Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Excavating the inner child

A recurring theme in recent conversations has been how those of us who are more heart-centered feel drained by and disconnected to those who are head-focused.

I think we begin life, as children, living from the heart (the joy in watching ants colonize or finding a dazzling pebble), but manufacture filters as we age to protect us. In some ways, those filters begin to insulate us from true feelings and detach us from our bodies and hearts.

Think about all of the axioms we hear:
– Suck it up.
– Don’t be so sensitive.
– Get over it.
– Take care of it yourself.
– Forget it.
– Don’t dwell on it.
– Be a man.
– Grow up.
– Don’t be such a crybaby.

They direct us not to feel, express or explore what wounds us. So we bury those injuries. That does not, however, suggest they dissipate. I think they settle deeply somewhere inside with that hurt inner child.

For me, learning to live through my heart means resurrecting and excavating that lost inner child, opening those wounds, healing them and forgiving ... mostly myself. It’s not easy work and nothing I began short of being forced to out of pain. Of course, I had not idea what was happening at the time, I just wanted to escape the discomfort ... physical and emotional. I think we all have some experience of this. Sometimes it revolves around BIG events and injuries, others, a series of small injustices. That doesn’t matter, but how we respond does.

If we accept the invitation for self exploration and growth, wonderfully hard things can happen. We can begin to experience the heart and tap its deep roots for what we crave: love and acknowledgment.

Otherwise, the initial injury settles deeper with more sediment and, I suspect, excavation is a harder job.

• Where do I dwell, heart of head?
• What’s the difference for me?
• How can I learn to live more in and from my heart?
• What wounds have I uncovered?
• What work is left?

busy, busy head
trying to negotiate,
manage and control

easy, easy heart
open to love,
forgiveness and joy

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