Take Your Childhood Adversity Seriously & You Take a Stand for and Love Your Inner Child

Take Your Childhood Adversity Seriously & You Take a Stand for and Love Your Inner Child

The cradle of love
is the cradle of belonging,

the beginning and the end,
and everything in-between,

from which a child grows
and to which s/he returns,

forever bathed
by the unspoken.

The healing journey asks that we take seriously the confronting truths of our childhood adversity, which is not easy. Owning the raw, uncompromised truth of what happened surfaces unexpected emotions and sensations, such as anger, sadness, shame and pain — feelings we learned were not safe to feel, and that most people in our disembodied world have no interest in accommodating. 

These are the feelings we had to keep at bay to survive the harsh realities of our childhood. Suppress the feelings and we suppress the truth that mom was neglectful, dad was violent, our sibling was a bully, and no one stood up for us. No one protected us. Suppress the truth and a new story must arise, one that makes what occurred Not so bad or No big deal, common narratives of a survival, coping psychology. Unconsciously decide our adversity is Not so bad, then as children we don’t have to feel how bad it is in our tender little bodies. We don’t have to take in how tragic and terrifying it is, inside and out.

At that early age, we are already discounting reality in order to survive it. Imagine how this impacts our ability to perceive reality as it really is later in life, both in our immediate circle, and in the wider world.

Owning the raw truth of our childhood adversity means slowly, at a pace we can integrate, recognizing that our primary caregivers weren’t as loving as we once believed; that they enacted failures in love that affected us more than we thought. This can include neglect, physical / sexual abuse, abandonment, inadequately meeting our physical needs, and not protecting us from harmful family members, terrifying siblings, and school bullies. These are only a few examples. 

For a list of 26 adverse childhood experiences, please click here.

Coming to terms with the realities of what happened can create an unsettling change of heart in how we feel about our parents today. If over recent years we have rebuilt a relationship with our parents away from estrangement and tension towards newfound acceptance and harmony, it can be quite conflicting to, through our healing, suddenly realize that our parents were responsible for much of our pain and suffering. As has been the case for many of my clients, there is a belief that their caregivers are forgiven, that all is now water under the bridge, with friendly father-son golf trips and dinners with mom a regular occurrence. 

But now, anger reluctantly surfaces in my client, perhaps rage, powerful emotions they didn’t know existed, and do not want to face. Reality comes out from hiding from the deep recesses of the forgotten body, stark realities that can be concealed only so much, and for so long. “I don’t want to blame them,” my clients say, still protecting their parents, while trying to hold on to the redeemed, happy relationships of today. “I don’t want to make them wrong for what happened. I’m over that now.”

Just as my clients did decades ago, in that unstable, volatile home, they are protecting the image they had to have of their parents to survive — an image of infallibility; an image that still lives on, projected from the shadows of the unconscious, from the wounded survival self. It’s an image they desperately keep that not only prevents them from seeing clearly, but that protects them from feeling the uncomfortable, if not unbearable; the disturbing truths, the painful memories, in their heart, gut, muscles, tissues, bones and cells.

Though hit by emotion, by lightening bolts of unexpected memory and truth, it’s a comforting image the survival self fights for — because what then? What if I let in the truth of my childhood?

Who are they? Who are we? Who am I? 

True, authentic, embodied forgiveness then needs to wait, for a compassionate while. 

Survival Adaptations and Illusions
For the attachment-driven child, the deepest fear is the experience of unbearable aloneness. When a secure We is not present, there is no rooted ground and home base, nothing to hang on to and stand upon. The child is lost in a frightening void, a vast field of nowhere.
For a terrified child dependent on another to survive, this is equivalent to death. 

Children are attachment-driven, relational beings, and need to trust their parents are there for them, in love and safe holding. Their primary attachment figures are their world. Secure, loving attachment is a matter of survival for little ones, who, if forced, if safety and survival are at stake, choose attachment over authenticity. Unconscious, instinctive, and ancient survival intelligence tells children that they don’t need authenticity to survive, but they do need the other, the relationship, at this vulnerable time in their life. This is the same primal instinct that’s driven people in land-based cultures, going back into antiquity, to remain close to their tribe. They need them to survive. Without their trusted people, their secure, cohesive base of We, it’s a dangerous world. 

