11. Growth

Looking back on my childhood I remember one of the first things that I’d do when I got home from school was to call a friend and ask if he could come over and play. I can’t remember exactly when I stopped asking that question. When did I graduate from play and onto something else — something maybe less imaginative? I guess at some point along the way playing just seemed too childish.

It was then that I guess I was ready to live life for what it was and not for what it could be. The games of pretending and make-believe became just that, games, and I was eager to move on. It was just a part of growing up.

But memories of that time and of the largeness of life that only a child could feel still flicker in my memory as faint reminders of life’s wonder and its character as total possibility.

Day 11 Guide:

Think of your childhood. Do you remember your first friend? Do you remember some of the games you played? Write about one of your childhood memories as if to once again claim the state of mind that saw life as large and full of possibility.

The capacity to view life as such isn’t lost in the adult, only suppressed and hidden beneath the trials that so often color the days. But a rest from those burdens is possible.

Restoring the perspective of life as one of unlimited possibility requires that you somehow first change, or move, the things that control your experience. In essence, you need to heighten your positive experiences and diminish those that hold you captive. Here’s how to start:

Identify the things that bind your spirit, the things that always seem so important and necessary:

  • Worries or concerns
  • The constant daily chores
  • Pressing deadlines
  • The noise: news, media, politics, etc.

Make an equal list of the things refresh your spirit:

  • Music
  • Friendship, Romance
  • Poetry or Stories
  • Neatness and organization

In upcoming segments I’ll guide you on how to use the elements on your lists. But until then, think of what you can do to change your overall experience by adding emphasis on the things that refresh your spirit. Also, consider ways to release yourself from unnecessary burdens. Try things like quitting reading the newspaper for a week and instead reading a good book. Turn off the television and take a walk during the 6 o’clock news.

— Levi

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