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  • My prejudice against doing inner child work stemmed from my ego that kept screaming that I didn’t need to go back there, that I’m an adult and I just need to grow up. After the initial breakthrough with childhood development exercises (based on John Bradshaw’s book) I’d had some relief, yet knew there was more to be discovered.

    While preparing for my journey to a retreat in California I was drawn to a picture hanging in my bedroom of me at approximately 6 years of age. That picture always had the ability to draw deep emotion, the reason for hanging it was so that I could learn to love not judge that broken, blameless little girl. I carried it with me to the desert where this phase of my healing journey had begun some months before.

    After my initial disappointment at the weekend seminar we’d travelled so far to attend being cancelled, Sue and I strategized our day of shopping which was our favorite past time. We’d spent twenty years as friends, with many weekends in faraway places doing what we both loved. After a wonderful day of shopping, sharing, and the intimate laughter that comes with long standing friendship we acknowledged the exhaustion that comes with travel and settled in for a good night’s sleep.

    Did my sub-conscious have different plans! All night I was plagued with disturbing dreams. The accuser screamed ‘why did you buy that thing? The judge followed with ‘it’s ugly, you have horrid taste’. The cynic ‘you don’t deserve it, take it back’!

    It was a night filled with variations of the same themes that had plagued me my entire life. At dawn I crawled out of bed searching for the red patent purse still in the shopping bag. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, it wasn’t the hideous thing my dream had presented, it was perfect and worthy of every cent I’d spent. The dreams were the temper tantrum of that six year old, of someone not getting her own way and who once being discovered was now on her way out. After deep discussion and an aborted attempt at creative visualization around that broken little girl Sue and I arrived at the airport to return to our respective lives.

    Meditation is often a way of passing the time while travelling and I settled into my seat, blocking out the noises on the plane. The image that came to me was of that same little girl in the picture standing on the sidewalk along side of the family dwelling. The embarrassment at our living quarters came to the forefront. I was able to feel that shame, and loneliness of not looking like the other kids, never inviting friends over because of the volatility in the home. The pain of feeling responsible for my mother and three siblings, the confusion of seeing things that didn’t make sense and being told ‘that’s not what happened’. Wishing it was different and yet not knowing what should be different. The feelings of ‘second hand Cindy’ who never dressed like the other children, who as an adult always second guessed her skills, who never ‘felt’ like others looked.

    With great love and compassion the wise elder said to that little girl, “it’s okay you are safe now you don’t have to take care of anyone but yourself. You don’t live in that place; you deserve the beautiful home you have created with Tony. You are lovable and you did a marvelous job, you have survived and now it’s your turn to go out and shine.” The wise woman held no judgment, just peace and love as she held that little girl and let her go.

    Today that red shiny purse has become the symbol of my journey to adulthood and my proclamation of finally being enough.
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