Within the confines of being told we have to “grow up,” we lose ever so much. Our conditioning is such that as children we begin to learn to fear the world and just about everything and everyone in it, hearing more often “don’t,” than “do.”
The inner child begins to shut down and off to a world that was once magical, full of adventure, imagination, play, fun, beauty, excitement and sheer delight. Just watch any child as they start to explore the world – all is new and exciting. The feel of grass underfoot, the raindrops dripping, the love of singing, dance, water play, mud, creativity and laughter just because they are happy and want to have fun.
When expressing anger or frustration they are often told don’t behave like that and are these days sent to the naughty corner. When parents fear they will fall from the tree they are climbing or fear whatever else they do, or tell them what they experience is not “real,” when they are taught to seek approval from others at such a young age, are told things about themselves and the world by adults they fully believe because the adults said so, are yelled at, hit, abused and so it goes on, all that joy, excitement and sheer delight with just the pure magic of being alive seems to disappear. Lost and seemingly gone forever as life becomes nothing more than a “job” full of adult responsibilities, concerns, worries, anxiety, conformity and fear which then leads to illness, addiction, depression, reckless behaviour, more abuse and sadly in some situations the taking of one’s own life.
I was once told as a child, only children can enter “The Kingdom of Heaven.” This terrified me at that time because I figured once I became an adult – straight to “Hell” I would go, forever. In many ways, we do go to Hell though because due to the adult behaviour around us and the beliefs and projections which shape us we lose conscious awareness of all that is childlike. Yet we are also told we need to be childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The ability to make friends easily, to trust, to have fun unless we are drunk, stoned or participating in other activities that bring momentary pleasure from outside ourselves all goes. If we were feeling joyous and broke out in song on the morning train commute, for example, we would be given strange looks like something was “wrong” with us. So we conform, we play the game the adults around us play and we do indeed lose a huge part of ourselves along the way. Many become miserable and bitter, negative, resentful, spiteful, manipulative, greedy, needy, liars and haters who try to desperately control others around them. Each day becomes a chore to drag oneself through and many literally start looking like robotic walking dead.
For myself I had to “grow up” very quickly, leaving home at only 14, and life for me became a matter of survival for many decades. Survive I did, ever so much, but it was just that – surviving, not thriving.
We speak of “The Journey Home” and how we are all on the same journey back to conscious awareness of all we once knew before it was shut down because of fear and conformity. For myself, it took decades of Self work and inner child work to reach where I am at within myself now, which feels like “home” to me
Some of the tools I used along the way which can help are:
- Pay attention to what your dreams and daily synchronicity are telling you. If you don’t know – learn.
- Spend time alone in nature.
- Use your dominant writing hand to ask your inner child a question, swap hands and wait for the answer to be written. Go with the very first thing that comes, do NOT think oooh that’s just nonsense.
- Do not doubt what others told you was “just your imagination” – whatever you experience is real for you because it is YOUR experience.
- Try to remember things you used to LOVE to do as a child and MAKE time to do them on a regular basis.
- Run with your gut feelings about anything and everything – don’t pay attention to your logical doubts and fears which have been instilled in you by others.
- Pay attention to any memories or feelings that come – especially those which create an emotional reaction and ask yourself “Where is this TRULY coming from?” Wait patiently for the answer to come to you.
- Parent your own inner child. Most of our inner children are scared, lost, angry, hurt and confused and often feel like they have been abandoned, which they have been. Mine was SO angry and hurt it took months of solid work for her to even feel safe enough again to just start dialoguing with me.
- Don’t blame, hate or punish your parents for the damage done – they did the best they could with the awareness they had, they still are and at some stage we all have to actually accept responsibility for ourselves and start to parent our own inner child.
As a child, I wanted desperately to live “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” It was however quite literally a journey into, through and out the other side of Hell to follow my own yellow brick road, but it was worth every single step to reach “home” and the “Kingdom of Heaven.” That isn’t some place in the sky as so many of us were told it was, but is within each of us and fully accessible to all of us by reconnecting with our own inner child.
© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.
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