Recently I’ve noticed people talking about their inner child, saying they’re getting in touch with or getting to know their inner child. One person said he wanted to bring his inner child out to play. I wondered if I had an inner child – and what she would be like. People refer to their inner child as if it’s a separate being to their own body and I wanted to figure out what it was and how I could find mine. My only starting point was that an inner child is within us – which only confused me! Thoughts and feelings are non-physical so how does this work?
I wondered who I was before I was an adult? How could I find her again? My approach was to try opening my mind through meditation, expecting the thoughts and ideas to arrive but they didn’t, so I put the whole topic on the backburner. Next time the idea of playing with my inner child came up was a very hot Australian day in March, when I found myself lying on the cool grass in my back yard looking up at the clouds, which were semi-translucent, fluffy streaks sitting very high in the sky. I remembered doing this as a child, looking for fairies and angels in the shapes of the clouds but these streaky clouds were just streaks – I’d lost the ability to see magic in clouds.
I rolled on to my stomach and looked over the edge of my picnic blanket to see the grass, all cut to the same height with blunt tips and little ants living deep down in their own private layer of my back yard – the grass was their forest. The shadow of my head brought darkness to their bright day and they just got on with their task… walking somewhere important. It’s strange, but a realisation hit me. Here I sat under the hot sun and clouds – amongst thick, freshly mown grass; shiny, black ants; very dry, grey soil and my curious inner child. I had found her and was looking through her eyes with curious wonder!
It seems my inner child had never actually been lost. She has been with me every day, dancing in the kitchen, singing in the car, kicking a footy with the children or sitting quietly to study the intricacies of Mother Nature. She was with me when I cried watching a sad movie that nobody else found particularly sad. She was with me as I laughed at things that just weren’t funny to others. On that hot day in March, lying on the grass watching the clouds go by, this beautiful little child stepped forward to tap me on the shoulder and show me that thoughts do become physical because of her: my inner child. She has always been here, rising to surface, as I laugh, cry, blush, go quiet or act brave. She is made up of all my childhood activities and interactions, which are imprinted onto my mind and brought to the fore to be expressed as a physical or emotional response to my adult experiences.
Memories of the restful, energetic, free, happy, confusing and sometimes scary events of my childhood are vivid because my inner child makes certain I never forget. There are joyful memories in certain smells, in picturing the textures of fabrics and in feeling the emotions associated with these memories. My inner child is beautiful, responsive, reflective, resilient, forgiving, strong and joyful and she keeps me safe as she becomes my instinct to keep away from dangerous situations.
Bringing her along on my daily journey isn’t a choice – she’s just there in the form of my confidence, curiosity, laughter, honest emotional responses, resilience, hesitation and strength to push on. She is my desire for quiet moments alone to reflect – and my desire to dance until I fall down exhausted. For better or worse, my inner child is powered by my past, my present, my future and my self. She walks beside me every day.