All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances…
Thoughts and emotions parade across the stage of our consciousness. If we can greet them and entertain them from the place of mindfulness their exit will soon enough follow after their entrance. However, they may in various ways overwhelm our capacity for neutrality. Becoming tangled in them we keep them on stage by attachment and/or resistance. In time we usually manage to move on to new scenes, but the old ones that have never finished are not gone, merely carried off back stage and stored away.
Some are buried deeply, others keep popping back out trying to get our attention, or reacting to newer scenes that are similar in some way. The psychic energy in the emotional charge for each wants to finish its play. The spect of our self associated with that charge is paused at that scene rather than moving forward as we grow and develop. This entangled aspect of self tends to have characteristics from the time it paused, so the important early ones are often child-like or childish.
Eventually we come back to these scenes to help them complete, either consciously or due to the power they contain. Often we describe this as working with our wounded inner children. They may be scared, grieving, carrying shame or guilt. Often they are hiding from us as much as from other people. When we can come to them with compassion, acceptance, and mindfulness they can complete their scenes, release their burdens, and reintegrate with us in present time.
In the processes that serve to heal our wounded children we may also discover other aspects. Children are often thought of as vulnerable and fragile. In some ways they are. They are at the same time also strong and resilient. An infant’s head survives stronger pressure in the birth canal than it can again at any time in life. While some inner children bear the wounding, other inner children carry our strongest aspects. They are our survival champions, powerful and resourceful, clever and angry, whatever it took.
Often there is a mix of the energy of the wounding with the energy of that aspect that helped us, however well or poorly, to survive and move on. Our champions having created any number of strategies for dealing with things that are challenging, may persist in beliefs and behaviors that become less useful and helpful over time. The initial emotional charge combined with layers that have accumulated over time, may be quite complex, even contradictory.
Because of this mixing of energies we must be ready to face the wounding in order to reclaim our power. As our more developed adult self, with resources of Self and Spirit, friends and family, we can return safely to the old scene, watching it from the balcony or reliving it on the stage, whatever serves best to let it complete. Pushing the old things away not only fails over the long run, but blocks us from the golden aspects that have been managing the shadow.
The wounded parts need to be healed, but the strong parts must also be recognized and valued. We may invite them to release their charges, to put down their burdens, but also welcome them to bring their strengths and gifts to help us in new ways in the present. This is the fairy tale gold in the midst of the mud, or at the bottom of the well.
Recognizing their strengths and their power and abilities, we can invite them to step into the present, to free themselves from the old scenes and to help us consciously creating new ones full of joy and light.