On some level, children know this is as well. And so they sacrifice who they authentically are, where necessary, as a psychological survival adaptation if the security of the familial relationship is at stake; which is their own inner security. Like a tree, they “bend” to get as much “sunlight” as possible, and to mitigate “shadows.” They unconsciously leave the true, natural self to gain whatever semblance of love, safety, connection and approval they can, and to mitigate harm and abandonment, and the feelings of overwhelm and fear that follow. They “bend” to maximize attachment, but at a great cost. 

By sacrificing authenticity for attachment, they become who they are not. They become who their parents need or expect them to be, or who they think they ought to be — pleasing, caretaking, responsible, ambitious, tough, smart, athletic, good, nice, obedient, accommodating, passive, withdrawn, etc. The instinct to bond and belong, to be part of and included, compels little ones to be alike — so they are liked. They go along to get along, and to minimize hurt. They do this while sacrificing what is unique to and vibrantly alive in their fingerprint soul — their wild and free, spontaneous, exuberance, creative spirit. They sacrifice their sovereign divinity, and thus power. 

With this foundational understanding of attachment theory and psychological survival adaptations, we can better understand why people (my clients in my earlier example) so easily forgive their parents, or primary caregivers. Upholding an image of their parents as infallible, even though they are harming them, is another way children sacrifice what is authentic for any semblance of attachment. They compromise their painful inner truth caused by painful experiences like abuse, neglect, and abandonment for a fantasy, a perceptual illusion of they are there for me. They sacrifice what is real, inside and out, for a lie — a blurred reality that, nonetheless, serves their survival need for a We

The lie goes further, however, as part of this survival reaction; for children unconsciously blame themselves for their adversity. By taking the blame away from parents and placing it on themselves, they protect the image they need of the parent as infallible. They are the ones at fault; which is why It’s my fault, as well as I am wrong / bad, are such common trauma-based beliefs, painful stories arising from attachment failures.

This is part of the sacrifice. The authentic truth that it’s the caregiver who is responsible is sacrificed to protect the relationship, what is needed for survival even if insecure. Instinctively, scared little ones sacrifice the truth of their own innocence — that they are innocent of what happened. In the process, they depart from feeling the pure innocence they are, primordial to their, our nature.

This is a very important play on words to understand, holding deep truths.  

Once again, consider the different ways this survival adaptation and self-deception can play out as we grow older; for example, in the context of intimate relationships, and in how we perceive and relate to people in positions of authority.

Defended against our own painful truths, we defend the “truths” of others — of those in power. We defend behaviours that harm us, and even see these people as good and kind. We tolerate the intolerable, and lead our children and communities into the hands of cunning wolves, dressed in sheep’s clothing.

We see innocence where only its shadows exist, for we project the shadows of our lost innocence onto the other.

Children also blame themselves for their adverse experiences because they cannot help but believe there must be something inherently wrong with them to deserve this kind of treatment; to not be met with tender love. For this reason, I don’t deserve, I’m not worthy, I’m not lovable, I’m not enough, I’m not good enough, and I’m flawed are other common trauma-based beliefs. 

It must be repeated that these adaptations and reactions are unconscious “decisions.” The underground, survival psyche is doing its instinctive, loyal work of denying and distorting reality, and protecting children from the deep blow that their parents are, in fact, untrustworthy, unloving and a threat; that they are not there for them as needed and longed for. The unconscious is pointing at the child as the problem, not the infallible adult, in order to craft whatever secure We it can. At least I can control me, the crafty survival instinct knows.

The psychology self-controls or adapts by becoming more, say smart and tough, or less, say imaginative and feeling (fear, sad, joyful, etc). The true Me, beautifully alive it is, here and now, is simply not enough or too much. I must change, says the survival psychology, I must “bend,” while also tucking away my scary, shame-full, overwhelming feelings; my Big dreams and curious heart, my spiralling-sudden movements and bubbly personality. There is no safe place for them in this house, maybe not even in the world. They are not wanted, and neither am I.

Therefore, they — I must be pushed down — for good; so that I’m placed in mommy and daddy’s “good books,” and so some sort of “good” We, though far from secure, comes to be. 

