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Precious Cargo

Contributed by 
Bridget Steed; Art by Julie Norton.


Children ages 10+




Precious Cargo is a simple exercise that can be done at any time, in or out of an immediate “crisis.”


The Precious Cargo exercise is an effective way to connect with one’s power and inner gifts during a time of stress, trauma, or crisis.


Take a brief moment to close your eyes (if it is safe to do so) and identify a time in your life when you felt like you were the most authentic, “highest” version of yourself. A moment where you made a difference, stepped up to the plate, took a stand, was of service to someone else, etcetera. A moment when you truly felt like you let yourself shine. 

*For young children, you may ask, “What do you think is special about you? What are you good at? What things do you like?”

The Dagara Tribe of West Africa believes that each child comes into this world with something very special to offer, called his or her “cargo.” Next, open your eyes, take out a piece of paper, and take a moment to write down what you feel your cargo is. 

Questions to consider as you write :

  • What is it about the moment you reflected on that only you could have brought to it? 

  • Can you identify one or more things about you that make you special?

  • Among your unique and special qualities, which might be useful to bring to the surface at a time like this? Your humor, special skill, ingenuity, decisiveness, tender heart....etc?

  • Put your paper someplace accessible where you can pull it out and remind yourself that you are needed in this world. 

This is a simple way to remind yourself that you are here for a reason and can make a difference and bring something helpful to any situation, as hard as the situation may seem. Children need to be reminded of this as much as adults do! 

Expressive Arts and Recovery

Return to Expressive Arts to see more exercises and activities.

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