A Labor of Love: Re-visiting My Inner Child

My body is saying something. I’ve been trying to decipher the message for months, but the meaning remains cryptic, hidden even. It uses the language of anxiety because that’s what it’s fluent in. As it turns out, anxiety has several dialogues. Restless nights, heart palpitations, sudden grief and intense loneliness.

I’ve felt these messages coming through day in and day out. My body is persistent in its communication. If I’m being honest, I know my body isn’t the original messenger. The messenger is much younger, much quieter, and much more elusive. He’s my inner child, and he knows I finally have the time and space to listen to him.

So he’s making himself heard, and while I don’t understand all that he is saying, I know he wants me to return home. Home isn’t a place or even a feeling. It is the moments that I’m stuck in. Flash points in my history that I moved through physically but not emotionally.

These moments arrested me with their intensity. I didn’t’ have the tools to process what I felt, so I buried what I could and ignored the rest in the name of survival. An understandable strategy, yet one that is no longer necessary.

It is time I return and face myself. Time I remember the cause of the wounds I carry. I know which moments are calling me back. As I revisit them anxiety and fear roll through me like waves on an unsettled sea. Loneliness draws me inward like the receding tide at dawn, and the tears I’ve held in reserve for decades sputter out in fits and spurts washing over me again and again.

Photo by Damon Carr on Unsplash

Nothing about this process is pleasant. Everything about it is purposeful. I was asked this week if everything (our pain, hope, physical or mental illness) is rooted in our childhood, and honestly I have no clue. I’m not a psychologist, therapist or mental health professional. I just know my story and I’m an expert in my own healing.

As it pertains to my journey, there is still a lot I need to learn, so I will continue to revisit these moments. For my son. For those I love, and most importantly for me. I deserve to heal, and to feel the expansion that comes with it. I’m done shrinking and hiding from my memories, from my pain, and from myself.

I know I’m not the only person doing inner child work. You’re probably reading this because you’re on your own journey of listening and revisiting. If so, I’d like you to join me in feeling through a few questions. I used the word feeling instead of thinking because we’re trying to access more than our conscious mind is aware of, and that requires a different way of processing. As you read, take a breath with each punctuation. Pause and note what you feel. The work of returning to ourselves requires that we slow down and be intentional.

What is your body telling you right now?

When you think of flash points from your childhood, what moments come to mind?

Imagine your inner child sitting on your lap and whispering into your ear. What are they telling you?

I don’t have many answers, but I know that every time I commit to this labor of love for myself, I come out feeling more complete and more in love with all of me. Day by day, piece by piece, moment by moment, we heal. Sometimes we heal through smiles, and other times through tears. Wherever you are today, I hope you’ll continue to journey into yourself. You’re worth it.