Nested and Rested
Just as we needed our parents to believe and take to heart our painful reality, and just as we need the same from our healing practitioners today, if we are to transform, we too must take seriously what occurred. We must not diminish it in any way. Taking to heart the truth of our difficult past is liberating medicine for our inner child, and ourselves. For the truth sets us free.  

If we can go through the heroic rigours of healing, with truth revealing itself at the somatic, heart and cognitive levels, then we transition from protecting our parents to protecting our inner child. This doesn’t mean we don’t forgive our parents, or whoever it was that harmed us; nor does it mean rushing to forgive them before we — our body, heart, mind and inner child, are ready. Rather, it means that, for now, we focus on taking seriously what happened, taking it to heart, as truth; and feeling these difficult truths on behalf our younger self who was too scared to, and who depended on illusions and lies to survive. 

From hiding to healing, illusions to authenticity, we no longer diminish the facticity of what occurred with coping stories of Not so bad and No big deal. We clearly see and feel that what happened was bad, felt bad, and was a big deal; because, as we heal, it’s likely that we feel the bad as it surfaces in our somatic awareness, if only in our heartbreak — a heart that can diminish and deny no more. 

It’s this response that our inner child needs from us now, as healing / awakening adults, and maturing guardians of their sacred innocence. And it’s exactly this compassionate, heartfelt, conscientiously attuned response that each scared child needs from a parent; a response that doesn’t diminish or deny, but feels, especially in the loving, concerned heart where truth lives. 

One of the worst experiences for children is not having this response. When pain and anguish are not taken seriously or a stressful situation is discounted, say being bullied at school, children often believe “I don’t matter,” another common story in our society. They believe this because this Big Deal is not being tended to as a serious matter of the heart — child’s and parent’s. As often is the case for impressionable little ones, they identify with their felt-experience. 

Particularly devastating to children is when they bravely tell one parent that the other parent harmed them, only to not be believed. To be brushed off altogether. The parent protects the other parent, or the adult relationship, while sacrificing the painful truth in their child’s eyes and heart. Protecting their partner’s toxic behaviour and the codependent relationship are more important than their child’s feelings and needs, with safety being primary. The parent may discount the child coldly, or with sharp How dare you volatility. S/he does it from fear, denial and old shame. Either way it’s terrifying for the child. 

It’s terrifying because this is when profound, unbearable aloneness sets in, the deepest of all fears; no one to turn to, no secure ground, no safe place of belonging, no familial tribe. The child is neither here, nor there, and feeling under threat. Already, in the tender early years, a dark night of the soul sets in.

For children to cope with, move through, and rise from adversity, they need at least one primary attachment figure to be provider and protector. To be a secure, reliable base. They need at least one safe, loving adult to believe them, and take them seriously — to heart — when afraid and confused. Children need an adult to communicate, verbally and non-verbally, through touch and from the heart: “It’s okay, I’m with you, it’ll all be fine.” Or to protectively state, with core, heartfelt strength, some version of, “I’ve got you. I’ve got your back. You are not alone in this.”

Take a moment to feel what this would have meant to you to experience this as a scared child; this secure, sacred We of safekeeping, grounding and belonging.

Believing children, and meeting them in their fear, overwhelm and confusion with tender, receptive ears and arms, we offer a soothing, co-regulating presence. Also called interactive regulation, our calm engenders the child’s calm. Little ones are not yet wired to self-soothe, or to regulate their aroused or stressed nervous system on their own. They rely on a loving connection, a safe, grounded base — a secure attachment and other to feel into.

This nurturance creates or activates a safe feeling in them. Epigenetically (epi means above, or from the environment) the child is reprogrammed or rewired towards safety, trust and relaxation, a genetic template for future resiliency. Their body grounds and nervous system regulates, and their mind and heart softens. They rest in connection with mommy or daddy, the most nourishing of all experiences for a relational child.

This is another way to understand just how important attachment and a safe, loving other is to children; why it’s vital to their safety, survival and psychobiological development, which includes their physical health, ability to learn and regulate, and their emotional and relational intelligence. (As you might imagine, early attachment patterns create an inner blueprint for future relationships.) In numerous ways, many of which are beautifully mysterious, a secure, loving attachment, a Nest of Love is foundational to cultivating a secure sense of self.  

