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OTHER ITA SITES:
And A Little Child Shall Lead Us
You may have seen a television commercial in the U.S. that ran earlier this year. The ad was for a snack bar and showed a number of small children telling family secrets like, "My dad sleeps on the couch," "My mom cut up her credit cards." The ad suggested parents could avoid these embarrassing moments by giving their kids something to eat, apparently oblivious to the fact that kids are virtuosos when it comes to eating and talking at the same time.
Actually, I thought the advertiser's premise would make a great Community Service ad: sort of a "Those Embarrassing Moments are Signposts on Your Spiritual Journey" message. Those of us who live or work with children know what fabulous spiritual mirrors our children are. They reflect our Light and our Shadows, and when we honor their Teachings, we begin to travel our Spiritual Journey at lightening speeds.
I am blessed with my own live-in Spiritual Teacher. My son Jonathan has been my personal trainer in spiritual growth and development for the last twelve years. And each year he challenges and stretches and pushes me closer and closer to my Connection with my Authentic Self. And, yes, I've had some of those embarrassing moments when my son mirrors my Shadow Self and lets the world know exactly who I am and what limiting beliefs I'm engaged in at the moment.
At first, I tried diverting Jonathan with a toy or something to eat, but then I realized the words coming from my baby's mouth were gifts! Jonathan was showing me a part of myself that I had disowned, that I no longer saw in myself. But, my baby saw it! And embraced it as his own, believing in his heart of hearts that his mother's behaviors, thoughts and actions were to be emulated as part of his training for adulthood.
Because Jonathan's intentions were pure-- he was just following his nature in learning how to interact with the world - I was soon able to see the gift he was offering. So, I changed tactics. I no longer tried stopping the behavior in Jonathan. Instead, I set my intention to re-discovering and healing those parts my child was mirroring to me. And what I found was my own inner child, crying out for acknowledgment and healing.
There, in the depths of my soul was, not the ugly shadows I feared, but a younger version of myself who was born in a moment of pain and despair. As I sat with my younger self, I began to recognize my own capacity for self-compassion. Here was proof of my own self-love, for this part of me was simply trying to protect me from getting hurt again. But, she was so very young and her resources were few. Her attempts to protect me were inadequate only because she lacked the skills and understanding of an adult.
So, I began nurturing her just as I nurtured my son. Each day, I spent time with her, letting her play and giving her permission to be a little girl. She was glad to hand over the difficult task of self-protection to my adult self and resume her job of learning through play. We often colored together or went for walks or just spent time being silly. Within a few days, she appeared older to me. More mature, more confident, more happy. And within a few weeks, she had grown up, matching my own biological age, ready to stand by my side and face the world with me.
The first time I managed to get to a place of peace around the shadow/inner child who held so much resentment for my ex-husband, I watched in amazement as my son made the shift towards his father almost simultaneously, without a word spoken between us. I thought it was a fluke, but I've since witnessed these changes each time I heal another shadow/inner child. And I've met other men and women who've seen the same thing happen in their children. It doesn't matter how old the children or whether they live at home or on another continent. Within a few days of the inner healing, parents report changes in their children that mirror the inner peace they feel in themselves. Oftentimes, grown children will call long-distance and tell their parent about the insight or epiphany they've just experienced. The very same insight the parent had just experienced.
We are in awe of the power we have learned to step into, and now view parenthood with a more profound, deeply held reverence.
Copyright (c) 2000 Carolyn Wilson-Elliott
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Travel Part B