Among the many interesting trends to emerge from social media, Throwback Thursday peaked my interest. TBT is the phenomenon that has Facebook users posting pictures of ourselves, our friends and our families from days gone by.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh at those old clothing and hair styles? From the afro to Jheri Curl to the mullet, from bell bottoms to parachute pants… well, every and anything from the 80s really, history leaves a vast pool of content to make us ROTFL.
For whatever reason, I gravitated toward the TBT trend posting captured moments of times past. The result being nostalgia, laughter or shock; like the picture of me and my date for the 8th grade prom. I think she is still plotting her revenge.
As I was exploring my archive of photos determining which would serve as my next TBT pic and preparing for a course I am co-facilitating on archetypes, I came to a deeper understanding about the draw toward posting these relics from the past.
The course is composed of an educational and experiential series of classes where the archetypes of Lover, Warrior, Magician and Sovereign are explored and utilized in service of personal growth. The Lover archetype represents the part of us that seeks to connect, while the Warrior is the part that establishes and maintains boundaries and energizes us toward completing a mission. As we move around this archetypal wheel, the Magician represents our ability to discern, and the Sovereign, our call to lead, care for or nurture others.
In each of us these energies exist and find expression, however, we possess varying degrees of strengths and weaknesses as it relates to the expression of each archetype. One of paths to accessing Lover energy is through reconnection with their inner child.
The concept of the inner child has been ridiculed for many years by comedians and in depictions in media; however the inner child is at play on some level in any therapeutic, healing or growth endeavor whether we are doing formal “inner child” work or not. Each year that we have lived and the experiences of those years exist within, offering insight into the people we are today.
“As a child I thought as a child and acted as a child. Now that I am adult I put away childish things.” Sadly, many lose touch with the playfulness, curiosity, vitality, openness and creativity of youth as the important transition into adulthood occurs. Indeed we must put away irresponsibility, naiveté, impulsivity and immaturity but in doing so the qualities that animate, illuminate and enhance life at any stage are too often sacrificed.
Reconnecting with the inner child entails reconnecting with childhood experiences. For many much trauma existed during this critical time of life. It is has been my experience in working with many adults traumatized as children and children who have experienced unspeakable horrors, the vast majority can reconnect with some aspect of that child who was curious, playful, creative, magical and filled with awe at the “bigness” of life.
As I thought about the pictures I posted recently- of me with my dog, dressed up in costumes with my sisters as backup singers or with my 8th grade prom date among others- they reconnect with a time when life was “big” in that awe-filled kind of way, when there was a certain magic about life and when the joy of play connected me to my family, my friends and the world that surrounded me.
As an adult I never completely lost that childhood innocence. I am still fascinated by airplanes and tall buildings and curious about how stuff works. That silly little kid that used to dress up and perform still does. It just looks more sophisticated now.
What I came to understand is that my weekly Throwback Thursday ritual is an expression of the child that once was and continues to live within. More importantly it serves as a way of staying connected to that little kid within and bringing his spirit into and through the adult I am today. And I am more than certain he will find expression through the old man I will be tomorrow.