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Mud Pies, Make Believe, and Magic: Getting in Touch with Your Inner Child

Mud Pies, Make Believe, and Magic: Getting in Touch with Your Inner Child

Tammy April 10, 2013 3 comments
poster of quote by Christina Baldwin

quote by Christina Baldwin

I don’t know about you, but when my inner child is pouting, anything creative grinds to a stop.

Why, you ask, would your inner child pout?

Mostly because I have not given her mud pies, some time to make believe and gotten out of the way so that the  magic happens.

Always when I am focused on goal, goal, goal – living in my left brain with it’s linear way of seeing the world.

Always when I have stopped believing in my self, my own power to make things happen and a purpose to the process that is my life.

Always when I have not taken the requisite time to fill back up – when I am depleted and haven’t paid attention to the fact that for some reason I am running on empty.

Which is to confess (horrors!) that at the moment my inner child is pouting.

I know that as someone whose stated purpose is to make a space for others to discover their Hell YES!! life, this could be business suicide.  But you know what?  If I don’t get lost in the swamp every now and then, how am I going to be able to empathize with those who are in the swamp or the woods or off the map?

So, believe it or not, I welcome this phase (the mushy, in the cocoon, somewhere between caterpillar and butterfly phase when all is green muck and not a lot makes any sense to the caterpillar) as a training ground.  It makes me a wounded healer – one who has experienced the pain and confusion – and finds a way out.  Then, I remember that I am not a butterfly – I am a snake, shedding it’s skin, again and again and again.

The way out is through to the shiney skin.

The way through is inside to the place where I remember that I have done this before.

Mud Pies

That’s where the mud pies come in.  If I can shoe horn myself into my studio (the place I love being the best and the place I avoid the most when things aren’t working), get

childhood photo of author and her longest friends coloring on the floor at about age 5

Yep – that’s my inner child when I *was* her – there on the left, with longest friend Linda – and crayons.

my hands into the mud (clay), healing happens.

Unfortunately it isn’t always that easy.  Inner Child can be VERY stubborn.

So I offer crayons, lined paper and a scribble to color in.

Or an afternoon in the garden (as long as it doesn’t feel like work).

Or design some earrings for a class – hey:  it’s work, I know.  But it also requires some creativity to make earrings that are simple, teach the necessary skills set, and look great.

Make Believe

If that doesn’t work (and it often doesn’t), then it’s time to make believe.  I step into the role that all is well and things are going swimmingly (and I do NOT mention that swimmingly means through swamp muck that is sucking at my ankles so that I can barely keep my head above water.  NO! ).  How am I doing?  GREAT!  What’s next?  ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES (including quick sand, but shush – we won’t talk about that).

Find some humor in it somewhere, because there is always humor – if you can get to the point where you can laugh at yourself, your inner child will perk up.  She loves laughter, and make believe, and, in my case, mud pies – the messier the better.

Before you know it, and I swear I never notice the change over, swimmingly is in a calm swimming pool, or a blue lake and I AM great and there ARE endless possibilities and mud pies and scribbles are again a daily practice.  That’s the magic – if I could explain it to you step by step, it wouldn’t be magic, now, would it?  But let me try anyways.

designer tile with quote :  When You Talk to Yourself, Be Nice!

Possibilites tile by Tammy Vitale (6″x4″ clay wall tile)


  • Stop.  Not one more nasty comment to yourself about how you have so much/should suck it up and do the work/don’t have what it takes.  When you talk to yourself you will say only nice things.  Pretend (make believe) that you are your best friend and she needs a little hand holding right now.  Hold her (your) hand.
  • Be quiet.  Not one more To Do item and no productive procrastination (for me that looks like cleaning the refrigerator or scrubbing the floor – anything but what’s on my list). Send your mind hamster out to play. and be quiet – the easiest way to do this is to pay attention to your breathing:  breathe in deeply and breathe out long.
  • Turn inside to see where you have denied yourself some needed nourishment:  journaling, coffee with a friend, a class, or not asked for help when you need(ed) it.
  • Forgive yourself for your perfect imperfection.
  • Accept that you may indeed be in the middle of shedding your skin and can’t see clearly.  Remind yourself that is okay.  Treat yourself to the idea of glistening new skin that you, too, will be able to see, once this is all over.
  • Return to your daily practice – the one that has gotten left behind, or the one you have yet to develop.  It is your grounding.  Be grateful that you have it or are going to take time to develop it.  Now.
  • Play with your version of mud pies and crayons.
  • Choose your role and play it.
  • See you on the other side!

What is your version of mud pies, crayons and make believe?  What magic have you experienced in the past?  What would you like to share to help others on their way?  Would love to hear from you!


In Category : Art and Life


  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    April 10, 2013

    Love the mud pies.

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    April 11, 2013

    Oh Tammy…. your timing was perfection. Last night, for the very first time, I took the time to write out how to reconnect when I’m disconnected. After reading this, I realized I had a “category” to add, “When She Pouts, How To Draw Her Out”. *lol*

    I have dabbled with ritual in the past. It’s just been recently that I “get” how practicing something (quite like adopting an exercise routine) is so important to my Creative Beastie. So here’s a few things I’m incorporating to help me stay tuned and tapped in:

    Walk – and while walking Breathe, Feel, Listen, & Smell
    Journal – I’ve adopted a practice of writing to IB (my inner being) or even someone I admire. It’s been a great tool to see the stories I’m telling and tweak them or get rid of them. There’s nothing finer than a good morning brain dump.
    Drum – I forgot how much energy moves within me when I drum. I’ll read something that “moves” me in an empowering “HELL YEAH!” way while drumming. I’m going to add Breathe, Feel, & Listen to that too. I also have tuning forks to incorporate when needed.
    Random Dancing – There’s nothing that really moves energy inside me like dancing and woohooing if it feels good. It does set the dogs to barking when I yell really loud. *hee hee hee*

    And to add to the “When She Pouts” …. doodling, coloring, finger painting, and dirt digging (when it’s finally warm enough!). I want to make a fairy garden this year – a perfect visual for magic. 🙂

    Can you tell I’ve been giving this a lot of conscious thought? *lol* Being aware of what’s moving through me was the first step. I believe, from my own experience, that the next step is coming up with ways to work with that energy and move through it when needed. And thank you for sharing your “how”. It’s really helpful!

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    April 11, 2013

    Tracy – thanks so much for your response! I especially like your journaling practice….as I’ve
    lost my own and the idea of writing to my inner being is very powerful! Sharing is always so
    helpful in enlarging our own view.

    Drumming and Dancing are parts of my past that I am drawn to but haven’t, like journaling,
    picked up again. Your thoughts are an excellent nudge! <3

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