Have you ever watched children play and envied the focus they bring to everything they do? Children live entirely in the moment, unburdened by the past or worry about the future. In early childhood, we are naturally assertive in standing up for ourselves and speaking the truth and there is a joyousness, and aliveness we observe in children that we seem to lose as we age.

The wounds that form from the variations of dysfunction present in so many families today create a shift from that original, natural, wonderfully pure spirit that came into the world to a suppressed and defended person who has adapted just to survive their environment. We lose our ability to connect with our bodies, our feelings, our needs and desires. We learn to give up who we are.

I was working with a professional some time ago who asked me to visualize myself as a young child when I was happy, joyous and free, before I learned to protect, defend and modify myself to adapt and survive in the world. At first it was very painful because I could barely remember a time when I hadn’t felt the pain of having lost myself, but in the moment I emotionally connected with myself as a young child, a magical thing happened: I remembered who I was.

Memories came flooding back of dancing on the front lawn in dress-up’s, walking the fence rail, playing in the snow and riding my bike down the hill, over the crack in the sidewalk, no hands. I was once again joyous and uninhibited, happy and courageous. There was nothing I couldn’t do, nothing that could stop the free flow of creativity and fun and Life that was me. I felt that part of myself in a physical, visceral way that reminded me that THIS was the truth of who I am, not all the behaviors I laid on top of it through the years.

Upon having this experience of remembering Who I am, I became determined not to forget again. I started looking at ways I could integrate my Self back into my self. I began to notice that the times when I connected the most with what I came to call my “bodacious inner child” were times when I descended from the intellect and really inhabited my body. I started examining what caused me to do that, and I began to notice that the things that were most effective in helping me access my bodacious inner child all related to inspiration.

The Latin root for the word inspiration is “spirare” which means to breathe. Now I was really on to something. The first thing we have to do when we come into the world is start breathing. The doctors even slap our butts to get us to do it. It is also true that when we breathe full, deep breaths our attention comes into our bodies and we become calmer as happens in meditation.

What does it mean to be “in the body?” When we focus on the past or the future, when we fantasize, when we distract ourselves from feeling our feelings (compulsive/addictive behaviors), when we numb out through television or other media, we are not “in the body”. Mentally, we are focused elsewhere. The intellect is like a computer whose job is to solve problems and interpret the world around us. Many of us focus the mental energy of our intellect on ruminating over the past and how we wish it had been different or worrying about the future, fearing it will not turn out as we wish. I have laid awake many nights trying to figure something out or rehearsing conversations with people I was in conflict with. None of these efforts have ever effected or changed what is right in front of me nor was I really feeling my body while I focused on them. Learning to focus on the moment we are actually living brings us into the body and allows us to tap into the power and presence that is within us. There is certainly no better way to do that than to breathe. So if we were to combine breathing with things that inspire us, we’d have a winning formula.

Some of the things that inspire me are music, dancing, singing, inspirational stories, inspirational movies, beautiful scenery, sharing with like-minded people, skiing, white-water rafting, and roller coasters. Laughter. Making a difference in the lives of others.

Connecting with our childlike spirit is a process that happens over time that can bring many changes and benefits to our lives. I’ve noticed the following:
• A greater sense of inner power and purpose.
• Increased ability to make conscious choices that are in my highest good rather than acting by autopilot.
• A clearer sense of purpose and direction and higher energy to take action.
• A better connection with my inner guidance system.
• Greater consciousness and presence in my moment-to-moment life.
• Knowing what I want and feeling my feelings.
• More assertiveness in expressing myself and my needs.

Have you ever taken a moment to notice those things that energize and inspire you? When is it that you feel truly alive and connected to life all around you? Could it be that the energy, passion and courage you've been wishing for is already inside you? How would your life be different if you connected with the spirit of the child that resides within you and you remembered who you already are?

Author's Bio: 

Jaqui Duvall works as an author, trainer, and spiritual life coach and counselor to help people live authentically and genuinely through defining and connecting with their inner spirit. She develops and delivers workshops, leads mentoring groups and works with individuals to help them identify and express their inner spirit and live a life of consciousness and intention. http://www.theevolvingself.com.