I went to a workshop last not on "The Inner Child" and learned quite a bit.
From the handout:
"Inner child work is about learning to differentiate between feelings that are healthy and appropriate to the raality that is before us and the long-ago abandonded, dismissed and unfelt feelings that nevertheless take on a life of their own and come out sideways when we least expect it." I think this is what that means: Sometimes people's reactions to events seem "over the top" and it may be because the event touched unfelt feelings from childhood.
"Inner child work" is about our feelings - finding and honoring what we feel. In the beginning - we were our feelings. That may be an obvious statement - but I had never really thought about it. Our thoughts come after our feelings, don't they?
And as we grow up other people tell us how to deal with our feelings. Often the message is to manage them in a way that may not be helpful. Girls are told not to express anger and boys not to express sadness. Depending on our role in the family we have all had different messages about our feelings.But they are still there as "pools" or anger or sadness or fear that we need to address.
We did an interesting exercise of writing our name with our non-dominant hand. That really did take us back to ourselves at a certain age. We then dialogued with that child using first the dominant hand and then the non dominant. it was really instructive and powerful. I remembered 8 year old Margot living in Tulsa Oklahoma. I had a happy childhood but that does not mean that my family "honored" my feelings as a child. I remember being scared spending the night and running home in the middle of the night and then being the butt of jokes afterward. I remember being nervous walking to school because of a big dog and not having anyone (except Geoff who was scared with me) understand. I especially remember being sad when we were going to moved to Pennsylvania and nobody seemed to care.
In the face of lots of people's childhood traumas this is nothing much - but it does give me a sense of the messages I had about feelings and exposing those feelings to others. (or to myself.)
Anyway, this was part one of a two part workshop and I look forward to learning more next week. This is ultimately about accessing feelings and then re- parenting the child who lives within us.
To quote from the handout again:
You don't have to have had a terrible childhood in order to do inner child work. You just need a childhood that wasn't perfect. The inner child process is not about reverting to childish ways. It's about reclaiming the simplicity, the authenticity, the energy of childhood....and coming again to the place of integration and one-ness.
It is Isaiah who says, "A little child shall lead you" and Jesus who says "Unless you become as children you shall not enter the kingdom." "Let the children come to me."