Connect to your Inner Child - Written by Shakti Gawain

Get comfortable, either sitting or lying down. If you are sitting up, be sure your back is supported so you can sit straight. If you are lying down, lie down comfortably, flat on your back. Close your eyes.... Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, relax your body.... Take another deep breath, and as you exhale, relax your body deeper and deeper.... Take another deep breath, and as you exhale, imagine relaxing your body as completely as you can. Your whole body is now completely relaxed....

Take another deep breath, and as you exhale, relax your mind.... Let your thoughts float away; let your mind come into stillness and quiet.... Take another deep breath, and as you exhale, imagine moving your awareness into a deep, quiet place inside of you....

Then imagine you are walking down that beautiful path to your inner sanctuary.... And as you walk down the path, you feel more and more relaxed, centered, and comfortable. You enter your sanctuary and sense and feel the beauty and comfort of nature all around you....

Take a few moments to get in touch with your sanctuary, to remember some of the details about this place, and to let yourself enjoy being there.... Imagine you are walking around your sanctuary noticing the various plants and animals, feeling the sun or the breeze, and a little way off in the distance, across the sanctuary, you become aware of the presence of a small child.... As you start to move toward the child, you see or sense whether it is a boy or girl, about how old it is, and what the child is doing....

Slowly move toward the child, and as you get closer, notice how the child is dressed.... Allow yourself to sense how the child is feeling emotionally. Approach the child and make contact in whatever way you sense would be appropriate right now.... Ask the child if there is anything it wants to tell you or wants to communicate to you. It may be in words or it may be in some other way. Allow yourself to receive whatever the child wants to communicate....

Now ask the child what it needs most from you, right now or in your life in general.... Listen to what the child has to tell you, whether in words or in other ways.... Spend a little time being with your child.... Allow the child to guide you in the appropriate way to be with it, whether playing together or simply sitting close or holding each other....

The child has a special gift to give you. Allow yourself now to receive the gift the child has for you.... Continue to be with your child.... Let the child know that you want to be in contact with it as much as you can from now on.... Complete your time together for right now in whatever way feels good for both of you. You and the child have a choice to make. The child can choose to remain there in the sanctuary, in a very safe place inside of you, and you can come to visit the child in your sanctuary. Or, the child can come with you when you leave the sanctuary. Your child will know which way feels best for right now, and it can always change in the future.

If the child is going to stay in the sanctuary, say goodbye for now. Let the child know you will come back as often as you can, and you want to know how the child feels and what it needs from you in your life.... If the child is coming with you, take it in your arms or by the hand and start to walk up the path out of the sanctuary. As you walk up the path, feel yourself alive, filled with energy, balanced, and centered....

Become aware of your body in the room, and when you feel ready, open your eyes and come back into the room.

Further Reading - Contacting Your Inner Child

7 Things Your Inner Child Needs to Hear You Say
Say These 7 Things to Heal and Nurture Your Inner Child

1. I love you
As children, a lot of us believed we needed to accomplish goals - get good grades, make the team, fill our older siblings’ footsteps - to be lovable. We may not have had parents who told us we deserved love, no matter what we achieved. Some of us may have had parents who considered showing love and tenderness to be a sign of weakness. But we can tell ourselves that we are loveable now. Say it whenever you see yourself in the mirror. Say it in any random moments. Love is the key to healing, so give it to yourself.

2. I hear you
Oftentimes when we feel hurt, we push down our feelings and try to act strong. For a lot of us, this stems from childhood, when we frequently heard, "Quit your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about." But those feelings don’t just go away. They fester inside of us, affecting the choices we make as adults until we make the conscious effort to hear them. Instead of suppressing the voice of your inner child, say, "I hear you. We’ll work through it. It’s going to be okay."

3. You didn’t deserve this
As children, many of us assumed we deserved to be abused, shamed, or abandoned. We told ourselves we were a bad kid, that we did something wrong. But that’s simply not true. In many cases, the people who wounded us simply didn’t know any other way. Perhaps my mum was beaten as a child, so it was the only way she knew how to parent her daughter. A child is innocent and pure. A child does not deserve to be abused, shamed, or abandoned. It’s not the child’s fault, and though we may not have had the capacity to understand this then, now, as adults, we do.

4. I’m sorry
I’ve always been an overachiever. I considered slowing down a sign of weakness. Not too long ago, I was constantly stressed about not doing enough. I couldn’t enjoy time with my kids because I’d be thinking about work. One day it dawned on me that since I was a child I’d been pushing myself too hard. I never cut myself any slack. I would criticise myself if I simply wanted to rest. So I told my inner child I was sorry. She didn’t deserve to be pushed so hard, and I don’t deserve it now as an adult either. I have since allowed myself a lot more downtime, and my relationships with my loved ones have improved as a result.

5. I forgive you
One of the quickest ways to destroy ourselves is to hold on to shame and regret. The first night my mum returned home when I was fourteen, she asked to sleep with me. We only had two beds at that time, one for me and one for my dad. I couldn’t fall asleep, and I kept rolling around. Then all of a sudden, my mum blurted out, "Stop moving, you *sshole!" The next day, I put a sign on my door that read "No Unauthorized Entry" to prevent her from coming in. My mum left again. Then, a few days after, my dad told me that they were getting a divorce (after being separated for eight years). I thought it was my fault. Why did I have to roll around and so childishly put up a sign? But now I know that their divorce wasn’t my fault. And I forgive myself for anything I could have done better. I was only a kid, and like everyone, I was and am human and imperfect.

6. Thank you
Thank your inner child for never giving up, for getting through the tough moments in life together with you with strength and perseverance. Thank your inner child for trying to protect you, even if her way was holding on to painful memories. Your inner child doesn’t deserve your judgment. S/he deserves your gratitude and respect.

7. You did your best
As a child, I always tried to outperform, to overachieve, to meet someone else’s standard, to be "perfect". I was always demanding and cruel to myself, and no matter how well I did, I never felt it was good enough. But I did the best I could at the time, and you did too. We are still doing the best we can, and we deserve credit for that. When we let go of perfection, the fear of failure recedes. Then we can allow ourselves to experiment and see how things unfold.

Read more here: 7 Things Your Inner Child Needs To Hear You Say

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