Tag Archive: inner child


My relationship with my mom since she’s passed has been morphing from one of frustration to one of inspiration in many ways. She had this quote from Charles Fillmore hanging in every single house we lived in the whole time I was growing up. He wrote this when he was 94:

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

My mom was always moving, always doing. Whether it was cooking, sewing, painting, or building something from an idea she dreamed, she was making it happen, even if she lost interest halfway through. In retrospect it seemed almost frantic, all that busy-ness.  I think about it now and it seems like she was keeping something at bay by never standing still, distracting herself from dealing with her pain.  She didn’t have an easy life.  She rarely spoke of her hardships.  She nearly always spoke positively though, I think she knew the power of her thoughts even when she felt like giving up.

It was just the two of us most of the time, so we spent a lot of time together. As a kid I felt like she was trying to make me into someone I wasn’t, like who I was wasn’t what she expected and I was very rebellious, very defensive.  I had an incredibly negative attitude with her and she seemed an unnerving and annoying vessel of positivity and gooey Light that I didn’t want on me.  There were times when my cynicism and attitude got to her and she would finally snap. It was a powerful thing to behold, shocking even. Then sometimes she would just break down and cry at her sewing table, holding her head in her hands for an hour or more and that was even more humbling. I remember feeling like an ass on many occasions but not knowing how to express my regret and apologize. We didn’t do that.  I didn’t intend to hurt my mom’s feelings, I was just trying to hold my ground to whatever extent I felt she was encroaching on me, but I had no filter for that. I didn’t know where to draw the line.

We never talked about things like that. Negatively perceived emotions weren’t something to be felt or expressed, they were to be ridiculed or outlawed and stuffed, deep down inside behind a locked door and never fed or visited. When an unpleasant emotion escaped into the light, it would wreak havoc on the house, stir things up, run amok through the china closet, and knock us both out of orbit for a while, but then there would be this enormous sense of relief afterward and we would resume life as usual.

I’ve spent a lot of time since her passing remembering the shitty things I said and did to her and the attitude I gave her, understandably feeling terrible about it, like a horrible daughter.  That doesn’t change the fact that I was endlessly irritated by my chipper, happy, singing, beautiful, talented, pushy mom.

In light of recent events, I can see that I was mirroring her shadow for her so she could release the negativity that she was keeping in check, so she could actually feel her feelings. I still feel bad about it sometimes when a particularly shameful memory comes up, but I understand now that in the grand scheme of things we all need someone to trip our triggers. If no one ever does, we never resolve the things within us that need our attention, our presence, our acceptance and forgiveness. It’s so important to cry, to rage, to expel our toxic feelings in a safe way, by ourselves or with someone who loves you enough not to take it personally.

My mother was and is an incredibly strong and courageous soul. She was brave in ways I can’t imagine being. She made many mistakes, which is what I used to focus on (and remind her of, every chance I got), but ultimately her ‘mistakes’ lined me up for a rich experience full of events and people to navigate through and learn from, events and people that have paved the path to create the person I am, and I like who I’ve become.

I have recently come to the realization that I chose that experience – in detail and on purpose – before I came here and that she loves me enough that she willingly fulfilled her leading part in that experience to grow my soul into the amazing tree of knowledge that it now is, and it keeps on growing me. I am grateful for every minute of it. I find myself coaching my friends on how to change their thinking, I catch myself singing the lyrics to the songs she used to sing while she was working, I find myself wanting to paint this quote somewhere prominently displayed in my home, and I find myself building things I’ve only seen in my dreams.

Thank you, Mama.

I am ready and willing to release the need to hurt myself.
Am I punishing myself?  Do I believe that I am ‘bad’ because someone once (ok-way more than once) told me so (at the top of their lungs) while they were punishing me? Did their justification for it validate that belief or did it create it? What could I have possibly done at eight to elicit that response?
I was punished, degraded and called names by unaware, unenlightened people who couldn’t control their angst and anger, who were not in touch with their feelings, who couldn’t tap into their compassion, their heart. That condition is not (was not) a reflection of ME. I am not (was not) responsible for their feelings or lack of awareness, then or NOW, although I believed I was. So much easier to blame the child than to get a grip on yourself, or ask someone for HELP.
I am GOOD. I WAS good. My intentions were good. I was sensitive and intuitive and my heart was open, until I adopted that belief, that I was wrong…bad. I’ve spent the last 23 years proving to myself that I’m undeserving, that I don’t belong, that my feelings and my experience don’t matter, that I’m responsible for other people’s reactions, that my needs aren’t important, because there’s something in me that isn’t RIGHT.
But the buck stops here.
You may have created me, you may have molded me and shaped my experience, but your words and actions no longer bind me to your definition of me in your anger. Clearly your life was not ideal, your experience difficult. But 40 years later, you are still stuck in that place and I refuse to spend the next 40 years blaming you or my experience of you for the outcome of my life. I’m sorry you can’t see me. I’m sorry you can’t wrap your mind around what I’ve become, largely through my own efforts, having little or nothing to do with your input or opinion or advice. And I’m sorry you can’t see yourself, that you feel lost and alone now, because someone obviously told you some of the same things you told me, and it’s hard to be still with yourself when you don’t hold a high opinion of YOU.
I’m going to bless you now, and every time I think of it, until that hole in me is mended. And I’m going to see you as the emotionally wounded individuals that you are, just as I am, deserving of love and compassion.   I’m not going to nurture that seed that was planted anymore, because I know it was not your intention to wound me. I am your child, but that’s not all that I am, I will not allow that experience to limit me any longer.

