Guest Post by Andrew Lightheart.
When looking for the Truth we’d like to speak/live, I think that sometimes we can get lost ‘deciding’ what our Truth is from a disconnected part of us, a part that’s tied up with the shoulds and oughts of our discursive mind.
Maybe that part feels like it needs to decide on a destination and pursue it in a straight line. Or perhaps the should is that things must be organic and fluid and yin. Or or or…
I have a hunch that there is something more fundamental to discover from nostalgia.
A nostalgia for contented childhood memories.
The rejection of childhood is an automatic, and, to some extent, natural, part of the process of ‘becoming’ ‘adults’ (hyuh, ok!). I certainly know that in my teens and early twenties I was busy mocking and dismissing the child that I was trying desperately not to be.
And yet, I have an intuition that somewhere in that child is part of my essence.
Finding your Truth is by its nature an extremely individual, personal journey.
My hope is that if you give what I’m about to do a go for yourself, that it will bring some warmth and perhaps some gentle surprises, a bit of remembering that is useful in informing your search for the Truth you want to live.
As for me…
…well, I’m going to try this out in front of you… I have really no idea where it will lead.
But, you know, what have I got to lose? (Don’t answer that…)
Childhood… Happy… Contented…
Sitting at my desk in my room making the sets for my model theatre, loving how the layers made an amazing 3-D world.
Sticking together complex paper masks from a book and displaying them in the corners of my room.
Sitting in the caravan that was airing in the front garden, doing an exercise from Drawing From The Right Side of the Brain.
Making up ‘tunes’ on the piano, seeing which notes went with which.
Quiet, imaginative pottering at something that has a mild level of challenge…
Building a Lego town with my Dad, piece by piece, following the diagrams.
The wooden desk/chest of drawers kit that I got the Christmas my Nanny and Grandad came from England to stay with us in Houston. I learned what ‘flush’ meant and how you put all the screws in half-way first. I had my own hammer!
Going through the instructions for my cassette-player-shaped Transformer with my Dad, the chartered engineer, trying to work out the transition from one step to the next.
The week when we studied London at school and normal lessons were suspended and I sewed the crown that went where the Tower of London was. With sequins, of course.
Figuring something out with other people as company…
Sitting on the floor with some kind of family party going on around me, reading the overblown mythology of my new Sea Monkeys. Really, they’ve been preserved over thousands of years? Really, they’ll dance?!
Fighting with my brother every Sunday morning about who watches the colour TV in the living room and who the black-and-white in Mum and Dad’s bedroom. (He wanted to watch the football, I the acrylic painting show. We both needed the colour set, of course.) I loved that show, seeing how things were made, step-by-step.
In a similar mode, I always loved reading manuals… The cookbook that came with our first microwave that explained how it worked! The hoover, my Vic 20, 101 Things to do with 1K…
I lived in a bit of a New Age-y house, so I also got to read books on affirmations, and Silva Mind Control and rebirthing… Wow? Is that how it works?
Reading and learning about how things worked. Finding out…
Sitting behind the sofa late at night, listening to the adults talk.
Sitting with my head on the leg of the teacher’s chair at story time.
Watching Mr Impastado review the week’s overhead projection transparency. He would roll it backwards and clean it off whilst it was being projected. Splat! with the spray. Wipe. The “didn’t” which he had written once by accident with permanent pen, which was there every week. DIDN’T!
Hanging out near people, but with nothing expected of me.
My whole childhood wasn’t sweet quietness, of course. There are other memories which follow different emotional threads.
However, what I get following the contented memories back is this: a very distinct feeling for this cute, shy, nerdy, gentle, sensitive kid who loved learning about stuff, liked getting lost in his own world, loved being left alone to do things his way, but being near people when he wanted.
What do I notice?
The first unexpected one: Wow. A lot of my happy memories are doing things with my hands. That is not how I see myself.
The second unexpected one: I was also a big performer – loved putting on plays and puppet shows, was in all the school plays. But when I surf contentment, the loud stuff just doesn’t show up.
And thirdly, one that makes me smile: the feeling I get from these memories is also a feeling I get when I’m writing on my blog and eavesdropping on Twitter – hanging out near people, doing my own thing, with company if I want it but free to do things my way.
Feels like very quiet, delicious playing.
No wonder I love it so much.
And, sure, there are times in my life when I have to do things I don’t get on with, when I have to do admin, or have meetings with clients when I’m tired or make ‘scary’ ‘grown-up’ phone calls to the bank or the Inland Revenue.
And, yes, I’ve created a fully-functioning persona that is outgoing, and funny, and business-like and social and all that. And I really do love talking to groups and teaching. I mean, really really.
And yet it seems that allowing space for the preferences of my younger self means I don’t burn out my energy so fast, that one unit of energy lasts six hours, rather than 20 minutes.
And perhaps that quiet, slightly disconcerting child might hold a bit of truth which more honestly reflects who I really am, a bit of happiness that maybe I’ve been missing by trying to be who I think I should be.
I certainly feel a lot of affection for him when I remember him this way…
So. Your turn!
Living your Truth has surely got to be as much as possible the Truth of your whole self.
What happens when you surf back through your happy memories?
What do you remember that maybe you’d forgotten?
What would happen if you gently let that kid have a tiny bit more of a say in how you live your life now?
I’m very, very interested in your answers…
Andrew Lightheart blogs about being gentle and useful in conflict and crisis at APeacefulResolution.com. His (current) Truth hunch is that being less certain can be a key to peace. He’s @alightheart on Twitter and would love it if you would say hi, especially if you’re nice.