A secure attachment fosters a secure identity in children, a solid I Am, rooted in the body and heart. The opposite is also true: An insecure attachment fosters an insecure identity. Authenticity is sacrificed; and the unsettled, disconnected psychobiological grounds are laid for trauma’s beginnings. 
Faces of Trauma
“Trauma compromises our ability to engage with others by replacing patterns of connection with patterns of protection.” ~ Stephen W. Porges, The Polyvagal Theory

Trauma gets stuck in our system as children, not simply because of what occurred, but because there was no safe presence to soothe us; to soften our system and relax our heart and mind into homeostasis. Remember, little ones are not yet wired to self-soothe. Fear and overwhelm, and spikes in the nervous system, can regulate if there is proper relational support. Without it, however, and without children knowing how to self-regulate, the nervous system remains dysregulated. Spikes towards being on or off — overly aroused or shut down, remain stuck. Life force gets frozen in time.

This state of freeze is the nature of trauma (and can even be felt as cold as it moves out of the system during healing). Parts of ourselves are frozen in time, frozen in fear, stuck in the eternally present past. We live as if what happened decades ago is occurring now, in this moment. Our nervous system and perceptual wiring tell us so, that we are still powerless and should be afraid. That there is danger.

Our survival self cannot tell the difference between then and now. 

For this reason, one of the things I’ve said to my clients, when time, and most gently is: “That was then, and this is now.” I’m speaking not only to the identity of my client, but to their nervous system stuck in the past; and deeper, into their wise heart, to the One who knows and lives present-time. I’ve also spoken the powerful healing words of, “It’s over.” This can be deeply moving, affirming and liberating if taken to heart, as truth. In each case, if these words are received, the individual shifts from painful past to powerful and creative present.

This is one way to understand the journey of healing. What was, no longer controls us as it once did. We liberate more of our present-moment free will, life force, and limitless creative potential.   

Without healing, our dysegulated psychobiology unconsciously and habitually still lives in or as the eternally present past. It’s not over, says the body in myriad ways. Unprocessed fear orients us towards threat and protection, though there are no threats to be found. We are vigilantly on, though in a safe place. We have a hard time sleeping, struggle with insomnia, because we struggle to turn off. Our survival depended on being on, did it not? And so we resist shutting down and giving our full, trusting weight to our warm bed, because there was no safe, trusting arms to give our weight to when little; to rest in connection with; or because who we gave weight to hurt us, deeply betrayed our trust. For this same reason, we struggle with intimate relationships in our adult years. Our threat psychobiology tells us it’s not safe to give our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual weight to another; to lean in, and trust everything is and will be okay. 

The eternally present past tells us to fear this large man and to move away from him, though he is completely harmless, and it’s been decades since leaving our large, aggressive father. The eternally present past gets startled by fireworks, though we are no longer in Vietnam. It causes us to collapse into a numb, flat, disassociated state when faced with conflict at work, though we no longer live with our domineering, sociopathic mother. Unconscious “It’s not over yet” jolts us into fear when we see a harmless dog coming towards us. It tells us to flee, though our violent encounter with a dog occurred in the playground when five years old; though that was then, and this is now. 

Trauma is not the event, if this is not clear by now. There is confusion about this in our world. Trauma is not what happened to us, or even what didn’t happen, like not getting our emotional needs met (neglect). Rather, trauma is the internal impact that remains unresolved, stuck, frozen in time. It’s how we internalize the adverse event, which then impacts how we feel, think, perceive, relate, cope and create in the now moment.  

The nature of trauma is sometimes called “too much, too fast, too soon.” What was experienced overwhelmed or shocked the little body, mind and heart, completely unable to cope. 

At its heart, trauma is experienced as not feeling safe and relaxed in the body; as a state of being disembodied — not giving our weight within. It was not safe to be in the body when scared, overwhelmed little ones with no one to turn to and be soothed by. The body felt scary or dangerous — too much. Growing older, feeling unsafe in the body causes us to feel unsafe and guarded in relationship with others, and in the world. Others and life are threatening. Simple social gatherings and walks through the neighbourhood are too much, too unsettling for the already unsettled nervous system. Because of this, many trauma survivors isolate as way of coping, and a way of life. (Animals like cats and dogs become therapeutic allies and the most loving, trusted companions. They are vital “external resources,” providing deep, nourishing support, especially through touch. And they make us laugh, which is always good medicine!)

