Around the world, people spend billions of dollars each year striving to restore their youth. This is an attainable goal … and it won’t cost you tons of money.
It’s the end of another beautiful summer in Southern California.
As I walked along the beach, I noticed the demographic shift in the tourists who were enjoying the last warm hours of sunshine for the day. By now, families with older children have returned home to start the new school year. They have been replaced by younger families who are not yet bound by the same annual calendar.
Everywhere you look, you see little bodies … running, digging, splashing, laughing.
A young grandmother ran past me. She was doing her best to keep up with her grandchild who was enthusiastically charging towards the water’s edge.
The little girl’s blonde hair flashed behind her—a dancing testimony to unrestrained bliss and youthful zeal. Her pretty face was decorated with a vibrant smile and dancing eyes.
The doting grandparent was grinning as she rushed past me—her life overflowing with ecstasy, as the infectious rapture of her tiny prodigy enlivened her own pleasure. She flashed a smile at me, with these tantalizing words …
“I wish I was 4 years old again!”
At first, I heard the message with polite amusement. “Yes, of course, we all do”, I thought.
As I continued my walk, the words sank in, striking deep resonance within. I turned to look at the crowded beach, and with profound sincerity I said out loud …
“Yes, of course … we all do!!”
You see, I have realized through both my personal and professional lives that every one of us is involved, throughout our mortal existence, in the earnest pursuit of joy as our highest aspiration. Every client that I see today, whether a Fortune 100 CEO looking to be better next year, an Olympic athlete training for victory in Tokyo, or a hard-working parent who comes to me to find courage and direction, is looking for the same thing: happiness.
And there it was, right in front of me. And the grandmother knew it!
Over the past decade, I have come to realize that we were born perfect. Mother Nature designed us to be healthy and happy. I see the evidence as a scientist, an executive coach, and as a student of life. I see clearly how the modern lifestyle—characterized by sedentary living, overeating, relative sleep deprivation and social isolation—is increasingly depriving us of these two birthrights.
More importantly, I see that when we honor our Natural Design, we are rewarded with these same two elusive prizes: health and happiness.
We would all do well, not only to wish to be 4 years old again, but to study the life of a 4-year old, emulating their instinctive practices … especially on the beach!
To start with, they move. Lots! They seem to respond to a natural drive to keep busy. As their bare feet hit the sand, their legs erupt into wild action. And it’s not only their legs. It never ceases to amaze me how children like to dig in the sand. When I walk on the beach, I frequently have to step around a whirl of little arms that are wildly clawing sand out of a meaningless hole that is growing in size with each frenzied scoop.
And when last did you try to get a 4-year old to eat? They seem to understand that food is for nourishment and not pleasure. They eat when they’re hungry (responding to the ache in their belly and not the imaginary ache in their mind).
And, at the end of the day, they collapse with the birds and the setting sun into a deep sleep, to restore body, mind and spirit. Their carefree rest allows Mother Nature’s little helpers to groom synapses and remove clutter from growing brains, while repairing and strengthening the organs and limbs that sustain our vital existence.
But that’s not all. In fact, this is only half of it. The real magic is taking place deep within their untainted psyche.
At our psychic roots, we are all children. You will often hear people speak fondly of “the child within”. That is the simple, trusting, creative and courageous soul that we were born with.
Then life happens. The well-intentioned admonishments and warnings of caring parents, and the inevitable traumatic events associated with the human condition, systematically induce protective layers that steadily separate us from childhood and childishness. With these steps, we begin the inevitable journey away from innate joy.
Today, I work with adults to understand the myriad of sub-personalities that spawn within them in response to real life trauma. And it doesn’t need to be the giant traumas you read about in the newspapers. Each shock to our inner child induces a protective response. And each time, we bury that innocent, hopeful self a little more.
This may sound like a thoroughly depressing world view to hold. And if it stopped there, it would be.
But I have learned through my personal life, by studying the world’s most composed leaders, and through the amazing transformations of my own clients that this is not the path we are condemned to.
There is a better way, and we have a choice.
First, despite the societal pressures that conspire to keep us inactive, overfed, unrested and isolated, we can choose to pursue daily habits and practices that restore our natural design. The inescapable reward is physical and emotional health.
Second, there are proven techniques for understanding and nurturing our inner psyches. With the help of a skilled, caring and well-trained guide, each one of us can appreciate the complicate mosaic of our inner landscape. Without getting trapped in gloomy or narcissistic introspection, each of us has the capacity to achieve self-mastery … an elusive state where we combine the wisdom of the adult with the hopefulness of the child.
This is the true path to joy and abundance.
If you have never tasted this, the most powerful and rewarding phase of your life remains ahead of you. If you don’t believe in this, then I’m very sad for you, and I hope that it doesn’t take a major negative event to shake your world before you look for more. Once you have tasted this, you will never look back. Your life becomes a magnificent journey, striving for deeper insight and consciousness, while you enjoy the fruits of your mortal birthright.
If you, or someone you love would like to taste abundance, please reach out to me right away. I am honored to work every day with wonderful men and women striving to liberate their inner child.
Yes, indeed … there is great value to be found in chasing 4-year olds.