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Surprise Encounter with An Inner Child

Surprise Encounter with An Inner Child

© 2010, Joyce A. Kovelman, Ph.D.


A Personal Experience


I remember the day that I met one of my inner children for the first time. Inner Children dwell in the personal Unconscious of each of us, silently communicating their needs and fears to us, hoping we will take a moment out of our busy, frenetic lives to pay some attention to them. They seek connection with us.


At the time of this first visit with an inner, split-off, disowned part of myself, I was grieving the sudden death of a dear, dear friend. I was feeling a deep sense of emptiness and a profound sense of loss. My eyes were filled with tears, reminding me that my feelings were seeking expression and needed to be honored. To do so, I closed my eyes, took some deep slow breaths and allowed myself to enter a place of silence and relaxation.


Immediately, I felt a sense of calmness begin to flow through my mind and out into my body. As I slipped beyond every day awareness to enter more fully into my grief, I felt despair and pain shift into sadness and a beginning of understanding. I recognized that a large hole now filled my heart, and knew that I would be returning often to this space of silence before healing and wholeness would be mine. It was a moment of release and inner peace. Little did I know, that it would also be a doorway to deeper parts of my selfhood that also wished for healing.


As I began to shift my awareness to the concerns of everyday life, I suddenly glimpsed an image of a three year old child off to the right. For a moment we simply stared, instantly recognizing one another. My inner child, with her large, sad, "doe-like" eyes looked exactly like photos of me at my third birthday. This child was me - this was joyce! Slowly, my inner child climbed upon my lap, staying just a moment. She seemed to be aware of my discomfort and shyness. Then, joyce did something I found truly remarkable. She jumped off my lap and ran off, quickly returning with a child-sized chair of her own. She timidly put her small chair besides my own, sat down and shyly placed her tiny hand into mine. I realized that joyce, the care-taker - was now in charge and doing her best to take care of Me and my feelings. She was enacting one of my oldest and favorite patterns, "I can take care of myself, no need to worry about me." joyce was revealing her pride and defiance, still very much in control of her feelings of hurt and grief. How my heart ached for this very, very independent young child.


Suddenly, I recognized that her appearance at my moment of grief, was her way of teaching me to open my heart, to let the hurt in (all of it), and to allow it into the deep recesses of heart and mind in order to heal and to grow beyond them. Most importantly, inner joyce let me know that I was not alone. The grief following my friend's death had somehow allowed us to reach out and reconnect beyond vast regions of space and time. In that instant, we both began to find new ways of knowing ourselves in our worlds: joyce in the inner and Joyce in the outer. I have met this joyce many, many times since our first memorable encounter.

I am always impressed with joyce's sensitivity and knowing. I marvel at how she gently coaxes me towards greater awareness and encourages me to laugh at myself. Yet, there are still times when I feel her fierce independence and know that my challenge is to help joyce to reach out and express her own neediness, not just to take care of mine. I'm still working on it. So is she!


An encounter with an inner child is filled with lots of feelings and sensations, including - strange, alien, surprise, closeness, fear, anxiety, and warmth. I encourage you to open your heart to your inner children, whenever they choose to appear. The effect is often profound, many times magical, frequently memorable, and always healing.

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