Below is a photo of my son, then aged around 6 or 7, on the station platform awaiting our train for his first trip to London. His excitement that day was palpable.
On witnessing the speed and air rush of a goods train on the opposing track, his already heightened senses caused a sudden squeal of simultaneous shock and delight. Anything with wheels delighted him and he would spends hours alone, completely satisfied with the company of his cars, trains and tractors making tracks in the flower beds in his specially allocated area.
This ‘free’ ego state, found instinctively as children (assuming they share their homes with non-abusive family members) is often lost to us as we grow from teenagers into young adults and beyond. The ability to find complete pleasure in the small things around us, and giving ourselves permission to press pause on the demands of our day and truly appreciate the moment.
Reading and writing for readers and writers give similar results, as those pastimes can induce moments of elated emotions during a phase of escapism from the confines of expectations. When we have to be in work mode, or concentrate on meaningful conversations, we usually adopt Adult ego state. Whilst here, we know the different between right and wrong; we drive on the correct side of the road, we manoeuvre our bodies towards destinations on a timescale.
We all need a break sometimes. Relax and take time for ourselves. What others may see as selfish is actually a necessary process of maintaining our wellbeing. Once the priorities have been performed, build in time for ‘free’ child ego state once again. Rather than drive across the river at sunset and strain your neck turning your head to look back at the colours streaking across the sky, go park somewhere before the bridge and walk back across it, stand and watch it while breathing deeply. Our ancient ancestors had the time for this, so why don’t we?
My family are next door while I type this. They are happy chit chatting and I am here typing and while my fingers tip tap, my brain is relaxed and my mouth is slightly curved into a smile because writing is my free child ego state. And I apologise to no-one 🙂