With trauma, what’s meant to be an open, fluid, connected, responsive and alive psychophysiology lives closed and braced, protected and disconnected; it exists tight, wired and overly on, or flat, shut down and overly off. We live self-controlled to control what’s overwhelming within, a continuation of what we unconsciously did when young, patterns that can transcend generations and lifetimes. This manifests in a litany of physical symptoms like heart, shoulder and back pain, clenching jaw at night, tight psoas muscles, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, sexual problems, migraines, digestive issues, and the list goes on and on. 

The thinking mind matches the physical body, in that there is rigidity, and a trauma-based belief that we must control others and the world. Unnecessarily controlling our environment is an unconscious attempt to create safety within. It’s old fear projected outwards. Two examples pervasive in our society of how we project our self-control and fear are overly controlling children and dogs.

Don’t be too playful and exuberant, don’t roughhouse too much, says the survival psychology that had to be meek, clean and responsible to survive. Be predictable, not wild, messy and spontaneous, says the one who survived an unpredictable, volatile home. Behave, we say to children in so many ways, and to dogs who we expect to act like well-behaved humans. Behave, because we had to behave decades ago, and our survival story still tells us this today. 

We demand these things of children and dogs, and others for that matter, not realizing it’s for ourselves, so we feel better, safer, more relaxed. We treat and raise them as we have treated / adapted ourselves, and based on how we were treated and raised by our caregivers. We are also influenced by the unspoken / spoken societal “standards of acceptable (controlled) behaviour” that we dare not overstep, good, obedient, and well-behaved (well-leashed vs unleashed) we are. 

Indeed, from cradle to crave, how many ways do we turn humans and animals (and God for that matter) into the likeness of ourselves, while suffocating unique, creative, wild, sovereign power

Who is it for — him/her or me? This, we must ask ourselves with regularity, as an act of kindness and responsibility to self and others. Because our unchecked fears, beliefs and perception create the edges of our children’s and dog’s playground, and our own. Our limits become their limits, and this we call life. 

Here is another way to understand this. Rigid, black-and-white, controlled survival thinking believes and perceives in a certain way. There is a clear right way to be, think and do, and wrong way (survival patterns our school system feeds). Our survival depends on knowing the difference. Let’s recall that to survive adversity we had to be a certain someone, be a certain way, perhaps especially at certain times — smart, obedient, good, withdrawn, pleasing, etc. We had to be vigilantly certain of our surroundings to ensure we don’t get hurt or punished, such as when drunken daddy walks through the front door a 8pm; or when we’re left alone with our unpredictable older sibling or volatile mother. 

Being a certain someone who was certain and on — calculating, acutely aware of the environment, sensitive to right and wrong — saved us. As did being off, or dialled down in a deep, depressive state of collapse. Being who we authentically were, and feeling as we truly felt, spontaneous, wild and carefree — as we were when born — were scary, dangerous, if not impossible.

Courageous Emptying and Opening
With healing, we no longer pre-tend as we once did. We compassionately tend to truth, to fear, to our emotional body, and thus our inner child. We tend, so eventually this tenderness can extend further, to others and life.

Let’s now return to my client, who is struggling to hold on to his or her survival adaptations and remain hidden in self-deception. The psychosomatic doors of perception keep opening wider, one session after another. From the shadowy underworld into the light of awareness, painful memories announce themselves, old, visceral truths are revealed. The decades-old fantasy of infallibility, the reliable apparatus of sacrificing truth and innocence, of lying to oneself, begin to unravel. What was, and what’s within, can be denied no more.

Big emotions and sensations come to the fore: anger, rage, shame and grief; tightness in the throat and heart, and nausea in the belly. The jaw trembles, and hands and feet fidget, if not shake. The eyes glaze over at times, and there are periods of not feeling grounded, of wanting to escape the body, as unsettling truths continue to challenge psychobiological survival structures. The body does its best to hold on, but cannot help but finally speak in ways it could not. Because it knows it’s time for truth. It’s safe to be heard, and to fall apart. 

