Tag Archives: inner child

Chuck’s Place: The Child—Demon Or Divine?

Demon or Divine? It's all in the eyes of the beholder... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Demon or Divine? It’s all in the eyes of the beholder…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Just who is that Inner Child we hear so much about? To one onlooker, a child being sternly reprimanded by a parent at the supermarket is a brat receiving just punishment. In contrast, another witness may declare atrocious abuse on the part of the parent as the innocence of the Golden Child is severely shattered by the reprimand. These are diametrically opposing reactions. One person experiences the child as an entitled big baby, the other sees a divine innocent child.

What makes one bystander see a Demon and the other a Divine Child has everything to do with the inner child projection of each observer. One person may harbor a powerful infantile shadow self that was either overly indulged or overly neglected in childhood. Given that this rejected child self remains rejected within the personality, this person might tend to agree with the parent’s stern treatment of this unacceptable Demon Child as a reinforcement of their own conscious attitude toward their own inner child. Of course, it’s also entirely possible that this rejected child projection might go the way of sympathy for the reprimanded child.

Another person may be at a stage of life or in a life circumstance that has become stale, wooden or frozen, lacking connection to the deepest waters of life. On the surface they may be bored and depressed. They may need the renewal of the spontaneity, freedom and innocence of the inner child in their own life to break through the quagmire of their current discontent. For them, the disciplining of the misbehaving child might be experienced as an affront to the Golden Divine Child, a symbol of the Self, their key to renewal.

This duality of possibility frequently shows up in the appearance of a child in a dream. Often we might dream that we have a child we didn’t know about. On the one hand, this child might represent an underdeveloped aspect of ourselves, that we may or may not be aware of, that is ready to emerge into our everyday life, an opportunity to “grow this part up” at this stage of life. In this case, the challenge would be for the ego to acknowledge vs. deny this underdeveloped part and take up the challenge of supporting needed growth.

On the other hand, it might be pointing to an infantile attitude that is overshadowing our lives and behaviors. Once again the challenge for the ego, in this scenario, is to overcome its blindness and take responsibility for becoming a responsible person, not asking others to cater to or compensate for its big baby attitude.

Still another possibility is that the dream child is the Divine Child, a symbol of the Self, that is opening the door to a new stage of our deepest unfolding by reflecting the need to return to pure innocence, dropping our plastic persona and diving naked into an ocean of renewal. The child is completely unencumbered by education and socialization, hence, serves as the best symbol of being closest to nature without the interference of mind. Sometimes, baring ourselves to this level is the only way to find our way back to true meaning in life.

There is golden potential in everyone... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
There is golden potential in everyone…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The truth is that our Inner Child, as it appears in dreams, or as it projects itself onto the mirror of children in the world, can be either Demon or Divine. It is the work of consciousness—that is, of the ego—to study the appearance of the child and reflect honestly and deeply to discern who it symbolizes at this time in life, why it has appeared, and then act accordingly.

Mistaken identity can result in disastrous parenting where a child needing firm discipline may be inadvertently groomed as a little prince. Alternatively, an unusual or gifted child might be severed from its golden potential through insistence upon strict conformity and obedience, squelching its creative spirit in the process.

Inwardly, we might make the mistake of allowing the little prince within to rule the personality. Alternatively, the inner child that reflects our deepest flowing nature might hold the key to our spiritual renewal if we let it take the dive.

You make the call: Who is your inner child in its present manifestation? Demon or Divine?

Pondering,

Chuck

 

 

Chuck’s Place: Safety

One of the scary dogfighters in the sky... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
One of the scary dogfighters in the sky…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

As we drove past the Rhinebeck Aerodrome in the midst of a dogfight in the sky, a golden retriever with leash dragging scurried toward our car. I stopped, opened the car door, and the dog immediately leaped in and planted itself on my lap.

