©Healing the Inner Child by Willow Arlena
The finest garden that I know
Is one where little children grow,
Where cheeks turn brown and eyes are bright,
And all is laughter and delight.
Oh, you may brag of gardens fine,
But let the children race in mine;
And let the roses, white and red,
Make gay the ground whereon they tread.
— Edgar Guest
What lovely memories many of you are sharing! Even though sometimes, as psychohistorian Lloyd de Mause points out, childhood can be “a nightmare,” there are sweet, precious parts of that experience that shape us, and that we can access as adults to recover important clues about our authenticity.
For, while a stroll down memory lane may be pleasantly entertaining, my intention writing about it here is to discover the ways that our childhood memories give us access to magic and empowerment now.
For example, one of my faithful visitors shared his list of twenty of the things he loved when he was a kid. I wonder if he was struck, as I was, by some of the patterns there. He grew up in a rural setting, so naturally, many of his favorite memories revolved around the magical gifts of the land – bottle-feeding the baby calves, tilling up the soil for planting, catching June bugs and fireflies.
Surely this is a thread of what is deeply true for him – that he loves, and is loved by, the Guardians of Farm, Forest, and Earth.
Another person’s joyful recollections centered in her experiences going to a boarding school throughout her young life. Somewhat like going off to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books, she loved the familiarity of arriving at her home away from home every autumn. Her favorite memories at the all-girl school were a combination of silly and scholarly: the unfortunate weekend when all the girls on her floor cut each others’ hair; winning prizes for essays and poetry; the mysteriousness of Boys.
There is a part of us that is known by a number of names, including the subconscious, Younger Self, Child Self, or Lower Self, as well as the fetch, and “Unihipili” in Kahuna traditions. It is the part of us that is concerned with the functioning of our physical body, including our physical pleasures, and gathering the life force to us. It is emotional, pre-verbal, innocent and childlike.
Being able to listen to and interact with our Child Self is critical to being a wholly functioning adult. People that have repressed or tuned out their inner child self are often at the mercy of behaviors that they dislike and do not understand. Without an awareness and respect for our child self, we may find ourselves in conflict. For the rational mind (sometimes called Talking self, and corresponding to the ego in psychological terms) needs to be balanced with (and not warring for dominance over) the impulsive, whimsical nature of Younger Self.
Getting in touch with your child self is a powerful piece of healing magic that can align your mind, heart, and spirit. In this Spring time, when new life is born, we can celebrate our own renewal. I invite you to continue to connect with the little girl or boy that you were once upon a time, for you may surprised to discover they are still very much alive, well, and playing an important part in your life now.