I love you and forgive you.

∞E

I know no one likes to hurt.

Emotional pain is uncomfortable, overwhelming, debilitating and exhausting.  Everyone deals with it differently.  Some repress or deny, some vocalize and cry, some try to bury themselves in work or activities or other relationships, numbing themselves until the majority of it passes, or get angry and shut down emotionally.  Regardless of how you handle it, pain doesn’t just vanish.  If you don’t deal with it in a constructive manner, eventually it’s going to come back to bite you, either in your relationships or your health.

I’m no expert, but I’m no stranger to pain.  I’ve spent a lot of time and energy fending it off in various ways and I’ve come to realize that the best way for me to deal is to confront it directly.  You’re already hurting right?  It hasn’t killed you in the past, correct?  So, if you’re wallowing in doom or despair, my suggestion is to take it one step further and marinade in it.  Not forever, just for now.  Find out the real reasons for your distress by following the pain to its source.  I promise you, if you go down that rabbit hole you won’t get stuck there.  You can get out of the pool any time you want.  You can even take several short dips, whenever you’re feeling strong enough.

Many times emotional hurt manifests physically as sensation in the body.  Get comfortable wherever you are, breathe deeply and feel into your body until you find it.  Is it in the pit of your stomach, your heart, your shoulders, your head?  What does it feel like?  Does it feel like weight, static, anxiety, pressure, pain?  If it’s pain, what are its characteristics?  Is it sharp, dull, pounding?  Constant or intermittent?  Does it feel like a combination of things?  Does it feel familiar to you?  Sit with it, breathe and channel  your breath to that part of your body.  It’s a physical acknowledgment to your being that you’re consciously nurturing the part of you that’s hurting.

While you’re breathing, search your memory for another time in your life when you felt the same or a similar sense of dis-ease.  Is your current situation triggering a memory and mirroring an old emotional or physical response?  Is this response appropriate to your current situation or does it just feel like a replay of a bad dream?  If you feel like someone ‘did this TO you’, is that accurate, or did you have an expectation that they didn’t meet?  Are you taking something personal that isn’t?  If your situation triggers anxiety or fear, where does that come from?  Try and remember what’s caused you anxiety or fear in the past.  Follow the feeling to find out why it made you anxious or fearful.

At the core of the emotion is something you believe about yourself, see if you can identify it.  Do you, in your core, believe that you are unlovable, unsafe, unworthy, worthless or something else?  Go to the source of that belief.  Remember who you were as a child, as a young adult, or a partner.  Relive having your feelings negated, being humiliated, being jilted by a lover, feeling abandoned when someone you depended on left or died.  Feel into the loss, the hopelessness, the regret, the fear again with compassion for the person you were then.  Forgive yourself, then and now, for doing the wrong thing, being afraid, being helpless or weak, not knowing better, not sticking up for yourself, not knowing how to react.

We all find it easy to empathize with others, but we rarely cut ourselves any slack.  Learn to have compassion for yourself and your own tough life experiences as if you were your own friend.  Half of our problem is that we’ve judged ourselves so harshly in memory that our psyche (the culmination of all that we’ve experienced that’s held in our memory) doesn’t trust our mind to make the right choices for us.  We think that familiar sinking feeling means we’ve blown it – AGAIN – and are going to have to relive the same situation.  But oftentimes the reason we attract the same seemingly habitual, painful experiences is because we’re not yet aware of what in US needs to be seen, heard, and acknowledged and sometimes accepted or forgiven.  Once that work is done, the psyche can release the need to keep re-experiencing those patterns.

We don’t have the power to change the past, but we can learn from it and move into a better experience by releasing old pain.  It’s well worth the time and effort.  If you’re already feeling hurt, you owe it to your future to find out why.  Empathize with that child you were, or the wife or son or daughter you were.  Forgive the people and circumstances that caused that pain if you can, but definitely forgive YOURSELF.  No one has all the answers.  We’re all here clumsily making our way through life and its myriad of curve balls.  We’re here to make mistakes, it’s all part of the process.  Cry it out, talk it out (even to yourself), write it out, and BE KIND to yourself in the process.  When you get out of the pool, you’ll have discharged a lot of residual negative emotion, you’ll feel calmer, and you’ll have a new respect for yourself and how far you’ve come.

To your Future with Love,

∞E

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