Whenever I hear the phrase"Inner Child" it makes me cringe. At least it used to. It felt woo woo. It felt kumbaya. For people in communes in the 60s. Sunflowers and acid. I don't remember where I got that.
But I remember the moment it changed.
Someone was guiding me through a visualization. They didn't use the word inner child. But somehow there I was on the sidewalk outside my first childhood home, the apartment my parents could afford when they were 20 with a toddler and my Dad still finishing college. I was crying.
The meditation was like I was watching a movie. The adult me knelt down to the toddler me. I don't have children, but I know that what I felt looking into the eyes of that two year old is the same infinite depth of emotion a mother feels for her child. In the exact same moment I felt it coming back from the little me, the trust of another human being so deep you feel safe with your life in their hands.
For my adult life I had probably said "love and accept yourself" thousands of time. This was the first time I experienced such a knowledge in my body/mind/spirit, instead of merely thinking the thought in my head.
Until you know you can't know.
In my last post, I described a day of me "managing" pain. I talked about distracting the nervous system. I said to give it other input so the neural pathways wouldn't descend into a reeling painful rabbit hole. At some point I said to love and accept the body.
I didn't say that clearly enough, though, to love and accept the body. I'm going to clarify that now. What I'm going to say next directly affects the efficacy of these "bodymind" healing ideas.
Disrupting the pain cycle is one aspect of this process.
This is key, though:
You must also be assuring your body that you are ok. We are ok. Don't be afraid of this pain because I am here with you. And you also ask, what do you want? Why are you hurting? What shall we do to make you feel better?
It's the difference between shoving a toy at a crying toddler to distract them in order to make them shut up, and getting down on your knees at their level, giving them a hug, then looking into their eyes and asking what's wrong? And then hearing their answer for real. Then honoring and respecting it. Then telling them they are good and you love them. Kumbaya, I know! but you have to!
Half the time the problem was that they were two. They were trying to say something as important to them as their life. They spoke a funny baby language, though, and the adults were too busy. Their two year old mind thought that meant they weren't important. That not being important might have grown over the years into adult chronic pain. (Even when the adult thinks they know they're important.)
You have likely heard book titles that say in order to heal you must "listen to your pain," or "listen to your body." I agree. It won't work though, if you're only listening in order to shut it up. When you can look into the eyes of that pain as if it were a crying child you loved with all your being, that's when the teary eyes might look up to see if they can trust you. You have that one moment to show them you mean it.
If they tell you, treat that knowledge like the life-giving treasure that it is.