Hustle and bustle dominate many of our lives. Life always appears to so busy! There doesn’t seem to be a minute of spare time. Do this; do that. Rush here; rush there. Meet this deadline. Obey that request (or is it an order?). Do what the boss tells us to. Meet the family needs. Meet the expectations of those around us, for whom we care. If only things would slow down, relieve the pressure, give us some peace. If only we could have a return to innocence, if indeed we ever were innocent. Those peaceful times seem a distant memory or were they just a dream?
For many people, life in the 21st century can be extremely challenging. The daily grind makes mere survival appear to be a daunting task at times. It feels like you are stuck in the fast lane in the centre of a multi-lane highway – indeed at times if feels like you are on a one-way trip on the Autobahn, and your life-capsule is constantly accelerating.
Yet it doesn’t have to be. You can slow your life down. We all have a finite lifespan. Do you really want it to rush by and then be over before you have had the chance to enjoy it? Would it not be more agreeable if you were to have a simpler, healthier, more enjoyable lifestyle where you had the chance to savor the key moments?
One of Enigma’s most famous songs is Return to Innocence. The music video depicts an old French man, who had clearly grown up in a rural area, relive his life backwards at his moment of death. He had a simple, but rewarding life, summed up with the lyrics “Love, devotion, feeling, emotion. Don’t be afraid to be weak. Don’t be too proud to be strong. Just look into your heart, my friend. That will be the return to yourself. The return to innocence.”
We should all take the time to look into our hearts. Have we chosen the right path, or have we taken a wrong turn at some point and managed to become lost with our life’s direction. Never be afraid to reflect. Never be afraid to change.
We all make mistakes. I certainly have and the most liberating moment came when I acknowledged this and admitted my mistakes to myself.
It is important that we do not let ourselves get stuck in a rut. Yes, we all create ruts in life, but if you mindlessly continue to travel in these ruts, they become deep holes. The deeper the hole is, the harder it is to maneuver your way out. The danger comes when that hole turns into a gigantic chasm, and we truly lose faith that there can be an exit. Of course, talking as somebody who hails from the land of the great mountaineer, Sir Edmund Hillary, you can even escape from great chasms – it’s just a bloody sight harder than from a mere rut.
So, is it time to reflect upon your own return to innocence? Force yourself to take some time out each week as thinking and reflection time. Yes, your reflection time is just as important as the time that you spend working on your boss’ pet project. You may even find that by giving yourself enough reflection time your performance on the pet project improves. Or you may find that the boss’ pet project is not that important to you after all and that you could do so much more with your life.
Talk to the people you care about and love. Truthfully. Honestly. Cherish your time together. Share your thoughts and reflections with them, and listen – really listen, not just hear, to what they have to say in return.