Quality of Life

Some people like to say, "Eat well, do good, get exercise, and die anyway," as some sort of excuse for partying, being unhealthy and/or being inconsiderate. This logic has no place in a happy, fulfilling and successful life. Regardless of when you die, you want the life you live today, and tomorrow to be the best life you can possibly have. There is no excuse for not doing the best for yourself and the best you can for those you love. Even if I were going to die in six months, I still would continue my diet exactly as I do (if not do even better) because I want the highest quality for my life. The quantity is quite irrelevant.

~Raederle Phoenix Jacot

"Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?" ~ M. C. Escher

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Inner Child

I have conversations in my head, I admit it.

Is that really wise? You know you're posting this online, right?

It's completely normal, and we all do it.

You can justify it all you want, but someone is going to disagree. Someone always does.

This conversation between yourself, and your other self, is a conversation (so I've just learned) between your Inner Parent and your Inner Child.

So which one am I? The Inner Parent or the Inner Child?

Hush you. I think you know.


This morning I discovered a website, by complete happenstance, that is selling a book to get you in touch with your inner child (and thereby stabilize your brain and give you peace of mind and repair all the traumatic damage your childhood did to your mind.) The site explains that your Inner Parent is formed from your experiences with your parents (or lack thereof) and that your Inner Child represents the person you were as a child.

I didn't buy the book, but I'm a clever chick. I figured out enough from the website to try out the basic exercise on my own.



The basic exercise is as follows:

  • You hold a conversation, on purpose, between your Inner Child and your Inner Parent.

  • The conversation lasts exactly thirty minutes.

  • You want to spend no more than thirty minutes because you don't want to over-indulge your inner child.

  • You don't want to spend less than thirty minutes because that communicates to your inner child that you don't care. Your Inner Child may try to trick you by suggesting to stop early. Continuing on shows that you care.

  • You want to stick to thirty minutes also because this shows consistency. Not following through on what you plan to do is hard on your Inner Child just as it's hard on children when parents don't do what they promise to do.

  • The Inner Parent speaks out-loud.

  • The Inner Child speaks inside your mind.

  • You record everything you say either on paper, or on your computer. Write down each and every single word you say, without altering it.

  • If you do it on paper, draw a line down the center to make two columns. If on the computer, create a basic table and then put each question in the box to the left and the response (of your Inner Child) in the corresponding box of the table on the right. If you can not create a table easily and quickly on your computer, paper will be more comfortable for you.

  • Write the Parent part on the left, and the Child part on the right. Inner Parent asks questions. Inner Child answers.

  • After everything the Inner Child says, Inner Parent must say: "Thank you, Inner Child, for telling me that." I found this part to be very important and very helpful.

It makes the switch in my mind back to Inner Parent complete. At one part, where I was crying my eyes out, just saying the mantra "Thank you, Inner Child, for telling me that," I felt better. Not just better, I should say, but rather, like a switch had flipped and I was no longer in touch with the emotions that had just been making me cry and convulse.

  • You always say "Thank you, Inner Child, for telling me that." No matter what the Inner Child says, even if your Inner Child asks a question.

  • Do the exercise in the morning. The exercise will generate positive energy which will dissipate (at least partly) as you sleep. By doing it in the morning, you carry the effects with you all day long.

I found this exercise to be very uplifting and enlightening. ...Like all these unresolved issues and stresses inside came to the surface. It was like having a good cry, an hour's-long conversation with a good friend, and writing a good journal entry all wrapped up into a short half-hour session. I loved it, and I'm going to do it again tomorrow morning.

I felt that the responses from my Inner Child came naturally – so naturally that my vocabulary was even different. I wrote "grown-up" instead of "adult" when my Inner Child was speaking, which really surprised me. There were other similar instances of unusual vocabulary and word usage in general. Your Inner Child really is right there, under the surface, just waiting for you to talk to it.


This is obviously very personal, but because I found it so very beneficial, I'm going to share most of the session I had this morning.








Parent

[January 6th 2011]

Inner Child

[Session #1]

Good morning Inner Child. This is going to be my very first conversation with you. I'd like to ask you a few questions.

