“The secret to genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age.” – Aldous Huxley
This picture is indicative of what my youngest daughter Alena loves to do whenever we have the opportunity to go to the beach. Whether she is prepared with the right clothing or not (I think those were jeans), she tends to find a way to indulge herself in one of her favorite pastimes, and although I took this picture over two years ago, it reminds me of her still carefree and loving personality.
In this moment nothing else mattered to her except essentially jumping over the waves as they came crashing ashore. I remember as I was watching Alena and her friend, I thought to myself, “to be young again.” Not so much from a chronological stance, but from a state of mind. A place where life is simple. Our cares are few, our concern about those cares are minimal and our dispositions tend to be renewed promptly after a good night sleep.
Although life can often become complex and full of unplanned events, learning the art of being carefree can essentially become a lifesaver for those of us (like me) that can get a bit stressed and overly uptight at times. Not to say that we should not address our issues responsibly and thoughtfully, but have we established a rhythm or balance that allows us to breathe and release, in the midst of hard or stressful times?
According to the Richmond Hypnosis Center (April 2013), 110 million people die every year directly due to stress, that is 7 people every 2 seconds dying from stress. What a staggering number! If that does not get us thinking twice about how we manage our lives, I am not sure what will.
From the very big things like how we handle tragedy, manage money (especially when there seems to not be enough), to the daily grind of our part in making relationships successful. Life is hard, but our perspective on those hard things is what can get us through when we are beginning to lose sight or lose hope.
Now ultimately it is not enough to say, “forget about all my problems and let’s go to the beach”. That would obviously be irresponsible and will most likely get you evicted, fired or you may find yourself alone in a relationship. However, I believe there is a way to balance the responsibility while maintaining your joy.
Somethings we learn the hard way, and we also realize that we cannot necessarily change or alter things because they involve the minds of other people, however the other variables in our overall destinies is you and me as individuals. The one person we can control is the person staring at us in the mirror, and although even this too can be quite challenging, it is ultimately where our power lies.
The one thing I have learned from my children (especially when they were younger) is to keep life simple. Granted, playing or jumping around at the beach will not cause any of our problems to dissipate, but there is nothing like taking a walk on a trail, taking in nature or going to the gym to release some stress.
The fact of the matter is absolutely nothing about the circumstance may alter, but the key component is you, me and our collective perspectives. That is what kills us. When we see no hope or way out we become disillusioned, depressed and with thoughts that can lead to irrational and illogical decisions.
How many poor choices have you made while in this state? Do those decisions still haunt you today? Was there a lesson to be learned from it? Have you learned the lesson?
I have learned through experience to never make a decision while I am angry. Every time, I have come to regret it and have usually suffered from it in some sort of way. So because I refuse to continue to repeat bad history, I remain open to new ideas and ways to view my life. In addition to my prayer life and seeking God for answers I keep that child-like attitude towards everything.
When I find myself becoming too serious or methodical about a situation, I do the following:
1. Sleep on it – a good night sleep does wonders for the mind. You will awake refreshed, renewed and ready to handle the situation with a different mindset and more energy.
2. Release the stress – get involved with an activity, e.g. Exercise, massage, talking to a trust worthy and wise friend and prayer. Remember that stress kills and usually we can feel it in the form of neck and back tightness, headaches, stomach aches, sleepless nights, etc. I love going to the beach. I purposefully went to the beach years ago to take a nap while I listened to the waves on the background. It did me wonders.
3. Know when to walk away or pause – at times it is imperative that we give ourselves a moment to think about what is happening. People may be pressing you to make a decision now, but give yourself time to reflect and consider all the facts before giving any answers.
Even if for a moment, when we give ourselves the opportunity to take a second look, revisit the whys or confirm in our hearts that we are making the right decision, it could mean all the difference. Choices we make that have any bearing on the rest of our lives require our keen attention, sound minds and balanced thoughts, so however you arrive at this place, give yourself a reason to do so.
For me, I will remember the beach and Alena jumping over the waves in her jeans like it mattered. And for her it did. An example I will always remember and take to heart.