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Yehuda Berg Headshot

Hugging Our Inner Child, Not Our Chaos

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Last month on Facebook, there was a campaign to change your profile picture to a cartoon character. The goal was to see no human faces for the weekend in an effort to raise awareness for child abuse.

Some people said that a viral campaign like this doesn't make a bit of difference, but every small action creates a ripple effect. This group action pushed child abuse to take a central place in conversation, and it caused a buzz in the traditional media, on TV and in newspapers. Outside of regular readers, an article in The Daily News got over 11,000 shares. The organization behind this effort, The Campaign to End Violence Against Children, based in the Philippines, got 28,000 "likes." To add substance to the cartoon idea, the Campaign requested that people posting for this campaign include a hotline number for child abuse. They also list related websites.

People from around the globe joined in this Facebook campaign. With the economy down and poverty increasing, child abuse, particularly head trauma among children, is escalating all over the world. In the United States, according to Childhelp, five children die from abuse every day.

So even if one person found it in his heart to make a donation, or to volunteer, the cartoon campaign had an effect. And if it saved one life, will we ever know?

Another intention and benefit of this campaign was that it caused adults to reconnect with their inner child. Remember Saturday mornings with Bugs Bunny, the Smurfs, the Jetsons and other 'toons? It's fun to flashback to that time in our lives.

The only difference between kids and adults is that when we grow up, most of us become "adulterated." As children, our imaginations are vibrant, and our hearts are open. We believe that the bad guy always loses and that the tooth fairy sneaks into our rooms at night to put money under our pillow. Everything amazes us, and we think anything is possible.

We continuously experience life with a sense of newness and unbridled curiosity. But then we find out tooth fairy really doesn't exist; we see the bad guys winning; and we are forced to "grow up already" and face the world. So we become skeptical and allow our logic to prevail, rather than our spirit.

The result is that we limit what is possible. We don't access the greatness of our soul because we supposedly know the truth. Well, the truth is that we were born to have it all. And part of our handicap as adults is that we no longer understand our potential. We need to expand our desire, which, in Kabbalah, is our Vessel.

We think we are insignificant, that we can't make a difference -- as some complained on Facebook -- but we are meant to be powerful.

Do you remember that sense of wonder, curiosity and fearlessness you had about the world when you were a kid?

We need to reconnect with those qualities that we stored away long ago. If we can soften our hearts, and if we can access the pure and simple aspect of our nature, then we can regain the realization that everything we need is already inside us and anything is attainable.

Kids rebound from setbacks much faster than adults. When a child comes crying with a scraped knee, acting as if his world is crumbling, all it takes to get him out of a bad mood is an ice-cream cone. Kids are easily distracted from their negativity, whereas grownups have trouble shifting focus away from it.

As adults, when we get scraped by life, it generally takes more than a kiss on the bruise to transform our bad mood. We sulk, we process it and we go to therapy to analyze why it happened, what's wrong with us, and how to not let it happen again. We'll do anything to not let it go so easily. As my father, the Rav, says, we like to "hug our chaos."

Don't get me wrong: we're supposed to see our problems and use our challenges as steppingstones to reawaken our potential. Instead, as we grow, we often have more fear of failure; our comfort zone shrinks, and we take fewer risks.

We need to realize that our path to transformation is through our mistakes. We're meant to make mistakes, recognize them, and move on to become unlimited. As children we were closer to recognizing our true ability. As we begin the new year, let's reconnect with the child within and see what transpires.

All the best,
Yehuda

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