[Warm sensation in chest.]

Are you okay with this?

Yes. I am. I like this idea.

Is there anything troubling you?

I miss Mom. I feel trapped here. There is no outside source of protection.

What do you miss about Mom?

I miss hugging her. I miss knowing she is there. I miss the security and feeling safe. I felt special and loved.

Why don't you feel loved now?

I do feel loved, but it's in a different way. It's not as safe and as warm.

Why do you feel trapped, Inner Child?

There is no where to go, no where to run to. There is nothing outside. I am in a cave, by my self and there is no way out. There are responsibilities, and they never end.

What would make you feel less trapped?

Flowers. Plants. Fresh air.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about flowers, plants and fresh air?

I want to play. I feel playful around flowers and plants and fresh air.

What else makes you feel playful?

Feeling loved. Kisses, hugs, jumping, running, smiling, laughing, dancing, singing, swimming, ice skating...

What would make you feel more special?

Tea.

Is there anything else that you miss?

I miss having help. Nobody helps me do anything anymore. I have to figure everything out on my own.

What do you want help with?

Everything! Everything is so much easier when someone helps me. Even if it is only a little help.

What do you want help with the most?

Making food.

Inner Child, do you feel beautiful?

Yes. My husband loves me, and it makes me feel beautiful.

Inner Child, what do you feel about Jay?

He is kind. He is like a new father. He pays attention to me. He makes me feel loved and warm. His hair is pretty. I like his company. I wish he was around more. I like his help.

Inner Child, what else is on your mind?

Food. I think about it more than I eat it. It isn't right.

Is there anything else bothering you, Inner Child?

I think Dad is depressed. I'm not even there to do anything about it. I can't do anything! I hate being helpless. I am far away and I can not hug him and tell him that it is alright and that I love him very much. I miss him. I just got to know him and then he was gone. And it hurts so very much that I can't let him know how I feel and that he can't understand... That we can't understand each other correctly. I want him to know how much I love him, and how important he is to me, but I'm afraid he won't believe me. I miss him. I miss him so much.

If Dad were here right now, Inner Child, what would you say to him?

I love you Dad. I'm sorry I wasn't the child you wanted me to be. I'm sorry I never paid enough attention. You were at work so much, and I didn't feel like I had the chance... The reason... The opportunity... I didn't have a way to connect with you. I felt like you were distant, and I wish I could have closed the gap. I wish I could have tried harder to get to know you better while we still had so much time we could have spent together. I'm so very sorry. I feel like it's my fault, like your unhappiness is my fault. Like if I had been a better daughter, then you'd be happier now.

Inner Child, why are you crying?

Because it's hard to think about my regrets and what I wish I were doing.

Inner Child, what would make you feel happier towards Dad?

Being able to hug him.

Inner Child... Why... What do you want to do?

I want to play. I'm tired of trying to “be productive” all the time.

Inner Child, do you know what “our” heart hurts?

Yes. It's because I hurt. Duh.

Inner Child, do you feel that childhood was enough?

Yes – no – sometimes. I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel ready to move on, but sometimes I just want to curl up and go to sleep and forget I have to be a grown-up now.

What do you think of this conversation, Inner Child?

I think it's wonderful. We never talk like this anymore. Nobody talks to me at all anymore. I feel like I am dying – dead. I feel gone, and withered. I feel smothered and hurt. I feel like nobody cares that I exist. I am small, shrunken... I am unheard.

What would make you feel heard, Inner Child?

I don't know.

Where do you go when you feel unheard?

Deeper. I snuggle down into this thick black... blanket. It's liquid, but warm and fluffy. I hide inside and nobody can see me. You like it when I am unseen, right?

Why would you feel like I don't want to see you, Inner Child?

Because I make us look like a fool. I am wrong. I am immature. I don't belong. I don't fit in. I am not good enough. I am not like everyone else. I am not okay. It is not okay to be me.

Why do you feel like you're wrong, Inner Child?

Because I am! I make mistakes and then we're in trouble.

What sort of mistake are you afraid of making, Inner Child?

