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The Moon Times

January 2018

a monthly letter released with the full moon
sharing thematic teachings, news & affirmations to
cultivate psychospiritual wellness, creativity & community

The theme of this moon cycle is
Self-parenting our inner child


self-parenting is bringing a nurturing hand to your self,
especially the parts of you that are
vulnerable, dependent, childlike and childish.

 
"To some extent, in the unconscious we all still live in the past; in a way we are still very little children, and often only very little is needed for the “child” to come to the surface."
-Carl Jung
Dearest reader,

My inner child (left, in Cape Town posing for my dad's camera; midway down with my littler brother, moody in London; and below with my mum right behind me) manifests in many small and big ways. When I get green paint on my brand new jacket before I think to take it off to keep it clean, I know that my inner child took over at the sight of arts and crafts. When I'm in a creative flow, uninhibited in my expression, my inner child is on my lap, whispering in my ear. When I can laugh at the corniest jokes, be spontaneous and follow my urges to climb a tree or take the path less traveled to anywhere, my inner child is right there tickling me.

Jung posed that the inner child archetype resides in the subconscious, symbolizing newness, potential for growth, hope for the future, innocence, wonder, awe, joy, sensitivity and playfulness. The inner child also symbolizes codependency, a refusal to grow up and meet the challenges of life directly, waiting for others to give care and solve our problems the way a child requires. The inner child also holds our accumulated childhood hurts, traumas, fears and angers. We were all children once and much of our lives were completely dependent on our caregivers with limited capacities. We may have grown up with unheard feelings and unresolved pains that we lodged into our subconscious, where the inner child resides.

Both my inner child and inner teenager come out when I'm lonely or sad- they become demanding of attention from other people, especially my partner, if I'm not giving it to them myself through practices like conscious self-parenting or self-reflection. I become moody and expecting of my partner to make me feel better, to say the right thing, or hold and caress me in my nonverbal state of unprocessed feelings. My inner child loves to push the buttons of the people closest to me when she's agitated or bored; she'll pick fights or dramatize a small issue and argue for the sake of it; like a kid wailing in the grocery store, trying to get the coco puffs.

I've seen others' inner children come out in the form of angry bursts when they don't get what they want or expect. I had a 15-year old client, let's say her name is Elly, who came to therapy for anger management; her tantrums were frequent and disruptive in class and in her relationships, and she had a difficult time expressing herself any other way when she was feeling hurt, rejected or overwhelmed. Elly also carried a lot of shame and sadness of herself as a child, and blamed her 11 year-old self for her father's death; he passed away from health complications when she was away on vacation with her aunt. She would say things like "I was a selfish kid, I should have been there with him instead of going on vacation" or "I was a really bad kid." She internalized these messages, therefore bolstering the severe effects of her subconscious inner child on her present life and functioning. Elly also had little tolerance for her 8-year old sister, who she often felt frustration and anger toward for being "immature" and "childish;" she was particularly rejecting of her sister when she reflected a similar sadness or loneliness to her own, or when her little sister got soothing and attention from other family members the way Elly wasn't getting as a teenager and perhaps as a child too.

The undeveloped parts of ourselves that we hide or reject insidiously influence our thoughts and behaviors throughout our lives. A neglected inner child may manifest as codependent yet unfulfilling relationships, self-sabotage, lack of motivation, depression, anxiety, addiction, uncontrollable anger, easily feeling overwhelmed and even an intimidation, dislike or intolerance of children.

The first full moon this month was is in the sign of Cancer, and it's no coincidence that the Cancer sign symbolizes the Great Mother in the zodiac; the one who attunes to the deepest and tenderest needs of our heart, who invites our inner child out into the light of our love, and holds the door open for our hidden pains to be kindly realized and patiently released. Therefore, the intention of this particular issue of The Moon Times is to create space for our inner child and give power to our inner parent so that we can take responsibility for our well-being, quit projecting our desires and expectations onto others, and bring forth more compassion and nurturing toward ourselves, those around us, and our current and forthcoming younger generations.
Unconscious Self-Parenting

Many of us are unaware of how they treat ourselves. We have an inner dialogue happening in our heads from the second we wake up to the drop of our eyelids at the end of the day, affecting our mood, energy and behavior. We sometimes also spend our lives angry about the kind of care we received as children or even how people care for us as adults, but we end up offering ourselves the very same kind of care. Parenting and self-parenting are largely learned intergenerationally; our parents and caregivers model both the care for us as their children as well as care for themselves.

