Had a dream the other night, where Jan and I were caring for two young children, a girl and a boy, who had never been cared for by anyone but their parents. Try as I might to do everything right, I’d flushed a toilet in one bathroom, which disrupted the water pressure in another bathroom where the little girl tried to flush. Flushing didn’t work for her and she became traumatized.
We were all once children. Our bodies, and some parts of our psyches, became adult. But parts of us are still the innocent, naive, shy, frightened, excited children we once more fully were. Perhaps those parts never grow up and transform. Perhaps the adults we become must assume childcare for our inner family. Perhaps that’s what it means to become a responsible adult. Perhaps that’s what wholeness and integration really mean.
Of course, this does not mean that adults should be bound to childish entitlements. Needs must be appropriately met, but neediness or demandingness are not to be catered too.
Children, inner and outer, may bear the wounds of trauma and unmet needs, which require adult intervention to provide necessary healing. However, adults must be careful not to become codependent to victimized parts. The horror of trauma is not healed through reparation or compensation.
The healing of trauma requires adult support as the traumatized child regains equilibrium, as it fully experiences and knows the facts of its personal history. Acceptance of the truth frees the child of the trauma and allows it to blossom. Catering to the dysregulated emotions of trauma only further entrenches one in victimhood.
Adult relationships must contend with child parts. Every adult has inner child parts that projectively feel entitled to attention from ‘parent’ partners or others in life. We may look physically like full-fledged adults, but inwardly we are a composite of many developmental stages.
The challenge is to individually assume parental responsibility for our own inner family. The expectations we place on partners or others frequently originate from our own child parts. Maturity is willingness to acknowledge and assume responsibility for what is ours and not expect another to care for it.
Nonetheless, with consciousness we might agree to be partners to our partner’s healing journey. To hug the wounded child part of another might be a helpful healing support, if voluntarily offered. However, to insist on a partner or another person taking care of a wounded part, or insistently feel entitled to care, entrenches and empowers victimhood. Healing cannot proceed under such conditions.
Ultimately, needed childcare must be provided by the adult self, who becomes the true parent to all the parts of the personality. Parents and partners provide the matrix that activates the issues of the child, but only the adult self can truly care for, heal, and lead the whole self, with all its component parts, to fulfillment.
The truth is, the child self is older than the adult self. We were all children first. Actually, to advance, the child self had to stay behind so that the adult self could mature.
The child self, who sought the safety and fulfillment of its fundamental survival, who sought unconditional love and acceptance, who sought the pure play of innocence and discovery, had to shut down, hold in, and separate from the seeds of its budding adult self that it launched, while it sank into dormancy, waiting for the day the adult might turn around and rediscover its roots in the purity and innocence of childhood again.
Often, that child self was neglected and traumatized and it secretly bears the weight and torment of its early experiences. Voluntarily, it broke away from consciousness, hiding in the dark so as not to disturb the forward movement of the adult self. Its only hope of redemption, its hidden contract, was that in the triggered moments of adulthood the adult self would come in search of the traumatized child self and lead it to the light of day and help it to become unburdened of its horror stories, terrors, and confusions.
Only the adult self can become the true parent self to its lost child self. Only the adult self can find its forgotten self. Only the adult self can stand with its younger self and bear witness to the full truth of its younger experiences and, in so doing, put them to rest. Only the adult self can free its imprisoned child self and merge its innocence into the play of adult life.
Too often, adults forget their childhoods and only know they don’t want to revisit that horrid period of life. As the child stays cloistered, however, life in adulthood is experienced as barren and lacking, and the adult self seeks to compensate for the lack of joy and freedom by indulging in the myriad of addictions available in adult life.
At other times, adults become parents and inadvertently project their forsaken child selves onto their own children, who they serve as if they were princes and princesses, unable to limit, so deep is the pain of their own forsaken inner children. Sometimes the inner children are projected onto pets or other helpless creatures of the world, whom the adult feels compulsively bound to nurture and save.
If we come to the place of discovery of our own inner child, perhaps at first in dreams where our child tells us its secrets, we may be so appalled by the lack of care given and the hardships endured that we feel bound to serve and protect this wounded child at all costs. Young children do need parents to cater to their needs; its the core of survival. But they do also need parents that will listen to the truth, the whole truth of their experiences, and help them sort out the confusion of who is to blame and why things actually happened. Children may need to be helped to release their anger and sadness, and receive appropriate love and support.