I could feel the dog’s terror and need for safety. He was at home with us and would have moved forward in life from that moment, never leaving our safety, never looking back. We diligently went in search of it’s owner and eventually discovered his whereabouts. He was deeply engrossed in the planes in the sky, with no consideration of his dog’s terror of loud noises. The dog was so planted in our car, clinging for dear life, that I ultimately and sadly had to lift its frozen statue frame from the car to send it back on its journey. We watched as it was led away, slunk low to the ground, peering to the right and to the left, seeking safety once again as the bombs went off overhead.

Domesticated animals are ultimately dependent on their “owners” for their safety and survival. This is the contract they make in domesticated form. Though their instincts are fully available to protect them, their survival is largely delegated to their owner.

Humans, in contrast, are charged with taking adult responsibility for achieving safety for themselves in this life. Many humans reach adulthood unable to fully achieve individual internal security due to lapses in milestones of emotional maturity, caused by trauma or compromised parents. The legacy of these lapses is a physically mature but emotionally insecure adult who anxiously seeks relationship attachments outside the self to feel safe.

These kinds of relationships may feel powerfully necessary for survival and the threat of losing them generates states of anxiety and panic similar to that of the golden retriever that anxiously attached to us and the safety of our car. Relationships driven by such anxious attachment often start off with intense love feelings—finally feeling “home”—but generally degenerate into worry, panic, and fear of abandonment.

Relationships at this level are often frozen at the level of dependency, control, and fear, leaving little opportunity for adult companionship and relatedness. This is inherent in the relationship’s initial underlying intent: safety. Until safety can be found within the self, relationships will be controlled by an over-dependency on the other person’s behavior as the locus of control for inner safety.

We must become the parent to our inner panicking child. If we allow the child’s anxiety to control our decision making and actions, we are sure to engage in external parenting relationships as we allow the child in us to go in search of a secure person to latch onto, just like the dog that leapt into our car. Our adult self must be in charge of decision making and self care. If our child self is frightened it might be time to pick it up and go for a soothing walk alone rather than desperately seek inappropriate attention elsewhere.

Blossoming as one united being... - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
Blossoming as one united being…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Eventually, the child will discover that the adult self is its one true parent, the one that can take charge of decisions for the whole personality, leading it to safety, play, and fulfillment. From this place, with the locus of control coming from a place of deep inner safety, relationships may be engaged in as adult partnerships, with everyone responsible for their own inner parenting.

Self care at the deepest level is the only adult ticket to true inner safety. Inner safety leads to outer blossoming and allows for flourishing in true adult relationship.

Embracing inner safety,
Chuck

Readers of Infinity: Your Child Self

Notice the pinpoints of light, the richness in your own life, even as you face your fears... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Notice the pinpoints of light,
the richness in your own life,
even as you face your fears…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

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:

February 10, 2014

Thanks for listening! Sending you love, good wishes, and good luck!

A Day in a Life: Parent Child Dreaming

Getting lost in the confusion... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Getting lost in the confusion… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

I dream. I am with a father and his son, meeting at a busy intersection where two highways intersect. We have to walk a long way to get where we are going. The child is young, about four or five, and I’m aware that it’s too far for him to walk. I find an old metal lounge chair on wheels in a ditch, pull it out, and set it up for the child. I intend to push him. The father wants to lie down and be pushed. “No,” I say, “it’s for the child.” Every time he attempts to lie down on the chair I yell at him. “No, stand up! It’s for the child.”

Next I dream that Chuck and I are at a restaurant with a young couple who have two young children, ages two and four. We have taken the kids to the bathroom and are just returning to the table with the two kids, now naked. As soon as the parents see the naked kids they reject them. “That’s not my kid!” the mother says. “He’s not mine. I don’t want him, he’s not my kid.” She is adamant, as is the father who also pipes up, “Those aren’t our kids, we don’t want them.”

