A couple of weekends ago, curled up with a blanket, I rewatched "Hook" – the story where Peter Pan has grown up. As Robin Williams rediscovered Neverland, something unexpected happened to me: I found myself sobbing. Why? Because I think it reminded me of a part of myself that I’m not always very attentive to—my inner-child.
We all have an inner child, that part of us that delights in play, creativity, and spontaneity. But as we grow up, responsibilities often overshadow this playful spirit. For me, even my art, my sanctuary of creativity, has been rigid—I allow her to “play” but only in the confines of the studio. I allow her to create but whatever she creates has to be marketable and “perfect” so I can promote it and sell it. Not really fun or “creative” is it? In fact, it sounds more like the perfectionist had taken over.
After the movie, I did some chair work. Chair work got a bad/awkward wrap after the whole Clint Eastwood thing in 2012, but actually, it’s a very effective Gestalt therapy technique and I’ve used it multiple times to help sort through my own emotional/mental junk. Here’s a definition from mentalhelp.net: “The empty chair technique is a therapeutic approach used in Gestalt therapy that encourages clients to explore and express their feelings towards an imaginary person or an aspect of themselves. The idea is to have a conversation with the empty chair as though it were occupied by someone else or another part of themselves. This helps the client gain insight into their thoughts and emotions.”
During this impromptu session, I asked my inner child what she needed. Her answer was simple yet profound: "Let go of some of your responsibilities. Loosen up." Easier said than done, right?
After thinking about this for a bit, I realized--what if fun could be a practice, like meditation or exercise? What if I could infuse my daily tasks with a sense of play? The truth is, we don't have to lose our inner child as we take on adult responsibilities. We can choose to invite her into our everyday life, to add a spark of joy to even the most mundane tasks—or indulge her and let go of those tasks, even for just a moment. The idea is to create as much “space” for play as possible.
I'm now on a mission to rediscover what fun means to me – beyond the canvas and easel. Each day I’ve been journaling—how can I make today fun? Or sometimes during the day, I’ll just ask myself, “How can I make this more fun?” If I’m journaling at the end of the day, I reflect instead—what was the most playful thing I did today? This practice has given me more awareness around my inner-child and how I experience fun now as an adult—and how much it varies from moment to moment.
I invite you to join me. Ask yourself, how can you bring more play into your life? How can you honor your inner child today? Let’s bring back the laughter, the joy, and the unbridled creativity that comes from our innermost selves.