One I can't repair. One where nobody will love me anymore. I don't want to make a mistake where people I love will not look at me, will not talk to me, will not respect me – will not hug me, hold me, care about me anymore. I am going to hurt people I love if I do not hide.

Inner Child, where would you feel happier?

In loving arms. I miss being hugged. I no longer feel hugged when I'm hugged because it's not me being hugged. It's you! It's always you. You've killed me. I feel murdered.

Inner Child... What should I do, I need to be stronger to face the world, and I don't know how to feel strong when I'm... you...?

Let me out when nobody is looking. I'll behave.

Inner Child, what do you feel would constitute as misbehaving?

I'm not sure. Saying something that would get me in trouble... Forgetting something important. Leaving the door unlocked. Not making the bed. Making a mess... I guess.

Inner Child, how do you feel about memories of A Special Person I Won't Name?

He was wonderful! He talked to me all the time! He was always there for me... Sort-of. Well, I mean, he was good to me. He tried to acknowledge me and play with me. He talked to me for so long. He let me play with his Inner Child. We were friends. We were real friends.

Inner Child, we don't have much time left... What is the most pressing thought left?

I'm not sure there is anything “pressing” Mommy. I felt done. Thank you for talking to me.

Inner Child, we have one minute left... What else comes to mind?

Colors. I like to paint. We should spend more time painting. I love painting. And more music. There isn't enough art or music in our life. We need to play more. Please remember to play with me? And please, please talk to me again! I feel heard again, somewhat, at least. I missed talking. I missed it a lot. Thank you so much for listening to me.







Something I find fascinating is that I called myself "Mommy" in that second last response. Isn't that odd? I found it so natural and easy to assume two different selves; one parent, one child... It's as though I really have been divided this way all along, and I somehow didn't quite know it.


Also, isn't it miraculous that my Inner Child thanked me for talking to "her"? I found that astonishing too. Luckily I can type fast enough to capture my thoughts before I try to edit them. I would have a hard time doing this long-hand, personally.



You can buy the book if you want, but for me, I think I can come up with my own questions easily enough. I may buy the book just to be supportive or to see what else I can learn, but for now I'm happy enough with the new exercise as it is. The website is here.


If more of my personal angst interests you, I have recently put up my teenage angst-y poetry for public view here.

On a more serious note, more of my thoughts about how the brain works; here.

Also, I have an absurd pride for the food I eat every day (since learning to eat this way has taken years of research and adaptation), so I have this nifty photo log of my daily diet.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts. Also, I'd love to read your session with your Inner Child. You may e-mail it to pitifulbarbie@aol.com with the title "My conversation with my Inner Child." It's very important you use that title so that I don't mistake it for spam.

4 comments:

kelli said...

very interesting and insightful. thanks for sharing!

Lady Ruby said...

What happens if you never lost your Inner Child? Considering that I don't believe my childhood did any traumatic damage to my mind. I feel I had a pretty good childhood. The only "trauma" I have is through my attack.

Course, I use that term loosely. I know I have some things I don't think I can ever fix because of that, but I can keep it under control and not let it affect my life.

And my Inner Child seems rather cynical. I don't so much feel angry at my parents' divorce as I am tired and wish my dad would grow up. Inner Child even thinks he's being selfish and unreasonable. Then again, as a child I was always more rational and mature than most kids my age...

The exercise seems interesting though. It's definitely a way to bring out stuff without the help of someone else.

Brian Honeycutt said...

very cool! Definitely gonna try this. I'm sure my child would like to play more and work less as well.

Phoenix's Muse said...

Kelli,
You're very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

Lady Ruby,
I think that we're all defined by the things we lacked, and the things we had in plenty as a child. Our parents flaws effect us dramatically: whether we end up with the same flaw or resist it so vehemently that we end up the opposite.
I find it hard to believe that anybody fully keeps their Inner Child healthy and heard throughout their adulthood, but I wouldn't say that it's impossible.
If you feel at peace, that's the important part.

Brian,
It would be interesting to hear about your experience. -- Off topic -- Totally going to make more "Raw Chili" this weekend! :D