Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

The Neglected Child

It is never too late to have a happy childhood.
— Attributed to Tom Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Berke Breathed and probably more

As we wind down the third step of our journey of artistic recovery, the emphasis is on being especially kind to ourselves while we continue to gently uncover our past memories. One of the important ways to begin to find new ways of self-care is to check in with yourself on a regular basis throughout the day. Learn to stop and take your energetic and emotional temperature.

This is developing the practice of enhanced self-nurturing. Practice stepping back from whatever is going on, and asking yourself – how am I feeling? What do I need right now? What is my energy like?

This is not narcissistic or selfish. Many artists who live in hiding compensate for the lack of healthy self-awareness by occasional binges of self-indulgence. Often these are not wholesome or good for you, but your inner child is threatening a temper tantrum, so you give in, just to quiet her or him down.

Instead of ignoring those needs until you cave-in to a melt down, the habit of taking the time to check in and take tender care of yourself throughout your day will direct you in much more productive and happy directions.

Artists need emotional quiet time, to hear their inner guidance. Learn to be more than usually aware of yourself. Remember that your artist self is a child who has been long-neglected and who may need some coaxing at first. She or he is very likely to show a lot of bravado; other times might seem recalcitrant, withdrawn and uncommunicative. Take it slow; you have a lifetime of hurt to heal.

So here are some more exercises to help you get back in touch with your sweet young artist.

1. Describe your childhood room. You might sketch it. What was your favorite thing about it? What’s your favorite thing about your room today? Is there something from your childhood room you could bring into the present-day, that might delight or comfort you?

2. Describe five traits you like when you remember yourself as a child.

3. List five childhood accomplishments (ex: good grades in junior high; trained the dog; got a swimming badge in Scouts).

4. List five of your favorite foods when you were a kid. Buy yourself one of them this week!

5. Habits: Take a look at your habits. Julia explains, “Many of them may interfere with your self-nurturing and cause shame. Some of the oddest things are self-destructive. Do you have a habit of watching TV you don’t like? Do you have a habit of hanging out with a really boring friend and just killing time (there’s an expression!)? Some rotten habits are obvious, overt (drinking too much, smoking, eating instead of writing). List three obvious rotten habits. What’s the payoff for continuing them?”

She goes on to challenge us by adding, “Some rotten habits are more subtle (no time to exercise, little time to pray, always helping others, not getting any self-nurturing, hanging out with people who belittle your dreams.) List three of your subtle foes. What use do these forms of sabotage have? Be specific.”

More tomorrow!

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  • April 29, 2009, 3:34 am Catherine BTW

    My child has really been missing out on just having fun, especially physical fun. (Abuse survivor side).
    But these exercises have led to my signing up for for six weeks of belly dancing classes as my artist dates! And I’m in my 50’s==but it’s never too late, huh?! 😉
    Wishing us all some BIG FUN, whatever it is….

  • April 29, 2009, 4:18 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Oh!!! I just love this!! Nice going!!

    Anyone else? It’s been mighty quiet here lately..

  • April 29, 2009, 11:59 pm Thalia

    Well these are hard questions. I’ve been thinking.

    1. I didn’t much like my childhood room (it had two doors and I am a very private person, so it never really felt ‘safe’ in there). That notwithstanding, I had hung painted colorful fish from the ceiling, and I always liked that. My new room? I love the fact that it only has one door. That, and that it’s painted mauve.

    2. Five traits I like of the child-me? Playful (okay, that’s kind of a duh), creative, productive (I just made things. No worrying, no thinking, just made things pretty much every single day), I wore the best dresses, and I was not self-conscious.

    3. Five childhood accomplishments? I’m not sure I thought in accomplishments then (or for that matter that I do now), as in a goal worked toward and achieved. I just was. That was the beauty of it. I don’t know. I mean I went to plenty of piano recitals and stuff but I never looked back on them as something I was proud of. I was just glad it was over.

    4. Five favorite foods when I was a kid: mint chocolate chip ice cream, ring dings, those caramel candy cube things (esp the chocolate ones), McDonald’s cheeseburgers (the little ones), and good grief, I don’t think they even make it anymore, but canned macaroni and cheese. My mother is not, er, the most spectacular cook. (Well, okay, maybe ‘spectacular’ is accurate, if by ‘spectacular’ you mean ‘a real possibility she’ll burn the house down every time she turns on the stove’.)

    5. Three obvious rotten habits (these are the hard questions now): Way too much time spent farting about on the internet, which is tricky as the computer and internet are actually my job; not eating on a regular and timely basis; I’m not very organized.

    Payoff for continuing them: remaining where I am, not having any energy means I don’t have to do things I don’t feel up to doing, not being organized means remaining in a place where I feel utterly lost.

    Though I’m uncomfortable judging them as ‘rotten’. I get more done than I think I do, even with the timesucks.

    Subtle bad habits: I never do yoga, and that both helps me sleep and makes me feel a lot better; I haven’t been to a ritual in ages; and I always tell my mother and brother stuff I shouldn’t, like personal stuff. They can’t, actually, be trusted, as they are a pair of flaming narcissists, oy. How is this sabotage? It keeps me where I am, true.

    I don’t know, though. Because now I’m just feeling guilty, and that is not a good sign. I have come to a place lately where I am simply trying to accept how I am. I am where I am and that is all right. Whatever those habits are, it is all right. They do serve me, or they have served me. Where I am I can’t push right now. I’ve been pushing all my life. Right now I’m in a place where I am just looking, and not judging it. That is kindness for me right now.