There are several imaginative exercises that I like to use while working with a client. But my favorite, by far, is the visit with little me exercise. So it goes like this. You're at home doing whatever it is that you do at home on a normal evening and an unexpected ring of the doorbell sings out. You go to the door and answer and there you find.........little you. You're standing there in that favorite outfit that you loved to wear when you were about 7 years old. You have suitcase in hand and maybe one other prized possession. For me, it's Kid Sister. This little you says "Hey! I'm here to visit for a while" and walks right in.
Now here's where the fun begins!! What would little you think of your home? What would she be impressed with? What would she love? What would she hate? What would she be surprised to see? What questions would she have? What would the two of you do? Would she be happy to see what you have? What things would she be sad about? What feedback would she give you?
I absolutely love this exercise because I love to watch, even the hardest self critic, soften and sink into the vision. I love to see the subtle smile that comes across their face as they visualize themselves in such an innocent state, untarnished by the trials to come ahead. I love to see the love in their eyes as they imagine standing before themselves as a child; to hear how they would embrace themselves; to see the tears that fall gently when they have to explain some hard things to their little selves. I love to see the men get excited about letting their little selves let loose and say cuss words. (just a few....let's not get crazy with it) I feel radiated with warmth and joy watching a person remember themselves, absent their inner critic, being embraced by their adult selves who wants to protect that little person with all they have. I could jump from my seat and run a lap when they realize....my life really isn't that bad. In fact, it's pretty good when I look at it through my little eyes.
I came up with a short list of things that little me wanted and was elated to see checked off one by one. I have a house with stairs and a big bath tub, a backyard (bonus points for the swing set), a pink bike, snacks (most importantly Pepsi and Oreos) on demand, cable, a car with air conditioning, a dog (in the house), some long hair (when I want), a mom and a dad, and a happy family (husband and kids). In short, although I have desires and dreams of more to come, at one time everything I wanted is what I have right now. If I allow myself to sit with that thought and really let it soak in, the appraisal of my current status ....shall we say.... hits different. And that is a very valuable perspective.