Where is the Eternal Child in your Life?
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
The Eternal Child is an archetype that receives a lot of attention. We see it around us in various forms. We see it in memes that talk about choosing not to "adult" today. We see it in Hollywood with actors/actresses pitching fits on movie sets. We see it referenced in the 27 Club, a grouping of pop artists/musicians/actors/actresses who all passed away amidst high-risk lifestyles. We see it referenced in sayings about "dying young" and "young at heart." We see it in people around us, who are still able to look at the world with child-like wonder. We see it in movies, books, and songs. Peter Pans. Addicts.
We see it within ourselves.
Quick lesson on archetypes. Archetypes can exist as two different aspects: light or shadow. Think of it like the moon--- a light side and a dark side. The light aspect of an archetype focuses on the obvious face of the archetype. It's what it is capable of when it is healthy. The shadow aspect of an archetype is a darker, distorted version of it. Sometimes it's a bit under the surface, hidden due to guilt or shame. Many of times, the shadow comes forward in unhealthy or unbalanced states. Imagine that any archetype is a battery of energy. There's a positive side, and there's a negative side. Both are necessary. Both exist at the same time within each other. You can't have one without the other. The possibility of both is always there.
Exploring which side of the battery you are drawing the most power from will help you realize how you are utilizing that archetype in your own life.
Because of this idea of light/shadow, the Eternal Child archetype encompasses a wide range of personalities and perspectives. Within the light aspect, you get much more of a feel of gratitude and wonder. Think of that child-like love of the world, where a cardboard box holds infinite possibilities and a quarter makes your day. Where playing in the woods by a creek can happen by the hours, and life is filled with love and life and beauty. Fear is non-existent. Life is limitless and boundaries don't exist. And don't even think of telling the Eternal Child that it can't. It won't even be able to fathom the concept of impossibility. It's forever free, forever magical, and forever grounded in the present. The Eternal Child is forever young, and the future has no power over it.
Yet within the shadow aspect, the Eternal Child becomes consumed by the presence of the "now." Nothing else matters. Immediate gratification is required or a full-blown fit might occur. When in its shadow aspect, the Eternal Child becomes irresponsible, shows lack of planning, and may be traveling down the path of addiction. All rewards must occur immediately, in the now. In the shadow aspect, the Eternal Child is tossed around like a cork in the waves. No direction. No concern over the future. No concern for anyone else. It is selfish, it is demanding, and it is always seeking the next high.
So how does the Eternal Child have relevancy in our lives? Because we all have the capability of tapping into this archetype. For better or worse.
When we choose to tap into the light aspect of the Eternal Child, we become magical. We see the wonder of life, and we love it for all it is. We are limitless and creative. We are filled with endless possibilities.
But when we choose to tap into the shadow aspect of the archetype, we become selfish. We become consumed by the immediacy of rewards. We lose track of our future, we throw all concern to the wind, and we plummet into selfish pursuits with no regard for others or our own health.
Read those last two paragraphs again, and you'll notice that I used the word "choose." Bringing in the certain energy of any archetype is a choice. Many of times it might not feel like it. It might feel like a compulsion. Especially when we've done the same pattern over and over, the Eternal Child can become an automatic action. But deep within, even if on a subconscious, unaware level, it is a choice. Where is the Eternal Child in your life? Is it flavoring your life with a beautiful seasoning blend of gratitude and wonder? Is it helping you believe the best in others, knowing that every new experience of the now is a splendid unraveling of fate? Or is it driving you at 100mph down a curvy road in the dark without any regard for upcoming curves? Is it keeping you selfish and solely focused on what your next reward will be, regardless of the effect that has on those around you?
Summed up: Are you free or are you trapped?
But what if you are struggling with how to bring the choice back into the equation? What if you feel trapped, but you can't quite find the door?
Then dig. Dig for awareness. Dig to expose the truth, and objectively acknowledge in what areas of life you are experiencing the Eternal Child. Going back to the battery analogy, it's about picking up that battery and seeing from which end are you drawing the most power.
Or maybe you aren't drawing any power from this archetype at all, but you want to. Maybe you want to try bringing in some Eternal Child energy into your life. Maybe you feel you are far too serious and stuck in an expected pattern of work/take care of kids/eat/sleep and repeat. Life and wonder and love have somehow gotten lost in the mix.
Either way, it's all about intentionality. Through breathing in awareness, you'll discover how you are currently using this energy. And it is through this awareness that intention and choice are born.
When you feel yourself strongly plugged into that shadow aspect of the Eternal Child, try flipping the switch inside yourself. Intentionally see how you can bring in the light aspect.
How do you bring in the light aspect of the Eternal Child? Bring in wonder. Bring in appreciation. Grab a cup of coffee and try just sitting with the deep, complex flavor. Go sit outside and spend five minutes exploring how the sunlight feels on your face. Go for a walk and pay attention to what muscles are working as you move; and try out different types of walking, from tip toing to stomping. Dance. Imagine. Dream.
Let your Eternal Child run and play and soak up life.
(To read up more on bringing in archetypes into your life, check out this previous blogpost)