It's worth exploring how our self-parenting styles serve us and hurt us. If we were responded to in a particular way as children, it's likely that we respond to ourselves and others in similar ways.

Does your inner parent ever jump to these types of statements or questions (adapted from the Huffington Post), essentially saying "grow the fuck up", when a part of you or your inner child is feeling sad, uncomfortable, angry, anxious, low or alone?

"What did you do now?"
Assigning blame to your inner child.

"What are you going to do about it?"
Jumping to problem-solving without recognizing the value of the feelings.

"Your feelings are wrong."
Judging your feelings before understanding and investigating them.

"There’s no reason to feel the way you do."
Restricting the meaning of your feelings to logic and rationality.

"I’m not interested."
Ignoring your inner landscape and distracting with external things.

Another all too common way we unconsciously self-parent is to give ourselves up to the care of others, to substances and compulsive behaviors. We expect others to make us feel better before we bring our own hand of nurturing to ourselves. We falsely believe that others can take better care of us than we can. Much of the conflict in any of my relationships arise when I have unfair expectations of others to treat me a certain way- more specifically, to treat me the way I need to treat myself.

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them, “love me.”

of course you do not do this out loud;
Otherwise, someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this, this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one Who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,

with that sweet moon language,

what every other eye in this world is dying to hear.
-
Hafiz

The Conscious Inner Parent
 
The inner parent is the adult self with the knowledge, life experience, rationality and responsiveness to take care of ourselves and others. The inner parent is a level up from the inner adult because the inner parent owns the responsibility of applying wisdom to care-taking, soothing and nurturing ourselves, rather than just being efficient and productive in the world.

In her 100 days of art journal therapy program, therapist and blogger Shelly Klammer shares "Good Mother Messages' by Jack Lee Rosenberg; messages to tell ourselves that an unconditionally loving mother or parent would say to her/their child. Here are a few kind self-parenting affirmations:
  • You can rest in me
  • You are special to me
  • I see you and hear you
  • It is not what you do but who you are that I love
  • I love you, and give you permission to be different from me
  • I’ll make time for you
  • You are safe with me
  • You don’t have to be alone anymore
  • You can trust me
  • You can trust your inner voice
  • Sometimes I will tell you “no,” and that’s because I love you
  • You don’t have to be afraid anymore
  • My love will make you well
  • I welcome and cherish your love
In practicing these affirmations with my inner child and inner parent, I've touched my arms, shoulders, face and hands with nurturing purpose. Touch, in combination with affirmation, is deeply potent and invokes in us similar chemical reactions to when we're held by others. I try to bring a kind hand to my heart, ask my inner child what she needs, and listen with genuine compassion and thoughtful responsiveness, before externalizing my care-taking responsibility to my partner or anything else, including eating, binge-watching Netflix, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Conscious self-parenting means intentionally choosing the kind of relationship we want to have with ourselves, especially the vulnerable and undeveloped parts of ourselves. Conscious self-parenting is being the "captain of our own ship" regarding our emotional well-being. Rather than being angry about how we were taken care of in the past or overly placing the responsibility of our care-taking on external sources (which takes away our power and agency), we speak, listen to and care for ourselves the way we would have dreamed of being cared for as children; we become the mothers and fathers we've always wanted- to ourselves.

