(This is totally something that would happen to me)
Today I want to tell you about something that I love. LOVE, love, love. Ready? Okay, I’ll tell you.
I LOVE DATES!!!
Now, before you get carried away thinking that this means I have an extreme liking for trying to get to know a half-stranger over dinner or some awful thing, let me explain. I love dates…by myself. (That is not to say that I don’t like “real” dates, especially if they are with someone who is no longer a stranger and that I adore with every fiber of my being and love being around, but that is not the subject of this post).
I’ve always loved solo Jo time, but spending time alone is a lot different than solo “date” time. “Date” time is planned ahead, thought out and guarded with a vengeance. Just as the purpose of a DATE date is to get to know or to spend time with someone, the purpose of my solo dates is to spend time with my inner child, my inner self, with Little Jo. It’s a chance for her to be heard, for her to express her heart, for her to have some unabashed fun. That is not to say that I can’t be my little kid fun self around others, because I most certainly can, but solo date time is precious. When someone else is there I say different things, I think and do different things. Even if the other person is silent they are a shadow, a presence. (PS I got the idea for solo dates from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is an amazing book, if you’re interested.)
When I am on a date with myself, I listen to Little Jo completely. It is a time when I turn off my critic, that nagging little voice that tells me I’m “too old” or “too poor” to do this or that I can’t paint the sun purple because the sun is yellow or that I can’t use that word because it doesn’t exist or that if I act a certain way then I'll be a social outcast forever and on and on. It's our silly, childlike qualities that allow us to explore and create without inhibition and our inner critics keep us trapped in the "shoulds". The critic isn’t invited on my dates. End of story.
Little Jo and I do whatever we want on our dates, and Little Jo always gets to choose. If she wants to splash around in a tub of bubbles, that’s what we’re going to do. If she wants to explore a bowl of decadent ice cream with all 5 senses then we will! If she wants to go to the symphony, for a walk up the canyon, rock hunting, rollerblading on a new trail, on a tour of the capitol, rolling down hills…then we will! If she wants to finger-paint, explore an antique shop, play at the park, dress up and pretend she’s a hobo next to the river, go to a poetry reading, see how many colors of leaves she can find, go shopping for a new houseplant-friend, watch the sunset, read a book, fly a kite, make a kite, go to a museum, buy a bushel of helium balloons and record herself reciting a poem in French, attend a symposium on astronomy, make paper or take a drum class, by golly that’s how we’re going to spend our date time. Nothing is too silly for a solo date. Sometimes Little Jo and I even like to go on weekend excursions, so date time isn’t limited to just a few hours.
My date time with Little Jo is time of self-discovery, of awakening, of loving and learning and laughter. It is a time to see with little kid eyes the wonders that are in the world and inside me. It is some of the most sacred, beautiful and fun time I ever spend. Hands down.
And now I’m curious….What are some of the things you do to reconnect with yourself, to give yourself a break, to find that unabashed, little kid joy for life? Do you have a little ritual or practice that gets you out of the box and into yourself? Anyone??