I am stunned when I hear this because of course the kids belong to them. I also see that the two kids are deeply affected by this rejection by the parents. They are hurt, but they also don’t understand. How can they not be acceptable to their own parents? What have they done to deserve this? Nothing; they are innocent. This rejection is painful to behold. I see that the pain of the children is deep. “I don’t care what you think,” I say to the parents, leaning in close. “Even if you are going to reject your children, don’t ever let them hear you say that!” The parents are unaffected. They will not accept their children. Chuck and I stand there wondering what we’ll do now, but try as we might we just cannot convince the parents that these are their very own children. They continue to deny them, speaking loudly so that all in the restaurant can hear. The two children sit at the table looking lost, confused, and clearly in deep pain. These are inner world dreams, confronting the roles and dynamics of the inner parent and the inner child, how to be fully adult and accepting of our true innocence without fear and judgment.

Our role as responsible inner adult may have to go through several phases of development. And just as our childhood asked most of us to withstand some kind of rejection and confusion from our own parents, and from life itself, so does our inner child have to endure the same from us. We might have to be a rejecting inner parent before we can become the gentle and loving parent we are capable of. We might have to become a stern, judging parent before we can become a totally accepting nonjudgmental parent. But no matter what our process entails, in order to become wholly reconciled beings, we must achieve balance between these two personalities that dominate our inner world.

The process of achieving balance will most likely entail something like the dynamics in my dreams. We must accept that we are both the parent and the child. If I were a child, would I want to be treated like that? What kind of parent do I want to be?

We must keep in mind that the child, at its core, is innocent, unaware of the greater world and so what happens to the child is largely a mystery and a puzzle that must somehow be coped with and made sense of. With its limited capacities and knowledge of how the world works, the child will not necessarily have the resources to understand and so conclusions may be misconstrued or downright false. Ruled by feelings and emotions the child seeks only to return as quickly as possible to a state of equilibrium and safety, skewed though that state may be. And so the child is protected by its innocence in one way, but its innocence also makes it extremely vulnerable as well.

We must keep in mind that the parent, at its core, is just trying to figure life out. As adults we know that we had to find our way in the world all on our own. For no matter what kind of upbringing we had, we each had to go out into the world and encounter and live our own separate lives. We had to learn to be responsible for ourselves in a world that was often rejecting, judgmental, and unkind. We had to learn what it meant to be an adult. When we had children of our own we had to learn what it meant to be a parent. Life does not come with an owner’s manual, it has to be lived to be learned. Whether we have birthed our own children or not, does not matter, we all have an inner parent inside us somewhere, just as we all have an inner child inside too. We have all experienced childhood and we have all experienced adulthood first hand. For true reconciliation of our inner world, we must all become our own parents, both our own mother and our own father.

Inner and outer world are equally real... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Inner and outer world are equally real… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

The inner parent must be held accountable for its position of responsibility if we are to heal and evolve, if we are to achieve wholeness in our lifetime. The inner parent must be like the adult I was in my first dream, and say, “No, this is for the child,” as we protect and care for the inner child, appropriately attending to its real needs. When we slip into childish behavior and neediness, our inner parent must speak up and say, “You are the adult, so be one!” I saw clearly in that dream that the child was unfit for the long walk and I found appropriate means to remedy the situation. In my maternal role, however, I encountered the father who sought to be taken care of like a child, when another caring adult arrived and took over. Perhaps I should not have remedied the situation for him, but made him responsible for taking care of his own child to begin with, but my dream did not go that way. It was showing me something else. When someone outside of us takes over, we may very easily fall back into a regressive place, ignoring our own inner child’s real needs, abdicating our parental role of responsibility.

Just as acceptance of our innocence is crucial in achieving wholeness, so is the adult role. The adult self must be firmly established as the one who makes the decisions, fairly and judiciously, with the child’s interests in mind. Even those who have never had the joys and pains of parenting in real life, must face the same dilemmas that all parents face when presented with their inner child. Parenting is a daunting and frightening task and we all want to do a good job. We only have so much time to pour all we wish for our real children into them before they go out into the world. Our time with them is relatively short. The inner parent child relationship, however, has the advantage of longevity. We are together for a lifetime, perhaps even many.

