Materials needed: pen or pencil and paper; whatever materials you need to relive your favorite childhood activity
Before beginning this exercise, take a few moments to be still and sense the presence of God with you. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through this activity and reveal what he wants you to know.
Now recall a favorite creative childhood activity: coloring, playing with dolls or toy soldiers, making houses out of shoe boxes, molding mud pies or playing with clay or Play Dough, building with blocks, Legos, or an erector set, playing a toy musical instrument, sewing clothes for your dolls, building a race car out of wood, performing science experiments, building electronic gadgets, etc. Perhaps you put on plays with your friends, ran carnivals to raise money for charitable causes or created costumes or a haunted house for Halloween. Maybe you collected stamps or a certain toy (I used to collect toy horses), maybe you admired a particular movie or TV star and put together a scrapbook … go back and revisit your favorite childhood activity and actually engage in that activity again if you can. Stay with it for a while even if it feels strange to you.
Write down what you were feeling while engaged in that activity:
- How did you feel at first as you engaged in this activity? Weird or foolish? Awkward or embarrassed? Happy, sad, or nostalgic? Describe the activity and your reaction to it: Did you experience a “déjà vu” moment, a rush of memories? Perhaps the activity left you feeling flat—can you recall why you used to like it? Are there people associated with this activity? Who are they and how do you feel as you remember them?
- Did you forget at first how to do the activity? Were you able to eventually reconnect to it and if so, how? If you were not able to reconnect, how did that make you feel?
- What connection, if any, do you see between that activity and your life today? If it doesn’t figure in, do you want it to, and how would you incorporate it?
- Does this activity reveal something about you that was long forgotten? What does the activity say about you? Did it reacquaint you with something long dormant? Describe that connection.
Enter into prayer with God and ask him to reveal to you the meaning of this favorite activity and how it relates to your present life. What is he trying to teach you about yourself? Do not be concerned if the answer doesn’t come right away; take your notes and place them where you can see them each day and offer them up to God as part of your daily prayer, asking for his wisdom and insight. Once something is revealed to you, return to your notes and write down what you learned and then thank God for that insight.
copyright 2015 Susan W. Bailey;
from Chapter 5 of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times,
published by Ave Maria Press