My client feels the big emotions of yesteryear, slowly or quickly; and with each scared and sacred tear, they compassionately realize why, for the little one they once were, those terrifying feelings needed to be tucked away. It was a matter of coping and survival. It was all too much to bear. 

For my client, fear, if not terror, is surfacing strongly now. This emotion is primary to this vulnerable, courageous opening. Primal fear and primal memories often co-arise together, as one, in visceral, psychosomatic experience — because it was this core survival emotion of fear / terror that was triggered in the first place, when it was realized that the needed sacred ground of We was not only unstable, but dangerous, if not absent. And it was this core survival emotion that underwrote the remedial lies, the needed fantasy of We. With my client’s survival apparatus now dismantling, fear or terror naturally arise; the illusory story is falling apart, a story my client has not only been depended on for decades, unconsciously clung to like a life-raft, but identified with.

Can you see why primal fear / terror co-arises with primal memories / truth in the healing journey? Can you feel why it’s so hard to let go and fall apart? It’s a courageous surrender to the unknown. 

Who am I without this story I’ve depended on and believed in — the story of I and We that saved me? 

It’s existential now, as it was back then.

*                    *                    *

Emptied of what I thought true
and who I believed myself to be,
I surrendered to the spacious unknown,

and what I felt to be the end
was only the beginning,

the fertile ground of love
I’d been searching for my entire life,

the sacred ground of heaven
from which

I could finally grow anew.

Courageous emptying and opening in the healing journey move us deeper into the mysteries of who we are, and life. With the dissolution of trauma and programming, imprints spanning lifetimes and generations, space is made for our inner child to blossom in our heart, and to come out and play. We have more room to breathe, to land safely and fully in the body, because we are no longer tending to, or filled with, what or who we are not. At least not to the same degree. We have surrendered Not so bad, No big deal, Not their fault, but mine. Our life-saving allegiances to I’m inherently bad / wrong / flawed weaken, and eventually disappear, so we can choose life. 

With each surrender, each heroic sacrifice of who we are not, quantum space is made for who we are; and for what’s next in our healing-empowerment curriculum, the new horizons of comforting or uncomfortable feelings, truths and uncertainty, the mysteries of shadow and light, and beyond.

Having deeper layers of unexpected, next-level revelation was my experience. After many years of healing work, while in psychedelic journeys with shamans, I was suddenly struck with memories of being sexually abused by two adults. Ceremonies over a number of years uncovered different, disconnected events I was completely unaware of, core to my trauma imprint and continued struggles. It was incredibly shocking to say the least, shattering not only my perception of my childhood and certain people, but of the healing journey and life.

As you can imagine, I needed support from professionals to integrate and release these experiences. With time, as it is for others who courageously carry on, more space was made for new levels of awareness to arise within me; not just awareness that helped further integrate these tragic experiences, and not just awareness of other internal conflicts / fears, but awareness of Higher Truths beyond the story of this life, namely the Light of my Divinity. My Higher Self now had the quantum space to anchor more fully in my DNA, nervous system, and heart; and from this somatic embrace, I began to shine in unexpected creative and magickal ways. 

Indeed, for those who travel deep and far enough, they experience an ancient dance of emptying and opening, death and rebirth, of alchemizing wider spectrums of dark into light. A compassionate awakening transpires, managed by the intelligent unconscious of our body, if not our wise overlighting soul and angel guides close by.

Ideally, with loving support from a skilled practitioner as well, the opposite of too much, too fast, too soon guides us through this journey; so that what was scary and overwhelming can slowly and safely soften into stillness. We can come home to our body and heart, and rest in connection, inside and out, here and now, knowing, at long last, it’s over.

Gradual unfolding in tender time is the necessary medicine, the once missing experience of safety for safe return. The mind empties, the body unwinds, and the precious heart petals unfurl, as we courageously rise and open into the light of a new dawn. 
Belonging and Oneness
For children, small is BIG.

It’s a simple, yet beautiful and powerful truth that came to me in one of my shamanic healing journeys, years ago. I love to share it with others, for it says so much in so few words; it invites much, if only compassionate understanding.

Those intense eyes, even without the father saying a word, are for a small child a raging storm. The seemingly light tap on the bottom from mom is a fierce blow to the sensitive, soft-skinned child. Moving from one house, neighbourhood, city to another, yet again, that’s the loss of a child’s world. Having your cherished parent abandon you, well, that’s the loss of a child’s entire universe. 

