The Lost Children of Our Being

My clients come to me because they’re in pain.

Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, psychic. Pain.

They talk about wanting to get rid of the pain, of wanting to walk away from their fear once and for all.

They speak about wanting to drop the stories, drop the past, eliminate the sadness.

They want to lop off the parts that hurt.

Be finished, be done, be over it.

In essence they’re telling me they want to be free.

The truth is… it’s not about cutting away pieces of ourselves.

It’s not about burying the trauma or the pain or working the stories, turning them around  or rewriting the endings, although thought work can be useful. It’s not about getting rid of the ugly bits or making them more beautiful or dressing them up for public consumption. It’s not about taking things out with the trash or being over it. And it is definitely not about denying its impact. Hard and frightening things happen to every single one of us at one point or another…some of it nasty and bad and soul shattering.

It IS about calling all of those parts back, finding them their right and proper place. This is what creates our wholeness. Welcoming and acceptance. Integration, NOT amputation.

It is about singing the song that brings us back to ourselves.

Do not mistake me. I am not talking about wallowing in the past or going looking for pain. I’m not even talking about the events themselves. It’s what the events caused us to loose, to set aside that I am speaking of. The brilliant, essential brightness that is our own unique essence, our core. We buried pieces of ourselves, because to show our shine was simply too dangerous. In our deepest, most tender places we knew that we had to tuck it away, keep it hidden, lock it up  until it was safe to go back. Our sense of belonging, safety, even our survival may have depended on it.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about Descansos, the white crosses by the side of the road that signal a sudden ending of a life in an unexpected way. We have our own inner Descansos, the white crosses that mark a sudden and unexpected death of some part of ourselves. It could be innocence, hope, a sense of play or exuberance that was abandoned along the path. It might be the artist, the sensualist, the intellect, the magician or the handy-person who got left behind.

How does this happen?

It may have been a meanness we experienced or possibly a point in time where we were not received in some essential way, a traumatic event or countless other possible shocks. Whatever it was, it caused us to recoil and even to vow, to never, ever show that jewel again, to keep hidden what was most precious . To decide from that moment on not to need or show fear, vulnerability, pain, joy, grief, or any one of the  thousand and one faces of our deepest most essential self.

Like a phantom limb that we still can feel, the loss shows itself in all kinds of ways: unsatisfying relationships, an inability to connect, physical pain in our bodies, a deep dissatisfaction that we are always trying to fill, running from one new mirage to the next. Asking, always asking, “What will fill me? What will satisfy? What will satiate, finally, fully? Is this it?” These are some of it’s cries.

Each part and experience we’ve left behind is a point on the sphere of our own exquisite  selves. Each part is as necessary and vital as every other. Without them all we do not have our whole. Without them all, we do not have the sense of completeness that allows us to turn our attention freely to what we long to express;our own unique gifts and talents we came here to share.

Simply beginning, in this very moment to receive everything, all of us, every fragile, imperfect and glorious part, like a welcome guest in the home of our own being is a restorative balm. Notice, welcome and give what’s here, in this single, solitary  moment, the space and time to inform us of its gifts and treasures. This is an antidote to the severing we have necessarily perpetrated upon ourselves.

As we collect and welcome home all the parts, the lost children of our being, we experience greater wholeness.  The past no longer has an invisible and implacable hold on us.

There is nothing to hide or protect.

We move from survival to thriving.

We experience freedom.

What treasures are buried beneath the white crosses along the hi-way of your life?

What are you ready to go back and welcome?

I would love to know.

Photo credit: Melanie Marx


Kathy January 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Melanie, these are such beautiful, healing words. So thankful for you and your work…

Sue January 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Welcoming & accepting – that really spoke to me, Melani. I’m really looking forward to taking your classes!

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