I have a child. Apparently her name is Sylvia. I know this because I was introduced to her at The Golden Door health retreat in Australia in a ‘Soul Awakening’ session that was gifted to me by the retreat.
Of course I went in with an open mind though I was secretly expecting dream catchers and angel cards, sage sticks, incantations, and some eye of newt. Instead, I got Sylvia. Which was a relief. At first.
Turns out my inner child just wants a hug, not just one either, a gazillion to make up for all the times I have ignored her.
The theory is that at some stage we are all wounded as children. It could be as simple as running in with excitement to show your mother or father something wondrous in your child world and be rejected due to adult stuff getting in the way. For some it may be something far more traumatic.
So we grow up dancing around people that treat us badly in the hope we will get the love we didn’t get then. I know, right? Dumb as.
Meanwhile our mini me’s see the attention we give the people that don’t respect us so well and realise if they want attention then they’d better treat us like crap too. Enter the monkey mind chatter that constantly tells us we’re not good enough, we’re not loveable, we’re not thin enough, rich enough, attractive enough. The same voice that judges and shames others then judges and shames ourselves.
Voila now she/he has all the attention and any attention is better than no attention when you’re a child.
My ‘Soul Awakener’ MaYanya gave me a solution which at first had me laughing out loud. Name the child and talk to her.
The first name that popped into my head was Sylvia and I was told that every time I compared myself to someone else or told myself I wasn’t loveable enough or sought acceptance from outside myself, told myself that I was ‘too much’ or judged another person (you get the drift) I was to do the following.
“Now hug her in close to you and tell her that you love her over and over and do it as you would a gorgeous child” said MaYanya. “Then say “we don’t do this” and keep telling her you love her.”
The idea is that over time the inner child is calmed and healed and the behaviour changes and the number of internal temper tantrums will decrease.
I’m a solution driven person, to the point and action orientated so was more than willing to give it a try and was surprised how often I had to do this throughout a single day. I’m still surprised now.
But the theory is that when you are inside your head and out of your heart and going crazy with internalised story making that the answer is more love not less. These are the words of Matt Kahn who has an excellent YouTube video on this idea. His work can be pretty out there but this video resonates in a world gone mad.
So Sylvia got me thinking about vulnerability and how there are two kinds, one that de-stabilises and one that leads to connection. When she’s left to run wild and scream and throw temper tantrums striving for attention then the vulnerability I feel is de-stabilising and down the rabbit hole we go and for god sake do not even dream of adding alcohol or mind altering substances at this point.
I end up in unsafe environments where my need for acceptance overdrives my need to look after myself. We’ve all been there. Stayed not walked or at least gone silent when someone in the workplace or personal life was mean, made us uncomfortable, were cruel or abusive or emotionally unavailable to us in some verbal, physical or behavioural way simply because our child was screaming for love, any love and maybe there’s was too.
When Sylvia is calm and knows she is loved by me then my vulnerability leads to authentic and genuine connection where safe decisions can be made for the best of both of us. Where you can speak your truth and hear another person’s truth. Where patience and trust win out, not control and fear.
You can walk or you can stay, you can say “I love that let’s do more of that” or “hey that’s not ok for me” without worrying about an outcome because no outcome is needed when you feel peace within.
It takes practice, a lot of practice and we’re all human and flawed and slip up. I find nature helps and have found a space in a particular woods here in Colorado where I let Sylvia play and skip and be free and loved. She has thrown some recent tantrums too bashing her head against blocks instead of following the flow I am here for.
Silly me let her, but calling that silly is judging yet again and deserves another hug.
So the answer again, is more love, not less and that’s not love from others, it is love from within. Going easy on ourselves and others, learning to let it go and take life less seriously as we’re never getting out alive.
What a crazy ride us humans are on. Now back to having fun and flow.
As you were.
Have a listen to a podcast I did this week with Go From There on vulnerability, intimacy, connection, grief, religion and more.
Read more: Finding a new normal
If you want to know more about Soul Awakening contact The Golden Door Health Retreat