I have spent the entire day with children and it has had a remarkably positive effect.
I was with my younger 2 sisters age 10 and 12 at the Natural History Museum and was the most mindful (with ease) I have been all week. We went to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and then the Space Photography one too.
I love my sisters, I love wildlife, I love space and I love photography – so it was the perfect way to accumulate positives into my life, especially off the back of a challenging week.
I have spent the evening babysitting a 5 year old girl and continuing to be one-mindful; off my phone, fully present, and with a “beginner’s mind” – trying to see the world through her eyes in order to bring myself to her level and connect with her.
We made a marble run, played with Pippin the hampster, ate chocolate mousse, did her homework, read a book, played hide and seek and watched Despicable Me together.
I don’t think I’m good at many things but looking after and entertaining kids is one thing I know I have a natural flare for. I think I want to work with children. It’s one of the only things I know how to do with confidence (minus the cooking aspect!), and feels totally natural to me.
It also takes me out of my head and allows me to be someone else for a while. There is almost something quite surreal about being able to join a child’s world for a time, and lose myself within the fantasy world they inhabit too.
They are also very “in the moment”, even if unintentionally so. Today I have been the most present and mindful I have been able to be all week, and am much less dissociated also. There is something about looking after children that grounds me.
I think it’s because I never want a child I’m looking after to feel dismissed or unseen or like they are invisible or don’t matter. I don’t want them to feel how I felt. So I give them all the energy and attention I have within me and it connects me to them.
Kids are amazing. I want to be a kid for ever. Or really, I am still a kid trapped in an adult’s body. No wonder it comes so naturally to me. I am one of them, really.