Reclaiming FUN!

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”  - Eckhart Tolle
 Me when I thought this experience was about looking "cool" for Instagram.

Me when I thought this experience was about looking "cool" for Instagram.

I used to think I was a pretty fun gal. I have really incredible, supportive friends. I love going to concerts, discovering new music, watching movies, being social. I like to travel, keep my body in shape with exercise and running races. I am a pretty girl (so I’ve been told). I've got a handsome boyfriend, two adorable Italian greyhounds, and a normal job (it just wasn't my calling)... All of that should make for a fun person, right? WRONG!! 

A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Tokyo, Japan and had a transcendent experience when it came to my relationship with FUN. I signed up for real life Mario Kart in Tokyo because it looked pretty cool and my brother was really excited to do it. My brothers and I grew up playing Mario Kart on Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 so I looked at this as a nostalgic experience. I also saw it as an opportunity to make my life look like it’s really fun and cool on Instagram. What actually happened completely blew my mind and changed me in a way that I could only explain after some deep reflection. 

The MariCAR storefront in Akihabara was bright and colorful. Everyone who worked there was wearing a onesie of some cartoon character: Bowser, the Genie from Aladdin, Yoshi, Winnie the Pooh. We presented our International Driving permits and passports, paid our 800 yen, signed some waivers, and were told to get dressed as whatever character we wanted. My first choice, something cute and maybe a little sexy or cool wasn’t available on the rack. Instead, I chose to dress as Luigi, an original Mario Brother. I felt a little embarrassed and kind of silly in my oversized polyester suit and matching hat. I thought, “What will people think of me for wearing this? Will people think there is something wrong with me for enjoying this?” My only solace in the moment was that I don’t know anyone in Japan, so who cares?

 Totally immersed in the real experience: Reclaiming FUN!!

Totally immersed in the real experience: Reclaiming FUN!!

Fast forward to getting in our karts and driving off.  As we pulled out of the parking lot, I was nervous I’d crash or get hurt while driving so I forgot about my ridiculous outfit or looking “cool.” Our guide Selim was dressed as the blue genie from Aladdin and led us around a few easy blocks to get us used to driving the karts. Then he made the drive more interesting and took us down some clear, fast, exhilarating roads. This is where I really relaxed and my barriers to FUN completely collapsed. My smile grew ear to ear. I started to laugh full-belly, real laughs of pure elation. I couldn’t help but yell out just like on the video games: “LET’S-A-GOOO!!!”, “YAAAAHOOOO!!!”, “I’M GONNA GET YOU!!”, “MAMMA MIA!!”, “HERE WE GO!” I started to tear up a little behind my dark sunnies when I realized how free I felt.  

All along the crowded Tokyo streets, people waved at us, they took videos and photos of us, and we hammed it up for the cameras. I took it all in and asked our guide every question I could think of about where in the city we were and probed for historical insights. I felt child-like in my curiosity. Speeding through one particularly long, kinda dark tunnel, my kart caught some air and I practically exploded with happiness. WHAT A RUSH!! Two hours later, we returned to the shop and had seen some of the best sights Tokyo has to offer. More importantly, I returned a completely different woman. I was more complete.

When I got off my kart and out of my onesie, my heart felt FULL. It felt like the Grinch when his heart grows so big that it breaks the magnifying glass (points if you know this cartoon reference). I feel as though I have re-claimed my soul and re-claimed my own happiness. I am still so tremendously gleeful from this adventure.

I didn’t go into the Mario Kart experience with the intention of reaching my inner child. For my own reasons I set the intention to be the best version of myself. In doing so I’ve learned to love myself, live more consciously, and accept each moment (even the bad) as though I have chosen it.  

Life gave me what I needed in that moment: To connect with my inner child and help her heal from any fears of abandonment, feelings of worthlessness, and insecurities that no longer serve me.
 MAMMA MIA!! I found my inner child!

MAMMA MIA!! I found my inner child!

My adult-self let go of fears and the need to fit an ideal image. I stepped aside enough to let my inner child guide my FUN and re-learn the innocent pleasures of being free. All of the things that made me "fun" before meant nothing without the ability to live child-like in the present moment.

During my meditation later that day, I tuned into my full heart and embraced the light that grew there. Then I visualized myself as a little girl. I held little Lidia’s hands, I wrapped her in a loving hug and I said, “It’s ok. We are safe. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. I will take care of you. I will love you. We can have fun, be free, and enjoy a fulfilling life. Thank you for reminding me who we are. We are allowed to be happy and we are worthy of giving and receiving love.”      

I am lucky and grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Tokyo and have my Mario Kart experience. I recognize that not everyone has the time, means, or opportunity to do exactly what I did. Reconnecting with your sense of FUN and your inner child doesn’t have to come with an overwhelming price tag. It can be found in any of your day-to-day activities, you just need to be open and receptive so the gifts can be acknowledged and you can feel fully comfortable being in the present moment.

For a while in my life, I felt like I had been trapped in a dark room and couldn’t find the way out. When I reconnected with my inner child and she reminded me to let go, live fully, and have FUN, she also brought with her a flashlight to guide me to the door of a better reality.

You may feel trapped or in a rut, like things are out of your control or happen TO you. You may be having trouble recognizing the joys in your life… I was there and I am here for you. If you want to learn how to love yourself more deeply and reconnect with your soul, I can help shine a light and guide you toward the exit to a more beautiful reality. Contact me here and set the intention of gaining a full heart, reclaimed soul, and most importantly LOVE for YOURSELF.

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Next Week:

Meditation: Finding calm and stillness in the face of anxiety (and chaos)

Lidia Garcia