With my client, Elly, much of the work in therapy was helping her find more connection with herself, particularly her young self who has been blamed and shamed for so long, both in herself and in her family. We listened to what her inner child had to say, we validated those feelings and spoke, at times, in colorful and creative metaphors that her child resonated with- describing her little heart surrounded by a dark forest with wolf cubs running wild. Elly eventually described a teenage wolf from her dark forest that was protecting her cubs as it sat beside me. I saw this distinction between her teenage wolf and her cubs as real therapeutic progress; she began to see that she had a protective and nurturing self within her that she could harness to bring lightness to her guarded heart.

 
"With practice, we can see that our wounded child is not only us. Our wounded child may represent several generations... Perhaps our parents weren’t able to look after the wounded child in themselves. So when we’re embracing the wounded child in us, we’re embracing all the wounded children of our past generations... Our ancestors may not have known how to care for their wounded child within, so they transmitted their wounded child to us. Our practice is to end this cycle. If we can heal our wounded child, we will not only liberate ourselves, but we will also help liberate whoever has hurt or abused us. The abuser may also have been the victim of abuse..."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Teachings
Some teachings related to the inner child & self-parenting

READ:
LISTEN:
PLAY:
  • Online Program: 100 days of art journal therapy by Shelley Klammer invites you to play, create and reflect on the emotional processes of your inner child, inner adult and higher self

News

Updates from mosaiceye's community

New art up on the site:
  • The mosaiceye shop will be expanded starting January 15, 2018!
    New visual affirmation cards, fine art prints and original mixed media pieces will be available for acquisition
Upcoming local events for our inner children & inner adults:
  • Exploring our Beauty with Song & Ecological Ceremony: my songstress and healer friend, Katherine Piedra and I will hold space for girls and women to gather in circle together in exploration of our beauty constructs. We'll reflect on the learned beliefs and judgments that don't serve our self-compassion and acceptance. We'll be leveraging care-taking elements of affirmation, song and Mother Nature to hold us sweetly and soothe us in this process
                       
  • Interplay for Artists, Activists & Dabblers: my dancer, clown, activist & healer friend, Annie-Rose London co-facilitates a reoccurring Monday evening meeting to play, release our inner children and harness our birthrights of movement, storytelling & song to cultivate resilience & sustainability
     
  • Queer Magic Mornings: my multi-media artist friend, Cedar Ranney hosts a free weekly gathering for queer folk to be with our bodies, our inner children, our breath and each other in movement & music
Reflection Questions for the inner child and inner parent:
 
"You have to talk to your child several times a day. Only then can healing take place. Embracing your child tenderly, you reassure him that you will never let him down again or leave him unattended. The little child has been left alone for so long. That is why you need to begin this practice right away.
If you don’t do it now, when will you do it?"

-Thich Nhat Hanh

An important way to self-parent is to make time to listen to your inner child, to get to know them, ask them questions, and be open and allowing of their answers like a loving parent might do with their outer child.

Here are a few questions for journal reflection:
  • What are the first thoughts that come up when you hear the words "inner child"?
  • What were some of the things you wanted when you were little that you didn't get enough of?
  • How would you describe your inner child (his/her/their appearance, characteristics both in joy and pain, likes and dislikes)?
  • How does your inner child show you that he/she/they need(s) you?
  • How would you treat yourself if you were a child you loved?
    • What would you do for yourself?
    • How would you speak to yourself?
    • How would you react to yourself if you made a mistake?
  • Who else or what else do you rely on often to take care of your inner child when you are not?
  • When do you need self-parenting the most?
Thank you for subscribing to The Moon Times.
 
It's been enlightening and challenging in the most delicious ways to be able reflect, study and write for mosaiceye, and mosaiceye wouldn't be much of a platform without your participation. Know that I appreciate you.

I'd also love to hear from you.
Do you have comments, questions, additions or critiques?
Email me <3 chetna@mosaiceyeunfolding.com

Stay tuned with the next full moon on January 30th, 2018 for
The Moon Times - Issue 4
Copyright © 2017 mosaiceye, all rights reserved.






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mosaiceye · Ashby Ave · Berkeley, Ca 94705 · USA

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