He is watching me as I go about my morning. I can feel him just below the surface, noticing what I am up to. He is ever curious, this little one, and lately he has not been far away. I can hear his questions about what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what it all means. He is always asking ‘Why?’ and as often as I can, I work to answer his questions. He did not used to visit me at all, and for the longest time, I did not know he existed. Oh, he would show up, but he did so in ways I could not recognize, he was there expressing his anger through my voice, his frustration through my actions and attitude, and because I did not see him for who he was, I was not able to make any meaningful change to these ‘character traits’ that I so desperately wanted to ‘correct’.
Each of us carries a younger version of ourselves inside, we carry this younger version whether or not we recognize them. They are very much there, and they are often driving the bus when we feel out of control, hurt beyond words, or scared without measure. These younger versions of who we are manifest through our behavior in interesting and varied ways, and for me, he was my anger and frustration toward life. He came by these emotions honestly, he felt misunderstood from an early age, he felt like he was not wanted from the very start, and in many ways, he felt he had to work every day to earn the right to be here, the right to be alive. Like many adopted children, I was wounded from the start, wounded before I even knew it. In the moment my biological mother handed me over, the pain began. This pain was not something that could be expressed, for I had no words to express it, but it drove so much of my life for many, many years. I grew up feeling unwanted, unworthy, and unlovable, that perfect trinity to create a child who felt like he had to work very hard to be worthy of keeping around, to be worthy of notice and attention, to be worthy. And so, as I grew up, this hurt child would act in ways that created more pain. He would cycle between being the perfect boy, making the grades, achieving the goals, and helping out, to the argumentative combative defiant one ready to do battle over every choice point.
These days he is a different kid. He has a capacity for love that astounds me, and his natural curiosity has returned full force. It was not an easy journey to bring him to this place, but it is a journey worth considering. It began in 2015 when I was at the Brian Weiss training at the Omega Center in upstate New York. During the retreat, I had decided to take part in the morning meditation that was taking place each day at Omega. This meditation practice allowed me the opportunity to have several epiphanies over several days about who I was, and after those moments, this inner child began to peak around the corner at me. It would take two more years of steady work on me to create enough safety for him to come out and play on a regular basis. I had to re-examine the places he was wounded, and help him see these wounds with different eyes. At first, he was reluctant, and why not, he had been hurt by adults before, and I had not treated him well for many years. However, as we worked together and I created a safe place for him, he began to trust again, and as his trust grew, so did mine. In time, as we addressed the wounds, his anger began to subside, and so did mine. His love began to blossom, and so did mine. His curiosity and wonder started to fill me up, and I found myself looking at the world the way I had when I was so young, so un-indoctrinated, so open. He is there with me when I see other children, and they respond to him through me in ways that surprises the adults in the room. When I see children in my office, I make sure he is there, that he is on line and ready to interact with them in ways they can feel and understand. This communication occurs below the awareness of the adults, and it leads to a connection that I have not had before, as a doctor, with young patients. There is a friendship that is there that allows for trust to flow both ways, and it allows me to ask brave things of small children and reward their bravery with more tenderness and compassion than I ever thought I might contain. He is also by my side and at the ready when doing Hakomi work with other adults. He is there to greet the inner child that arises spontaneously from these wonderful adults who are working to understand how they became who they are in this moment. With his help, I can reach out in ways that make those children, inside the other, feel seen, heard, believed. It is here that he helps me do the best work we could possibly do.
It is not all roses and games for sure, and he is good to point out to me areas that need my attention, areas that need my work. I can thank him for noticing the difficulty I am having with grief, and he is there watching with me as I negotiate the world with this grief in tow. I suspect he understands the source of the barrier that I have encountered around my grief, and in time, I am sure he will help me see it with new eyes and integrate it into the whole of who I am. For now, he plays with me and we enjoy the small moments of beauty that arise throughout the day. He is my friend, and I am his companion, and together we dance and sing through our days in this wide world.
If any of resonates for you, and you happen to be curious, and wish to study it more, do not hesitate to drop me a line. If you would like to know more about my work, or to work with me, feel free to contact me. I post regularly to Instagram (@gilgrimes), Twitter (gilgrimes) and Facebook (gilgrimes) about whatever arises from my meditation each day. And if you would like to stay in touch sign up for my newsletter (probably once or twice a month at most).