Indeed, small is BIG for the relational, impressionable little one. 

What if we sensitively and curiously beheld children from that heartfelt lens? What if we took BIG seriously, by lovingly and patiently placing ourselves in their vulnerable world, and ensuring they feel felt and heard?

I’m not suggesting this is always easy; I’m simply saying it’s glaringly missing in our world, to the point of normalization, and at great consequence. 

Without compassionately understanding children, without tenderly meeting them in their reality, we expect them to tough BIG out and stuff BIG down. To act like little adults, for whom BIG is no big deal. Grow up, we communicate to children in myriad ways; which means grow out of your emotional experience and concern; get over it and move on, and quickly. Or grow up means get out of your dreamtime state, your wild imagination, because it’s not “reality.” It’s not practical, and will get you nowhere in the big, bad, hard world.

Remember the question: Who is it for? Didn’t we have to grow up and out (of our body), to move on, to survive, to get good grades and be a “success?”

Grow up means stop being childish, when children are simply being vulnerable, sensitive, innocent — childlike. Grow up means expecting children to be like me, how I was raised to be, and like others in the world, how we’re expected to be. Grow up means growing out of their uniqueness; it asks that they fit in versus belong, starting in their own body, belonging down and in, and by embracing the longing in their heart.

Isn’t that what be-longing means? To feel, live and be the longing of your heartfelt immanence, your radiant soul? To be the longing of life that longs for you, in sweet love?

Instead of expecting children to grow up, what if we, as curious adults, grow down into their wild world, hands and knees touching ground, meeting them there, in their pure hearts and dreamy innocence? What might we learn about them if we visited their Big Wild World more often? What might we remember about the Boundless Universe we are, the Life we have forgotten, if we played and dreamed with these little wonders “closest to God?” How might we see children as our wise teachers, as ancient souls reminding us of what really matters, the Ancients we are?

This is what love is and does.

To paraphrase my old friend Lynda Austin: Love is seeing someone for who they are, in this very moment, and holding them in that place. Love is meeting another in their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realities, here and now, instead of leading them to ones they are not ready for; that do not, in any way, reflect the Truth of who they are.

The more we give little ones this experience of love, of being seen, heard and felt, of resting in connection, here and now, the more they trust, in their hearts, that they exist in the heart and mind of mommy and daddy, no matter where they go. Secure attachment then goes beyond the moments parent and child are physically together. A secure feeling of We travels far and wide, and deep within, into the child’s heart, continuing on, no matter where the child may be. 

This felt and trusted intimacy of belonging is being the longing of mommy and daddy. All ways. Child and parent are together, in an ancient, sacred dance, a wordless harmony of hearts, a shared understanding of Truth no words can capture.
What a beautiful feeling to carry in the heart, and into life. 

This is the heart and soul of attachment, generally not taught in attachment theory and trauma therapy programs: the Truth that We Are One. Felt primordial Oneness is at the heart of co-regulation and resting in connection. It’s at the heart of playing with a child in their world, and our little one feeling seen and heard. Felt primordial Oneness entrusts in children that they are never alone, but all-One, forever existing in the heart of mommy and daddy, as One.

Healing brings us home to this Universal Fabric of Being we are. Health literally means wholeness. Wholeness means holiness. And Holy means One. Healing is a journey of alchemical integration from shadows to light, pain to purity, shame to innocence, lies to truth, lack to abundance, fear to love, separation to unity — at-one-ment. This empowerment occurs down and in, through a safe return to our body, the wet humus of our fluid, earthen humanity. Only by being rooted in our sacred form, versus disconnected and disembodied due to trauma, do we open up to divine union, and claim our sovereign divinity.

We remember our primordial Oneness with our Earth Mother, her sacred role in our life, and with the Divine Mother of All Life, who birthed us into existence from Her holy black womb. By giving weight to and reclaiming our earthbody through healing, we give our weight to each of our Mothers, trusting and receiving their divine nectar of love and belonging.

