Tag Archives: innocence

The Inner Family

I’m currently rereading Anodea Judith’s excellent book Eastern Body, Western MindThis morning, I completed an exercise on the Inner Family that I’m going to share with you.

Anodea Judith suggests making a list of the various parts of yourself. You might include the inner child, the clown, the achiever, the lover, the critic, and so on. In my case, I listed the lost child, the inner child, the lover, the romantic, the fearful one, and the warrior.

Next to each name on the list, write a few words describing how you perceive this part of yourself.

For example, I could describe the inner child as playful, curious or innocent. The lost child might be scared and alone. The lover is open, present and sensual. The romantic believes in love. The fearful one anticipates that bad things will happen. And the warrior is stunning, strong and skilled.

Now, write down what you think each part wants. My inner child wants to experience. The lost child wants to be loved. The lover wants to make love. The romantic wants to connect. The fearful one wants peace. And the warrior wants to live.

Ask yourself how often these parts succeed in getting what they want. How realistic are their desires? And what can be done to bring them into wholeness?

In order to bring the various parts of myself into wholeness, I can connect with people, including myself. I can be open to relationship and to love. I can meditate, rest and be still. I can be in nature, surround myself with beauty, and go on adventures. Using all of my senses, I can make love with life every single day. I can be present, really live, relax, allow and enjoy.

The final part of this exercise is to look at who relates to whom. For instance, does the critic inhibit the artist? Or does the clown entertain the sad inner child?

I realise that the parts of myself that I listed seem to go in pairs. The loving, playful inner child is the lost child’s reassuring companion. The confident lover and the dreamy romantic are in perfect partnership. And the warrior protects the fearful one and makes her feel safe.

This is an interesting exercise. Try it and let me know how you get on.

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When did playing with cardboard boxes stop being fun?

During the week, I went for a walk by the river. The sun sprinkled the air with opportunity, the birds were making themselves known, and a tiny snail crossed my path with quiet determination. A warm wind tackled me and I splayed out my arms like a child hoping to take flight. I was reminded of summer holidays on a beach in the west of Ireland. But I was no longer a carefree kid and it was just an ordinary day. However, instead of rationalising away this welcome feeling of freedom and spontaneity, I allowed myself to bask in it. I gazed at the water as it danced in delight beneath the sunbeams. I observed a crow as it slipped and slid off a signpost and I laughed as I wondered if it had momentarily forgotten that it could fly. I closed my eyes and turned my face to the sun.

My thought I am not on holidays could have ruined this beautiful moment. But why deny yourself feelings of enjoyment? You don’t have to designate yourself a mere two weeks of relaxation a year. At any time of your choosing, you can access that wonder and excitement you shower upon yourself whenever you enter a foreign land. Everything is new and exotic and has yet to be explored. When you’re on holidays, the reason you feel so alive and unburdened is because you are allowing yourself to live in the present moment. Imagine, you can bring that feeling to your everyday life. Isn’t that wonderful?

"A poet is someone who is astonished by everything."

Our thoughts dictate our feelings and experiences of the world around us. Last week, my aunt feared she’d lost her handbag, which was holding a huge wad of cash. She suffered pangs of panic and dread. It turns out she’d left the bag in her mother-in-law’s house. Her handbag was never missing and the money was never gone. Yet her thoughts about it all created a reality where she had just lost a large amount of money.

Anything can happen to you. Anything at all. But your thoughts about what is occurring (or what you believe is occurring) are shaping how you experience this reality. Approach each day with a sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Explore your world. Reacquaint yourself with the childlike innocence that once brought you so much joy.

Lately, I have been reintroducing that freshness and curiosity to my daily life. There is something to be learned from absolutely everything. Humour and enjoyment feature hugely in my interactions with the world. I am going with the flow. I appreciate the little things and marvel at the big things (the intricacies of nature and the universe, the power of the mind, the magnificence of goodwill). I am choosing to think good thoughts about the people around me and, as a result, my experience of humanity of late has been extremely positive.

So, the next time you’re walking the streets of your city, interacting with nature or other human beings, or bending into a warm spring breeze, bear in mind that what you choose to think in that moment will construct the very essence of your experience. The power is all yours.

Images: birds.com; squidoo.com