Regardless of age and the many restrictions of an over-structured world, it is important not to lose the ability to dream and imagine The inner child, the loss and reconnection of one's inner child and the resulting inability or ability to dream and imagine are intensely coloured threads sewn into the rich tapestry of Quidam. Sometimes called the child within, the inner child refers to one's original self. Over time and through circumstance, people can lose touch with this self, resulting in a variety of problems, says an expert on the subject. 'The inner child takes time to love for that is the secret of eternal youth; it takes time to laugh for that is the music of the soul. Your inner child needs to cry, which is the emotion of a great heart, and it takes the time to listen - the force of intelligence. It needs to play and dream,' said Meganne Older, a shamanic counsellor. Losing touch with this inner self can begin at any age, and it is happening more often at a younger age. 'Children are being placed more and more in mini-adult environments well before their years, which causes huge internal conflict as a person won't develop and explore and therefore it will be difficult to love and honour one's self, which leads to low self-esteem, depression and sense of loss of identity and loss of what is truly important,' said Ms Older. Another example is sending children to a pre-preschool in the hope that children will learn to draw and paint. Ms Older said this was a fallacy. She believed this was a classic example of choking the inner child through restrictions and too much structure. 'Children need to explore, express and experience their own creativity,' she said. Adults often lose touch through becoming more fixated with what is outside of them, hoping that the external will give one a sense of identity and happiness. 'Looking outside of ourselves for our identity is impossible and will lead to pain and trying in vain to fill an empty void, often through overeating, use of drugs, excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking, leaving us lost, confused, angry with a loss of value towards ourself and others,' said Ms Older. Especially important in connecting or reconnecting with one's inner child at any age is through dreaming and not losing touch with the daydreaming process. 'Whatever your dreams are - from becoming an astronaut or a movie star, to owning a free-standing house, or becoming a Cirque performer - regardless of age, don't lose touch with them,' said Ms Older. 'Dreams are the breath of happiness and will help keep you young, happy, and whole and able to connect with your inner child and your own children, too.' Quidam will also help the audience reconnect with their inner child and, like all Cirque shows, has the power to transform. 'Cirque du Soleil has an important role in this modern world,' Ms Older said. 'Through all its creativity, expression, colour, sound, movement and texture, it wraps itself around you and opens you to the wonderful dream world which is very real within ourselves. 'To the adult self it might seem exaggerated, strange and weird and a bit mad, but actually accepting all this allows you to connect with the inner child and to enjoy it without judgment and with trust and openness.'