The woman glances in the mirror condemning her sweet flesh with damning ridicule, a man tightens his jaw and with a stiff upper lip proclaims silence, the depleted athlete forces mile upon mile until swept into the incubator of adrenal fatigue. Although considerably cliche, these and other patterns of self-harm (no matter how subtle) continue to be societal guiding lights of idealized behavior. This is torturous to our physical bodies! When we start to gain insight into the interrelated union of mind and body, a common reaction is…”Oh my! What have I been doing to myself?”...and the patterns of self-induced suffering begin to unravel, but not without quite a fight. These patterns are etched into our minds, over and over and over again, by our families, friends, society at large and also, by how we "buy in" to these thoughts.
We all want to love and be loved! So, it can be a scary thing to break out of these patterns but, I would argue, that until we do we will not find the peace, joy and health that is our birthright.
One way of navigating out of this disharmony was introduced to me years ago through the Ho’oponopono teachings of Dr. Ihaleakela Hew Len who believes that the most important relationship is that between the conscious and subconscious mind. As he explained it, the conscious mind can be thought of as the Mother, and the subconscious mind as the Child.
It is with the Mother's (the conscious mind's) love and care-taking of the Child (the body - where the subconscious lives) that healing and integration of the Self occur. This paradigm fit so seamlessly with the direct experience of healing processes of my own mind-body and in working with others in their processes, that it has become a deeply embedded idea in my psyche, present in my daily life.
There is much talk in therapeutic and spiritual circles about the importance of the inner child, so yes, this is in no way a new topic. The real aha(!) for me is in how I know the body; as the physical manifestation of the subconscious mind. It is here, in the mainframe of our nervous system, in our reactions, sensations and impulses, that the story of our life and our individual, cultural and ancestral belief systems are stored.
This record appears in our muscle tone, our ease of movement, in the rhythm of the heartbeat and breath, and in our energetic field. Our bodies are always sending us messages, sometimes love letters of safety and ease, at other times alerts of distress and pain. This body, our Child, is our ever-present ward with all the potential to provide us with a deepened experience of life in love, and how do we interact with it?
Do we listen to, ignore, shame, uplift, nurture, spoil, play with, abuse, degrade, teach our Child? Sometimes the Mother becomes a master and the Child her slave especially when we want to look a certain way or accomplish things that are out of line with the health of the body. The Mother may lock the Child away to be neither seen nor heard, cutting of healthy communication that tells us things like when we are thirsty or hungry, our ability to listen to our "gut" instincts, or to follow our heart.
It is the conscious choice we have as Mother to decide how we relate with the Child.
Depending on our life experiences, if your Child has been locked away or abused, it may be a very scary experience to initially meet this Child, as it may have quite a lot of anger, sadness and/or fear to express and work out. It can be important to find a place where you feel safe and supported, where you can find the peace and space to begin a relationship; maybe sitting in a park with your feet in the grass or curled up in a soft blanket, just to listen, and perhaps to say, “hi honey, how are you today?". It will take the Child as long as it takes to respond. Your Child might like to be held for long while, or sleep, but maybe it wants to jump, swing, dance or run.
Regardless of your upbringing, I think that we can all imagine the archetype of the wise, loving Mother: a kind, nurturing, caring, emotionally balanced, empowered, patient teacher. As we approach the relationship with our bodies with these attributes, there can be deep healing that allows the mind (the conscious/Mother) and the body (the subconscious/Child) to become integrated in present time, eventually eliminating the unconscious acting out of the old unheard stories and unmet needs of the body, providing more freedom and health for the Body, the Mind and the Spirit.