Like many things in life, the inner child seems to be of a dual nature; wonder child on one hand, and wounded child on the other. I venture to guess wonder child came first for most of us, found in the loving gaze and arms of parents, caretakers, and others. The world was so very fresh, new, and exciting, with many adventures ahead.
Many left the care and comfort of their parents laps to toddle off on this incredible journey with the tools they needed to face and conquer life's many challenges. To get a good image and understanding of the common obstacles of youth and life and how they are resolved or not, please see Stages of Development.
There are many fortunate ones who got what they needed to thrive and flourish through-out their lives, but what of those who were rejected, abandoned, abuse, or otherwise thwarted in their life's quest? What of those who instead learned dis-ease, dysfunction, and insanity? Those are the ones who most need our help. If you are one of the less fortunate ones, you are included.
Not only in at last receiving the loving care, kindness, and guidance you need, but included in the ranks of those who must reach out to others also less fortunate, and in helping them heal, to heal yourself. We find the inner child not only to be the embodiment of all of the losses of our youth, but also the opportunity for recovery of all we could have had, and we should have had. If this resonates with you, you are in the right place, you are home.
What is home? A safe place, a place we feel welcome and comforting. It could be a place, a person, or a practice where we can rest. A twelfth century Tibetan mind training slogan says "Rest in the Essence; Alaya" (home). A Course In Miracles states this simply as; "Rest in God." I attend a twelve step recovery retreat in the spring and fall that feels so welcoming and safe for my adult and inner child I regard it as "The cradle of loving kindness."
But what if the home of our youth was not a safe, welcoming, and comforting place? What if it was a place of stress, abandonment, and abuse? It is often said we have three choices; fight, flight, or freeze. The fighters act out family dysfunction, frustration, and rage they feel in the home and consequently within themselves. The "flyers" run from trouble, unable to deal with it with a child's limited resources. The "freezers" run too, but into themselves as they shut down and close off from the confusion and angst they feel.
These troubled kids are usually mistaken as the source of the problem rather than a symptom. No surprise Jack Kornfield, an eminent psychologist says he has never seen a youngster with a drug problem that came from a healthy family. The point here is that if you feel like you were one of these kids growing up, you have that inner child in you now longing for resolution and rest.
This is vitally important as the unresolved issues of youth tend to poison and infect our thoughts, emotions, and actions through-out our lives unless we find the help we need. Only then can we move forward with the wisdom and intelligence of an adult coupled with the joy, spontaneity, creativity, and energy of youth.
It is hard to communicate just how crucial this connection with our inner child is. perhaps a telling sign is that a large and powerful part of the twelve step brotherhood is Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA). Many find this meeting and path to expose and heal the core issues of addictions and issues they were unable to in other twelve step programs, support groups, counseling, and therapy alone.
If this sounds like something that appeals to you, we would like to suggest the ACA "Big Red Book" and Step Study and Laundry List Workbooks. The workbooks are best done in a group or at least with one other person as isolation is one of our core issues, so community and connection can further healing greatly. Another book that is highly recommended by many in the program and deals directly and effectively with these issues is John Bradshaw's Homecoming.
Understanding and utilizing the impact and effect of the inner child is a life changer for many. The books do a great job but we also like to give a taste of how much this means to us personally, so for our founding fathers inner child story please click here
In closing we wish to say how much we love and cherish our inner kids, and hope to impress on others the incredible peace and healing available through our naturally sensitive, eager, and loving inner kids. You may find as we have that life is so much more rich and fulfilling when we let our child lead. Good luck and good love!