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Do you know where you left your spark?  

It’s ok if you don’t know sat reading this right now.  Or perhaps you just don’t remember. 

You think perhaps you may have wrapped it up and hidden it so well for safe keeping, like a precious heir loom tucked right at the back of your wardrobe behind your winter coats, you’ve just forgotten it.  But you do feel that spark flicker inside you from time to time, don’t you? And, when you do, it makes you smile and think back to that time as a kid when you were so easily happy when […………..insert your memories which might be popping up right now].

A few years ago if you had asked me what sparks my joy I would have said “Bob…. mhhh….Maybe puppies.  Yes, Bob and puppies.  I also like (in no particular order) Netflix, wine, dancing and the gym, does that count”?  And how did I feel back then?  Pretty – dead – inside.  I had a broken heart and had forgotten who I was along the path to becoming a seemingly fully functioning successful adult.  But the pain of that broken open heart started me on an unexpected journey, I didn’t know I was beginning, or was on, to finding my spark again.

It’s a funny human pattern really.  We’re born innately knowing who we are.  As kids we don’t just KNOW what our spark is, we LIVE from it!  As a young child I could spend HOURS outside with our dog making jumps out of chairs running around in our very own backyard gymkhana or making myself costumes out of kitchen paper and shamelessly bouncing around pretending to be She-Ra in a ridiculously short paper towel skirt  (singing loudly: “by the power of She-Ra”)….. But then something happens, doesn’t it: every month we get a little older and we get a little less innocent as the people around us start preparing us to be out in the world.  With the VERY best of intent, others start to try and control us, because sparks aren’t always that convenient are they nor “appropriate”?  Because it’s not all that convenient when Bob wants to dance around and not do his schooling or he wants to shout a silly word out REALLY loudly in the park because he LOVES making people laugh.  Right now, there’s no hiding his spark.  My little 5 year old showman is a performer and I’m trying to learn how to nurture his spark, not crush it – but this is for many of us part of our journey here on earth… have your spark dampened down enough so you fit into the world you will eventually have to go out and live in, only to have to find that spark again sometime later on.

Because whilst we might arrive here on earth knowing who we are this isn’t what we’re taught to BE.  We’re taught what to DO to fit in to “normal” society.  To be good boys and good girls and “achieve” and “succeed” in school, college, work and life. All great things which keep us secure and alive. But this system crushes our innate individual spark to create a tribe of workers ready to go out and produce with their inefficient and awkward kinks of individuality neatly ironed out.  And many of us have become masters of packing away all the pieces of ourselves that didn’t fit into this model of doing over being, like our loud singing, chit chatting or my glittery bright pink polka dot tops which aren’t appropriate for corporate life (p.s I wear them now 🙂 ).  Piece by hidden piece we slowly move further and further away from the core truth of who we really are as we put on our suited armour of adulthood to survive.

As children we are fearless, as adults we largely are not as we learnt some shame and guilt along the way. And trust me, living true to our spark out in the world as an adult can require some bald badassary, but it’s worth it to feel alive again! And wouldn’t the world be a little more interesting and a little more colourful if we did? (p.s. your spark might involve star wars and plain black baggy t shirts. it’s all good.  I’ll wear the pink, you wear the black!).

I think an unexpected gift of the pandemic life experience is that the pain of our broken hearts and grief for our former lives have forced us to look again.   As the usually easy external escapes like going to the gym and pub were taken away we were forced to find the threads to lead us back to our simple sparks of joy inside again.  Would we have done this if we we weren’t being forced right now to find a flicker of joy in the dark?

It’s what brings me here today. I genuinely had ZERO idea before Lockdown started that I enjoyed writing and that it might bring joy to others!  I had also forgotten how much I liked creating things (remember the She-Ra skirt!). I knew I loved sharing things with other people and connecting random things together.  But blurting them out honestly over the blinking internet; you’ve got to be kidding me! How about you?  What have you discovered growing in the dark?  I have a friend in her forties with 4 children who in lockdown has started running for the first time and now LOVES it.  Or my friend Nancy who, whilst stuck at home in Lockdown, rediscovered a gift of sketching, something she hasn’t done since being a child.  And look how she captured Bob’s spark for me!   Her spark is helping others to see theirs too. 

So if your list of “what tickles your heart” and sparks your joy sounds like my 2018 short reading list of Netflix and wine… let’s go deeper within now, where a flicker of light awaits you to be found and turned back on again.  Loved painting by numbers as a child?  Bird watching?  Dancing the flamenco?  Listening to punk rock? Why not give it a go again and see what sparks might fly now (in a good way) or what new sparks it might lead you to discover next.  Some sparks aren’t so child like… 

Your fun journey of spark exploration will inevitably bring you more joy than staying sat in the dark ever will.  Enjoy the journey my friends!

Love (a sparky feeling),

Lauren  x

P.S. If this resonates and you haven’t yet watched “Soul” on Disney+ you might want to…

P.S.S Check out my friend’s Instagram page (@nancyroberts00) to see her amazing drawings!  And DM her on Insta if you would like to commission her to capture your spark too!  

P.S.S.S Check out “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron if you want a roadmap to finding your creative spark again.  There’s a reason it became a bestseller again in Lockdown!

 

 

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