At some point we must face our dual roles as our own parent and our own child. We must do the work of raising our inner child by becoming the loving and compassionate parent that we are all capable of being. We have the opportunity to get it right, even if our own parents didn’t get it right, for having been a child we know what the child needs and we know what we would like in a parent.

In the second dream, the parents reject their children outright. This does not bode well, but I am gifted with the child’s innocence in this dream, for I experience it quite palpably. The child’s reaction to the rejection by the parents is clearly felt, so easy to read. And so we must ask ourselves: Am I as rejecting of my inner child as these heartless parents are? Again I have an adult role in this dream, observer and teacher, and once again I call the adults to the carpet. “Be good parents, even if you have to fake it,” is really what I’m saying. “Just because your children are naked, their innocence exposed, don’t reject them.” Don’t reject your own innocence, in other words, for that is where the deepest issues lie, in what our innocent child self has been bearing, or baring.

These two dreams contain many more sublayers, but my point today is to impart how critical it is that as evolving spiritual beings we reconcile our inner dilemmas. We must be loving adults and parents to our inner children. We must be able to decipher the difference between regression states and states of innocence and real need. Our inner children may present us with just as many difficult situations as our real children do, and so we are asked to be good parents in our inner world, just as we are asked to be in our outer world.

Sometimes we must be firm before we can be soft. Sometimes our inner child must scream to be heard. Sometimes we must fail before we can make some progress. It’s just how life is, inner and outer life.

The inner world is as real as the outer world, as impacting and as important to our lives now as in the future. And so, if we continue to go deeper into our inner world, and resolve the issues of reality there, then our outer world issues will naturally resolve as well. And don’t forget to look closely at dreaming life, for dreams are part of the inner process, offering very personal, as well as universal, nightly guidance.

Seeking balance, parenting and innocent too,
Jan

A Day in a Life: Inner Child Work

I’ve been doing inner child work for years. I’ve learned so much from long encounters, from hours of what Jung termed active imagination, from weeks of inner focus, as I’ve attended to my spirit. I sometimes feel that it’s like driving a car; sometimes I’m aware that I’m doing it, alert and conscious of everything I pass along the way, at other times I arrive at my destination wondering just how I got there.

I do inner child work especially when confronted with a dilemma or when conflicts arise. I know that it’s imperative that I constantly check in with my inner child and see how she’s doing. Although my personal challenges are, for the most part, clearly defined now, I also know that sometimes they are not the issues that need attention but that something else is calling to me, some deeper more profound need is making itself known.

Self-reflection?

I have a dilemma. How do I solve it? I ask for guidance. I wait for an answer. Meanwhile I have my own agenda. For the time being my personal agenda rules. It takes over. It’s all I can think about: how to set it in motion, how to contrive to make it happen, how to make it meaningful. I can’t get away from it. As I allow it to assert itself, it begins to dominate not only my thinking but my actions as well. This feels like part of the process I must go through, but deep inside I feel restless. Something else is stirring in me, raising a protest, asking me if this is really what I intend to do. I push it away.

“No,” I say, “I want it to happen my way. I want to be in control. I want to set up my life in such a manner that I can determine not only the process but the outcome as well.”

“Sorry,” I hear. “You are not going to be granted that wish today. Today you are going to have to struggle and eventually you are going to have to let go.”

“No, I don’t want to. I want things to work out my way!”

As this tug-of-war goes on, I know, deep inside, that I must stop playing this game. From experience, I know that the sooner I acquiesce to a process that is already in progress, already laid out for me, the better things will unfold. This is how I resolve my dilemma: I acquiesce to the process, but it takes deep work to get to this place of acquiescence.

I know I must dissect my personal agenda and discover why I am so attached to it. I must face the fact that I may be trying to hold onto old ideas, old agendas, and old comforts that no longer serve me. I must face that even though I may want those things, they are not good for me; they no longer serve who I am becoming, who I have the potential to become, and whom I need to become to evolve.

