Nina Endrst recently discovered an old friend — her 7 year-old self — who helped and continues to help her overcome significant obstacles. Want to locate yours?
This is the first post in a 3-part series by Nina Endrst .
Hi, nice to see you again.
I am looking at a photo of myself around age 7 or so – I am in a Girl Scout uniform. I think that lasted a month or two – it got boring very quickly. I recognize this little person but barely – she has my eyes. Her head is resting softly on a friend’s shoulder, hands folded in her lap, a shy smile across her face. I remember the stage in the room we are sitting on – isn’t it strange the things that stay with us? We’re in my elementary school auditorium.
We used to wait for the bus there when it was cold outside. One day, an older girl walked toward me – I can still feel the excitement/terror sloshing around in my belly. What was she going to say?
“Come sit with us.” She exclaimed! Phew. Instant confidence boost – at that age, older girls may as well have been GODS!
I sang my first and only solo there. I had a cold, and was so nervous my voice would crack and everyone would point and laugh. It didn’t, and kind people told me the song sounded lovely. There were highs, middles, and lows in that space. Many awkward moments in gym class there. I found out my parents were getting divorced and later cried there. I felt angry and stupid because I wasn’t chosen for the TAG (Talented And Gifted program) there. I graduated 6th grade on that stage and was proud of myself. I remember the feeling but was too afraid to be vulnerable, so I promptly threw my diploma in the trash on the way out of the ceremony.
I just started to reconnect with little Nina a few years ago – it had been more than 20 years since I had last spoken to her. I was getting a massage with an energy healer and she whispered to me at the end, “you need to hug the little you.” I felt her words, everywhere. My childhood was amazing in so many ways but it was also painful. This is the case for many of us – the lucky ones. Every adult has suffered some kind of pain, loss or trauma in their childhood, most of which is not dealt with until much later in life, if ever.
Inner child work asks that we dig deep and get very honest about what triggers us and why. This works encourages us to reconnect with our joyful self – to move like water and act from love. Little me was in there waiting but I wasn’t ready for a long time to hear what she had to say. I still have a hard time checking in, honestly. I feel a little lump in my throat as I write this, which is precisely why I felt it was important to share.
So, what is inner child work?
The phrase is vague and can be a bit unsettling, as most of us have unresolved issues attached to childhood. Maybe for you that was having your favorite stuffed animal taken away or, in severe cases, physical or emotional abuse. Of course, these are not one and the same, but trauma is trauma. If you were hurt, it is important to understand, that energetic imprint may very well be affecting you today. There is an all too common belief that if we don’t go there, the hard stuff will just magically disappear. It isn’t easy, but the only way to break free of the pain that might be blocking us is to dive headfirst into the unknown and somewhat murky waters of our adolescence.
I hope this series will offer you simple yet profound ways to reintroduce yourself to the little soul who first met this world, before you were exposed to or understood the not-so-bright side of life.
Meditate to Meet
First, move – run or spin or put on some of your favorite music and shake your body out. One of the hardest things about meditating for most people is transitioning to stillness. If you have a lot of pent up, fiery energy, move it out! Then, when you feel release, sit or lie down and be still. Take a few deep breath cycles down into your belly. For a moment allow yourself to simply feel that – inhale, exhale. After a few moments visualize your current self in a safe space, a garden or an open field. Then invite the little person you used to be. Can you see her? What is she wearing? What does her face look like? Happy? Or is she sad or confused? Talk to her. I like to say, “I love you, you are safe, you are good enough, you are OK, I support you.” Let the words fall out of your mouth — say what needs to be said.
Ditch “The Plan”
We exist in a culture that is constantly demanding that we “grow up” and be clear about what we want to accomplish in this life. “What’s your plan?” Words like productive are thrown around and creative spirits are often crushed under the pressure to conform. There is no right or wrong way to live as long as we do so in an ethical way, in my opinion. Getting caught up in the way “it should be” or following a strict path to the plan limits our ability to exist outside of the box! Kids don’t live for other people. Trust me, I have a toddler and he runs the show. Try allowing the little person inside to make more choices. Ask her what feels good and not so good. Ask her who she wants to hang out with and what kind of work makes her heart sing. Some of us will need or want guides while others prefer to go it alone. Either way, please invite yourself to believe that the magic of life will happen if you allow room for trust. Repeat this mantra when you feel stuck – I choose love over fear.