthful passion and dreams. Even if your childhood was challenging, as so many childhoods are, perhaps you can remember certain times or activities that brought you great joy and a sense of autonomy — or a connection to something bigger than your family.
For me, getting on my bicycle seems to instantly conjure a powerful memory of joyfully riding my bike alone, at about age 10, to my piano lessons at the home of Mrs. Bonebreak (yes, it was really her name!). She was my piano teacher who lived about 6 or 7 blocks away in our subdivision. I know it wasn’t far, but I guess part of the thrill was feeling a little like a grown-up, out on a mission after school, without parental supervision or my younger sister tagging along.
Perhaps part of the joy was also about my dreams of creating music. In the beginning, I think I had fantasies of being a great piano player someday. Unfortunately, my first big recital, in front of maybe a hundred or more people, was nerve-wrackingly overwhelming and, in fact traumatizing, causing me to toss my dreams of future piano playing. I am not going to blame my parents for letting me quit – been there, done that. And I really wasn’t all that talented, to be honest. Nevertheless, live music can move me now to blissful tears of joy.
But I digress; the point I’m trying to make is that when we are young, we have innocent hope, and we have dreams. As we age, “life” happens to our heart-felt dreams, and they begin to calcify. Perhaps we settle for less than what we had been hoping for. Perhaps loss, disappointment, self-judgment, and resignation creep in, along with hectic schedules, grown-up responsibilities, diminishing physical vitality and just plain not as much fun…need I say more? Can you relate a bit?
As our fun shrinks, so can our gratitude and even our hope. This will surely make you feel and look old. I’m often reminded of that saying that goes something like this: It’s easy to be grateful when you’re sitting down to a feast; but the challenge (and mastery) is to be grateful when you’re starving. How do you hang on to gratitude and youthful hope when the external world isn’t giving you what you are wanting?
The key is to remember to return to feeling “young at heart” by refreshing your spirit when feeling overwhelmed by all the grown-up stuff – the constant bills, the heavy schedules, the inevitable communication problems, the inevitable losses, lack of sleep, disappointment, and more. Feeling young is to be curious, to be open to the new, to take risks, to play, and to be vulnerable. Without vulnerability and some risk-taking, nothing new can come in; you’re only replaying the same old patterns, beliefs, and habits. Life gets small if you lose fun, courage, and hope – please don’t let that happen. Find what puts a “song” in your heart. Here are 7 things I do regularly to keep my heart feeling young:
- I have a daily meditation practice to turn inward; it’s a time for only my authentic, inner experience – not attending to the needs of others or the perceived pressures of life. This is refreshment from the Source! Drinking in the sweet juiciness of the present moment, there’s nothing to do but just BE. The more I drink, the sweeter I realize it is. I also feel blessed that I can give myself Deeksha to quickly connect with this sacred space.
- If I’m so unhappy that I can’t conjure up the will to meditate, I play some of my favorite music to lift me out of dullness or funk. If it moves me to dance or sway a bit, I’ve struck gold!
- I get outside and move the body. One of my big joys is simply taking a walk in a natural setting. Walking can be great meditation, as can any athletic movement – swimming, biking, running. Yoga is great. All kinds of movement get me out of my head and into my body. Bodies are made to move and we can help shift stagnant energy in our auric energy field by moving.
- I feel my emotions as fully and as much as possible. I let myself cry, laugh heartily, love, or feel absolutely despondent. Humans are meant to feel; this, too, shifts stuck energy in our field.
- I create; Creativity is our very nature. For me, it’s writing. For someone else, it might be anything from sculpting, to cooking, gardening, or re-organizing the garage. I recommend doing what makes you lose track of time!
- I call or hang out with loved ones and friends when I’m feeling hopeless or low. Even though it might be your inclination, I don’t recommend isolating yourself when you feel unlovable. Humans need humans, or perhaps an adoring pet, to remind you that you’re not alone in this world.
- I give away my time, talent, and treasures. You’ve got to give it away to have it! When you feel depleted, that’s the time to help someone, somehow. Like it’s said, it’s easy to be grateful at a feast, but when you’re hungry, this is the time to rally – even if you have to fake it ‘till you make it, if necessary. Give!
And here’s a really powerful secret: Give away what you want to receive. It really works. Perhaps you won’t receive what you’re hoping for, on your timetable, and perhaps you’ll not receive it from the source you give to, but do give with faith, as if you have a limitless supply; for in fact you do. The universe is constantly flowing energy, so get in the flow of life to stay young at heart…your fairy tales might just come true!
If you are looking for support (and some magical fun) in sparking your creativity or igniting your dreams, please consider joining an upcoming six-week, telephonic and shamanic, Career & Creativity Empowerment Group. You’ll meet and work with your own, personal Spiritual Guide to dispel the inner obstacles and roadblocks to empowered success. We’ll be doing shamanic journeying each week and you’ll receive Deeksha to put wings under your feet. This group begins Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 7:30-9pm Central time. Check it out here. Please let me know if you have questions or want to register — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Only a couple of spots left!