Boy & Sea


By Mary Cook, M.A., R.A.S.

Rigidity is a sign of aging, illness and death.  It can be hardening of the arteries or the prisons of addictions.  Our eyes can be glued to pornography, and miss the loving affection from our own child.  We might attempt to escape fear by imposing our will upon others.  We can be stuck in a whirlpool of unending desires or carry the carnage of resentments on our back.  Lives can be lost behind walls of isolation, or in busyness pridefully pretending to be productivity.  These are all ways of attaching ourselves to the edges of life, afraid to let go of our primal pain and its’ defenses.

In contrast, healthy children are focused on loving, learning, playing and evolving.  They are flexible, resilient and immersed in the natural flow of life.  They fully engage with the moment, which births the newness of the next moment.  Their play is devoid of judgment and self-consciousness.  It is children jumping up and down or babbling and squealing to the sound of music.  It’s free, spontaneous, relaxed, joyful, creative inner expression.  The feelings that accompany this kind of playfulness are often missing in adults.

A stressful or traumatic childhood leaves our inner child self frightened and stuck in dark places.  Lack of healthy bonding removes the lightness of life, in exchange for the stagnancy and emptiness of obsessions and compulsions.  As adults attempting to heal our inner child, we can visualize and surround this child with compassionate love and understanding.  We can know the child’s pain without becoming, denying, judging, resisting or fighting it.  We can show them that we will not drown in their torrent of tears, nor abandon them in response to their rejection, confusion, fear and emptiness.  Nor will we become defensive, offensive or die from their feelings of rage.  This patient, consistent acceptance and deeper awareness ultimately frees the inner child from pain and defenses.  Inner child bonding and healing creates a new sense of safety which stimulates flexibility, resilience and growth for our adult self, bringing a sense of hope, lightness and vitality that softens suffering, promotes happiness and puts us in the fullness of life.