But the truth is, our younger child self is much older than we are and may, in some way, be much wiser and more mature as well. After all, that warrior self already endured pain, suffering, neglect, perhaps even abuse and torture, things the adult self finds difficult to endure much less believe.
The child self does not need to be catered to or compensated for all that it had endured or lost. What it does need, however, is to be relieved of its burdens and its innocence to be welcomed into life.
Too often the adult self struggles with facing the pain, suffering and frustrated needs of the child self and tries to make a life for it where there is no pain or woundings. That’s impossible. As Buddha said, life is suffering. What the child self needs to know is that the adult self will not abandon it again, and that if there are woundings it will heal.
The solution is not to remain overprotective of the child self for the life it has lived, whereby cutting off the opportunity for joy in life, nor in overcompensating or catering to a child who suffered by making unrealistic promises or acting out its entitlement demands. The key to child care is a full recapitulation where the adult self stays present and hears the full truth of the childhood it once lived, ending the child’s isolation, validating its truths, releasing it from its frozen emotions and clarifying its beliefs.
During the recapitulation process the child self and the adult self learn to trust and feel safe with each other. They learn, no matter what is encountered or presented, that they can and will handle anything together in a nurturing and loving manner, without judgment or fear, unconditionally committed to a new and open relationship with each other. With that deep work done, the innocence of the child self merges with the maturity of the adult self and together they are not only ready to lead a new and fulfilling life, but fully open to experiencing all the joys and love that adulthood offers.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for the adult self is to encounter the pure innocence of the child self and to not succumb to a deep sadness and protectiveness that freezes the ability to bring that innocence into life. All innocence must experience the wounding of life outside the protectorate of the fairytale. For innocence to continue life in this world, it must grow to know about pain and suffering.
Buddha’s father attempted to encase him in a painless magical kingdom, a fairytale world that he would never leave. Eventually, however, Buddha did go out into the real world and fully experience the woundings of the real world, as did Christ in his own ending on the cross. Nonetheless, it was through such woundings, and the ability to not get swallowed up by them, that each of these teachers eventually ascended to their spiritual enlightenment.
The path laid out for the adult self is to let our innocence out into this world and, through the trials and experiences in its human and spirit suffering, to find fulfillment in the enlightenment of the full human spiritual journey. This is true child care.
Food sustains life, satisfies the tension of hunger, and protects the body from illness and death. Food is Mother. For all, in utero, food was delivered from mother’s body and for many, post utero, this continued in the experience of nursing at mother’s breast. Finding our way in childhood to the independent obtaining of food—e.g., through opening the refrigerator door—is a giant leap toward gaining control over one’s security of survival, relief of tension and protection—the beginning of becoming our own mother.
Ruptures in security with actual mother in the early dependency years of childhood heighten the significance of gaining control over one’s own access to food. Food may become the safer and much more reliable mother when contending with a depressed, indifferent, withholding, competitive or abusive actual mother in childhood. Secretly, food becomes the real mother, while the actual mother is experienced as marginal at best.
In such rupturing circumstances food takes on the psychological role of soothing and caring for the emotional wellbeing of the child. The child may discover the excitement and reward of relationship with sugar, the soothing of anxiety with excess food, as well as the protective, dissociative numbing provided by a very full stomach. Excess weight may gather with excess food, which can protect the self from the sensations and feelings of rejection, lack of connection, and ridicule from without, as well as fear and sadness from within.
A hyper attachment to food in childhood may be the saving relationship that protects one’s autonomy and very vulnerable self through deeply turbulent formative years. In adulthood, these patterns of attachment will prove anachronistic and become impediments to more deeply satisfying emotional relationships. At the same time, they must be valued for the survival and protection they once afforded our growing selves, as well as their incubational functions at extremely vulnerable times in our lives.
The task in adulthood is to free the innocent self—still held in body utero—of its private dependence on food for excitement, calm, and protection and birth into full life and real human relationship. The challenge for the adult self is to fully take on the role of mother previously delegated and attached to food. We are charged with becoming our own living mother to our tucked-away innocent self. This is a real human relationship that asks us to be compassionate, supportive, accepting, and encouraging to our shy, innocent self who has waited for decades to truly come out and play.
The defenses that have long sheltered our innocence, with their attachment to the secure food mother, are formidable and deeply challenging of the adult self’s attempts to assume parental leadership within the personality. Those defenses see no wisdom in freeing our innocence into a world where, once again, it will be exposed to rejection and possible annihilation.
