In the second installment of Nina Endrst’s 3-part series, she asks the question: So, you’ve met your inner child — now what?
Inner child work can at times be deemed controversial — some theorize it is not beneficial based on the belief that certain happenings are better left alone and in the past. While it can get uncomfortable at times — in most cases, especially when it comes to breaking free of unhealthy patterns and cycles – I have to respectfully disagree. If we want to see major change in individual and collective consciousness, we need to dig a little deeper. I believe with the right tools and a knowledgeable, supportive professional, we can safely access repressed memories and begin to heal old wounds we are unconsciously holding. I’ve experienced it in myself and witnessed countless clients create noticeable shifts in awareness that profoundly change the way we show up in the world.
I’ve also found that, while some experience intense recollections, adults are more often able to relax and enjoy the lighter side of healing when play is involved. This is not to dismiss the seriousness of mental health but rather it’s about marrying the shadowy depths with the brightness of laughter and joy. We all came into this world the same way, as little, mushy, cooing babies – tapping into that innocence and simplicity, to the spirit of who we truly are, is why we do this work. Adults have a tendency to attach more easily to negative thoughts, feelings and experiences, while young children are much more resilient and quite forgiving. The gentle soul of a child brings healing in thought alone, so imagine what happens when we begin to embody this?
We all have different paths through this type of healing – for me, watching my son explore himself and the world around him resonates on a level no book or podcast could ever reach. When I first came upon this work, I understood it topically on an intellectual level. Now, feeling that in my body is completely different level of knowing – one that informs everything I do and teach. These exercises are meant to educate us beyond our minds’ understanding of past experiences or the ego’s attachment to what is and is not. If you are feeling stuck, there is nothing wrong with you. If you are feeling anxious or on edge, you are not sick or defective in some way. If you are feeling far away from yourself and wanting to come home, these practices are for you.
What does your heart say?
I was speaking to a client recently who was struggling with a life choice – possible new career, perhaps even uprooting and changing his location altogether. He, like many people, found himself at a fork in the road and was a bit anxious about the “right choice.” I asked him what he would do if money was not on the table. He looked at me like I was nuts. I explained I was not suggesting he abandon his financial responsibilities and act from a childish place, but I was asking him to embrace and move toward a childlike energy. Deciding from a place deep inside that is connected, honest and heart-centered rarely lands us in a bad situation. We’ve been taught being unconventional in life is a flighty, irresponsible way to exist in the world and I couldn’t disagree more. If we are privileged enough to be able to make choices this way, what a shame it would be to waste that. I strongly encouraged you to listen your heart instead of your ego before acting or speaking. A lot of us aren’t sure how to differentiate the ego from our intuition and as a result are often left confused and not confident in ourselves.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath down into your belly and ask yourself, what does my heart say? Listen for a decisive voice, yes or no. Ask yourself what truly makes you happy, not what you think should make you happy. Take a moment to receive the answer instead of searching for it. Ego will show up with question and fear, heart will guide you with love and confidence. A simple practice to access your highest self.
Presence + Connection
I grew up in the 90’s long before social media was a thing. Aside from the occasional Sonic the Hedgehog SEGA game, most of my time was spent outdoors running barefoot, riding my bike, building tree houses with friends – or my personal favorite, water balloon fights! As a culture we spend way too much time indoors, worrying and writing lists under fluorescent lighting. Grab a friend that makes you laugh, (one you can truly be yourself around – not some filtered version of yourself) and get outside! Your backyard, a park of some sort, even a playground! Kick your shoes off and run around barefoot – allow yourself to connect to the elements. Be sure to leave your phone home or off to the side so you can experience the feeling of air on your skin and breath in your lungs, without distractions. Will running around like this feel silly? Probably. Are you going to be insecure for a moment? Maybe. Do it anyway. Getting out of our heads and into our bodies is such great medicine. Growing up doesn’t mean losing that joy and freedom we once felt – sure it has to change and shape shift a bit but it’s in there, so let it out!