Once I’ve studied my personal agenda, the next step is to turn inward. I must get quiet in order to do this. I must let myself have a few moments of meditation or simply sit quietly and comfortably. I must ask myself: What is really going on here? What am I missing? Am I just reluctant, avoidant, affronted? Am I being shown something I must embrace; or the opposite, that this is something I must refuse?

Sitting in calmness allows the voice of our inner child to be heard. If we listen carefully we will hear truths spoken that we may not have wanted to hear before, that we may not have been ready to hear until now. If we allow ourselves to become a frightened child again, knowing that we are facing changes that we don’t want to happen while we also remain our adult selves, we may reach a new level of understanding about how we tend to function on a normal basis.

We all have a needy, wounded child inside us. No matter how much inner work we do that child will always be present, suggesting deeper issues that need attention. Its needs are endless, ancient needs. Eventually we learn that they stretch far back, into eons, into past lives full of similar needs left unresolved.

Ready to get off the well worn path and enter the abyss?

As we do inner child work, our spirit will repeatedly guide us in how to sit alongside our child self, perhaps in discomfort at first, but later in full acceptance as we face the ancient knowing child self and ask it to tell us what comes next. What must I face this time? Where are you taking me?

We must be prepared to face our fears. We must accept that our inner child self of this lifetime is frightened of change. We must accept that our adult self of this lifetime is afraid of change too. Both parts of us must constantly face the truth that change is challenging us to face our fears and conquer them with awareness.

Whenever I sit in calmness with my adult self and my frightened child self, I know that there is something else beneath the fears that I must also face. I must go even deeper. I must reach down to that far more evolved ancient child self, the one who has already lived these life challenges before. This is the knowing self that constantly challenges me to go beyond my present self. This is the place where I will gain clarity on what to do to resolve my dilemma.

Clarity often comes in calmness, delivering a direct blow. Much like getting hit over the head, it strikes quickly and with utter clarity. When we are ready we are able to accept it and immediately act upon it. If we are not ready it will remain churning inside us until we are ready.

When our world is challenging us, even collapsing on us, our deepest dilemma is often in learning how to acquiesce, to let go, to not fight as we have been taught, but to let the process guide us. Often we may find the deeper meaning inside, rather than in constantly looking for reason and answer outside. Sometimes we just can’t have things our way.

There is so much more to doing inner child work. As we work with what our inner child presents, going deeper and deeper, we get to know just who that child is, and just who we are and why. Eventually, we all arrive at that place where the ancient child self speaks. Often the sound of that ancient child’s voice may be distant and difficult to decipher, but if we let our personal agenda go, for even a second, we may be able to accept the truth it brings us. Sometimes just a hint of something different, a deep inner knowing, may waft up and offer us just enough to help us along, to make a decision that will indeed set us on a new path.

What lies in the vastness of the inner world?

The inner world is vast, bigger than the outer world. Jung once noted that once we do inner work we will no longer be able to ready novels, because nothing can compare to what we have already encountered inside the vastness of the self. I have found this to be true. I personally can no longer read a novel. I am quickly bored, knowing that inside the self reside all the mysteries and horror stories that I once enjoyed reading, the adventures and relationships I loved to tap into, other people’s lives I’d turn to. All of those things, and more, reside inside us, in the vastness of our inner world, just waiting to be tapped into.

As we let ourselves be guided through the terrors inside us, we arrive at precipice after precipice. And each time we stand on the brink of change we know that we must take the leap into the abyss that yawns before us, if we are to keep evolving. That is where our riches lie, where our thrills await us, where our adversaries lurk, where our beauties hide, and where our spirits will greet us.

Going ever more deeply inward, we soon discover that our outer world is less threatening, less frightening, less terrifying, for we discover that it cannot present us with anything as frightening as we have already faced within. This is what Jung learned and this is what we also may learn as we continue our inner child work.

Thank you for reading, and may you all enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, inside the self.

Love,
Jan