In sacred embrace,
soothed by the rhythms

of the parent’s shamanic heartbeat,
the child rests limp and loose,
trusting the silent whispers
of love
that are ancient
and timeless,
and that speak to you
as well,

forever saying,
“Give me your weight.”
Forgiveness, Honour and Love

Turning towards what I call our Inner Star Child, and taking what occurred seriously and to heart, are important first steps to healing. Gradually, we integrate our bundle of innocence into our heart more deeply, so adult and Inner Star Child beautifully and miraculously merge, and we live, breathe and create as One. 

This is a High Goal, a beautiful aspiration that awaits us all. The more we achieve it in our healing journey, the easier it is to forgive those who hurt us. Instead of choosing forgiveness before our Inner Star Child is ready, and bypassing his or her fear and wounding, we allow our healing journey to organically bring us to forgiveness, in sweet, sacred time.

One of the kindest things we can do is set the intention to forgive, and not rush to forgiveness in any way. What may happen, as it it did for me when I set this intention, is that one day, spontaneously, we forgive. All is suddenly forgiven without even making a clear choice. But it’s crystal clear, nonetheless. It happens, like a bubble of awareness that floats up and bursts, announcing new truth we are ready for. Forgiveness chooses us, from deep within. It rises from our body, heart and soul, not the thinking mind that believes it should forgive. 

To ignite the possibility of merging with your Inner Star Child and experiencing true, embodied forgiveness, I offer you an exercise that is a step beyond taking your childhood adversity seriously.

I invite you to consider, for a moment, how your survival identity — who you had to be, that certain someone — served or saved you. You could open your journal and list all the ways this was true.

A few examples:

  • By being strong, I was not overwhelmed by my fear.
  • By being acutely on and calculating, I was able to predict how to best avoid punishment and be in their “good books.”
  • By being a peacemaker during times of family conflict, I did my best to create a safe home for myself.
  • By being pleasing and accommodating, my brother hurt me less / left me alone.
  • By being quiet and withdrawn, I was less affected by conflict and volatility. 

What if you saw your survival adaptations as not only coming from reactive fear, but sacred life-saving and life-giving creativity? 

Doing this exercise can bring up a lot of deep, rich emotions, so you may not want to do it alone, but with a seasoned healing professional.

A gift it brings is healing not just through recognition, but gratitude and honouring, which is self-forgiving or for giving to our self. When we move away from holding ourselves in judgment or contempt for how we were and are now, and towards honouring the roots of our suffering, and how we rose despite it all, an opening occurs. Instead of seeing lack, or how we’ve been “not enough” our whole life, we see and honour the strength, courage, resiliency, tenacity, determination, intelligence, and more, of our Inner Star Child, and therefore ourselves. We hold ourselves in an entirely new light, which brings newfound light into the dark places within that need it most. 

This is you compassionately turning towards and loving your Inner Star Child into being. Love is the greatest healer, the deepest Soul-ution to our pain and suffering. For, like Light to dark, Love dissolves all that is not Love, all that is not Truth, the story that never was, into still peace. This is our return to primordial innocence, where we are reborn anew.

The secret lies in the words themselves:

Dis-solve ~ S-olve ~ Love

May it be so.

In Love to You and your Inner Star Child 
~ Vince Gowmon

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Healing & Activation: The journey of healing and empowerment doesn’t have to be as challenging as I laid out in this article. For example, it’s not necessary to have to experience terror or re-live painful memories to clear trauma and patterns of self-deception. 

In late 2020, I closed my thriving somatic therapy practice (I also led breathwork sessions and psychedelic journeys) and I gave up my counselling designation, because I was summoned by Spirit to transition to a new kind of work, full time. Over a few years, my healing practice evolved through a number of iterations, necessary stepping stones, and to what it is today.

To people around the world, in online group ceremonies, I transmit the power and mystery of Christ / Buddha / Star light, and its many emanations. Transformation takes place at the quantum or cellular level, creating radical changes in health and empowerment. 

Like all powerful transmissions, my work does the heavy lifting for you, so you don’t have to slog through and re-live your traumatic history in order to heal. My ceremonies are here to advance the healing and empowerment of the world more quickly and easily, and at a time when transformation is most needed.  

To learn more, please click here. You may also be interested in reading my 70+ ceremony descriptions that are rich with information. 

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Check out Vince’s book: Let the Fire Burn ~ Nurturing the Creative Spirit of Children, A Children’s Book for Adults

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