Children have an innate wisdom and capacity for joy that we, as a society, easily overlook and often train away. Most kids come into this world knowing that the path to joy is spontaneous expression. The magic here is that the nuances in our expression have traces to our unique gifts and inherent contributions to the world when we are brave enough to trust the call.
Our childlike ability to find delight in simple pleasures is a skill that we humans have to work to keep through adolescence and into adulthood, but one that's well worth the effort.
While in grad school, my cohort was guided through a series of exercises to excavate memories from our childhoods, which later became a blueprint toward greater creative expression and ultimately-- at least for me-- a career path aligned with our purpose.
One of the things I remembered in this process was that when I was little I felt a distinctive "calling" that I was meant for something BIG. Even though I didn't know what this meant yet, the feeling fueled fueled many visions strung together by a sense of possibility that excited me enough to consistently lead with curiosity, a desire to learn, and try new things. This zest for life eased the more difficult experiences like the pain of my parent's divorce, being bullied, and an extreme emotional sensitivity that often felt isolating.
Even then I could sense that this vague 'bigness' on the horizon was inextricably linked with love, joy, creativity and a sense of adventure.
It's easy to get led astray by the notion that creativity is this thing-- this doing-- outside of ourselves; that adventure needs to be grand summits. What I (re)discovered in grad school (and have since committed myself to sharing with others) is that creativity is not what we do... it's who we are. A sense of adventure is merely a choice to tap into our innate playful nature. It's always available.
'Creativity' is simply the name we give to the process of being human in a world that we will never fully understand, but that we will die trying to make meaning of... and this process gets to be as joyous as we choose to make it. Creativity is perception.
So, that bigness-- in case you felt it too or are remembering it now-- it's allowed to be fulfilled by a return to simple pleasures that feed us, the work that gives us a sense of meaning, and the steady growth of allowing ourselves to open to the unknown.
I was reminded recently that "happiness is a continuum of moments that are not resisted." Who is better at traversing this continuum than the child that is creative in her very bones?
So, what sparked you as a kid? I dare you to carve out the space to reconnect with that part of yourself because there you will find your soul's blueprint to finding big joy of being your uniquely human self. If you need more reason than joy, know that the world needs you to rediscover this part of yourself. Little me is rooting for you in a big way!