The adult self is frequently undermined in its attempts to assume control by waves of deep terror and intense cravings that seem compellingly unquenchable by anything short of the sustenance of food. Perhaps these may be interpreted as labor pains of the birthing process, the innocent self questioning the readiness of the adult self to safely deliver it into life. Sometimes the proving process of the adult self, as it proves its readiness, requires many false labor pains, ending in a return to food. But be assured, each round of labor readies the mother more fully to become the perfect mother to her innocence, which she will someday deliver to the world.
This evolving mother knows full well the limitations of the outer world archetypal maternal matrix that in childhood had it creatively adopting food as the more reliable mother. This new mother knows there is vulnerability and rejection and loss to face in this world, but she also knows that she is fully capable of protecting and helping her innocence through the unavoidable woundings of life in this world. But this mother also knows the utter joy and necessity of bringing her deepest needs and desires into life in this world as part of the fulfillment, completion, and individuation so necessary for wholeness and enjoyment of life.
Food Mother will always have her place, but the living Mother of the adult self is the True Mother to full mind, body, and spirit living.
Let that True Mother be compassionate and supportive of wherever we are, as well as firm and encouraging as she takes full responsibility for birthing innocence into life beyond the old protectorate of Food as Mother.
Appreciating the journeys we all take, Chuck
NOTE: Obviously we all have a True Mother inside us, men and women alike, and it is our challenge and charge to bring her to life, just as all of us have a True Father inside us too, but that is another blog!
Ancient rites of passage championed the mature achievement of adulthood as the requisite linchpin to mastering life’s deepest challenges. Without the establishment of this mature adult self we are ill-equipped, or defensively overladen, to journey forward into life’s deepest needs and challenges.
The modern technological world has failed to collectively build the bridge to maturity that was once constructed by the transformative power of ancient ritual. Nonetheless, the modern world and life itself force us to forge an adult self. It is only the adult self that can take the journey forward, and that journey—if it is to be fulfilling—requires a recapitulation of life lived, with all its deficits, hurts, disappointments and traumas, to release frustrated energies and find renewal in deep connection with the greater self.
The adult self must ready itself to take the recapitulation journey. For this it must learn to be present to needs, feelings, and impulses, without collapse. Collapse here means caving to the demands of another part of the self that seeks release or relief in a compulsive, impulsive, habitual self-destructive behavior. The adult self must learn to stay still, to breathe and bear the tension of inner pressure in order to consciously choose the best course of action—that is, action that supports the true needs of the self.
Sometimes the tension must be borne for some time before the clarity on what is the right decision is achieved. Sometimes the adult self acts precipitously, only to realize it has been duped into traversing an old road once again. This is a critical juncture in the process, but one must not be swallowed in negative self-judgment or talk of failure, for that is the one-way highway to the helplessness of the child self, bemoaning its position, steeped in the powerlessness of self-pity.
The work is always for the adult self to stay present, both in the experience and as the detached observer, allowing for all the feelings, judgments, sensations and truths to be fully known. The adult self feels but does not get weighed down by its discoveries, though it can take some time, and repeated dives into the deeper self, to achieve this state of detached equilibrium.
The job of the adult self in recapitulation is to acknowledge, learn, and take forward into life the new awarenesses that are achieved, once and for all freeing the self of the need to cling to old habitual patterns and illusions. Resisting judgment, the adult self gradually molts into new life. Intense emotions and physical tremors are par for the course, bringing the necessary accompanying release of the multidimensional self as it frees itself of the past and moves forward to claim its innate potential.
In this powerful physical release the adult self loosens and releases a torrent of energetic waves, once again fully present but staunch observer as well. Here, bearing the tension is allowing for vulnerability; complete physical and emotional release without constriction.
The crux of forging the adult self to fully live, is to learn to bear the tension of being fully present to all that was and all that is. In full presence we reclaim our birthright, our higher potential, completely freed to enjoy new energetic life.
In ancient religions, the standard-bearers of this ability to withstand the tension is the image of Christ on the cross and Buddha beneath his tree. In each of these ritual dramas, bearing the tension led to freeing the self to higher vibrational energetic life beyond the body, into full enlightenment in complete awareness. We too can achieve this state. Recapitulation is one tried and true method of taking the journey.
Keep it simple. Bear the tension, stay fully present, release the old, and move forward into wholeness, breathing in new life and new energy.
Today, Jeanne asks us once again to face our fears. Just so you know, I faced my own fears to bring you this message today, so when she suggests that everyone we meet is as fearful as we are, take it from me, it’s true! That being said, here is this week’s channeled message: