Inner child work is in one way detective work. We have a mystery to solve. Why have I have I been attracted to the type of people that I have been in relationship with in my life? Why do I react in certain ways in certain situations? Where did my behavior patterns come from? Why do I sometimes feel so: helpless; lonely; desperate; scared; angry; suicidal; etc.
That is the purpose of inner child healing - to stop letting our experiences of the past dictate how we respond to life today. It cannot be done without revisiting our childhood. We need to become aware, to raise our consciousness. To create a new level of consciousness for ourselves that allows us to observe ourselves.
It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child's experiences, honor that child's feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around.
We all have an inner critic, a critical parent voice that beats us up with shame, judgment, and fear. The critical parent voice developed to try to control our emotions and our behaviors because we got the message there was something wrong with us and that our survival would be threatened if we did, said, or felt the "wrong" things.
Recovery involves bringing to consciousness those beliefs and attitudes in our subconscious that are causing our dysfunctional reactions so that we can re-program our ego defenses to allow us to live a healthy, fulfilling life instead of just surviving. So that we can own our power to make choices for ourselves about our beliefs and values instead of unconsciously reacting to the old tapes. Recovery is consciousness raising. It is enlightenment - bringing the dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs out of the darkness of our subconscious into the Light of consciousness.
On an emotional level, the dance of Recovery is owning and honoring the emotional wounds so that we can release the grief energy - the pain, rage, terror, and shame that is driving us.
From Robert Burney, Inner Child Work
Regardless of a child’s age, children come to school knowing they have a job to do: they know they are supposed to learn something. But like us, they need to be inspired to learn, to listen, to pay attention. They come into the classroom with the attitude of “Let’s see what you got. Give me your best stuff.” Tell me why I should listen to you?” They are waiting to see who you are. Unless you gain the respect of a classroom of 7 year olds, they will never want to learn from you.
Ask yourself: How can I create an environment that inspires students so that they will want to learn from me? Understand that the onus of a student learning is on you, and not the student. You need to take responsibility for creating a classroom that inspires, motivates and challenges.
Here’s something you have going for you: Even if maybe you do mess up a bit at first, remember, the wonderful thing about children is their openness. In Sanskrit there is a word to describe the purity of a spirit coming into the world and it’s called “Tabla rasa”, which literally means blank slate.
The children you teach everyday have simply not been on this planet as long as you have. They don’t have a lot of nonsense in their heads. They haven’t concocted a bunch of excuses and rationalizations for why they don’t want to learn and what’s wrong with you. They’re pretty pure and very open and very present oriented. In other words, the moment you inspire them, they will want to learn from you.
Remember: your classroom is a reflection of you. If in the past you have found yourself complaining about your students, I would never do that again. Nothing makes us powerless fastest than feeling victimized by a class of 10 year olds. This is your classroom. Metaphorically, you are the king and this is your kingdom. If you don’t like what is happening in your kingdom, the place to look is to the King. This is the place to do the fine-tuning, turn inward, not out there.
Another way to create an environment that inspires learning is to set up a teacher-student relationship that is based on dignity and respect.
One of the ways you do that is by being accountable.
Remember children learn by modeling; that is, by watching you. Being accountable literally means you do what you say you are going to do.
My very good friend was a teacher for twenty-five years. She told me about the day she was teaching and the class was particularly routy and she knew that there were four boys in the classroom that were causing all the trouble. So she said, “OK, the next person who talks, without being called-on, will be sent to the principal’s office.” Well, the next person who talked was the best student in the class, a girl who never did anything wrong. My friend felt terrible, but she sent the girl to the principal’s office. After that, everyone paid attention.
Remember, what you set up in the beginning is what you have in the end. If you begin your relationship with your students, by saying you are going to do things and then not do them, you lose their respect. Children have an uncanny sense of justice and remember these things. They may not remember the times table but how often do you hear “You said….” If they don’t respect you, they will not learn from you.
Children test boundaries; that is their nature. That is how they learn about themselves and the world, what is possible, what is not possible?
They just automatically keep stretching until someone says stop. They are actually waiting for an adult to step in and give some direction. That stopping point keeps them safe lets them be children because they know someone else is in charge. The minute that they know you are in charge, you automatically get their respect.
Accountability, respect, boundaries: all of these help create a safe environment, and children learn when they feel safe. Creating a safe environment is the foundation of all learning. For children to learn they must be open to learning, and to be open, they must first feel safe.
What about mistakes? Do you celebrate failure in your classroom as well as success? Do your students know that failure is as much of part of life as success and that we learn by our mistakes?
It’s not just teaching students to accept failure and keep moving forward; that really misses the point. We need to change the paradigm of failure from being something bad to perhaps something that signals a new beginning. Every time we get up after a failure, we have increased self –esteem and self-respect, and the stronger we get.
How we feel about success and failure and how we treat our students is really a result of how we feel about ourselves.
If we are ashamed when we make mistakes or have trouble admitting when we are wrong, we will pass that same feeling along to our students, and our students will not feel safe in our classroom. Children need to be encouraged to stretch and grow and not be afraid of not being perfect. They need to feel supported in the journey of learning and know that making mistakes is part of the process.
Another way to create a safe environment is to motivate children from the inside rather than the outside. Pitting students against one another is never a good motivator. Grades motivate students from the outside and although they may be necessary to quantify a student’s ranking, they will never go the distance and they will never create a love of learning.
Instead of encouraging competition with one another, encourage competition with the Self. Encourage students to be the best that they can be and support them to keep stretching and growing. Teach them that:
Lastly, if you want your students to connect with you, you need to take the time to connect with them.
The connection that you make with your students is what will create your learning environment. I encourage you to take the time to connect to each and every one of your students. Sometimes it takes only three minutes to make that connection, but once you do, you have a friend for life.
Your classroom will be a cross section of the easiest to the most difficult. If I am honest, sometimes I get a client I don’t like that much. I actually use this client as a barometer for what I need to work on. I know my job is to teach and unless I can connect, to each and every one, I cannot do my work.
The student-teacher connection gives you feedback and it nourishes your soul. When we have a student who “gets it” something inside us comes alive, we get energized. When we know we have made a connection, something inside of us feels complete.
I grew up with a great love of learning. My father was a teacher. When he died in 1999, at his bedside, along with my family, was his favorite student from 30 years ago. The teacher/student relationship was as strong then as it was in 1969. My father had made a difference in his student’s life that outlasted the classroom; a difference that had spanned more than 30 years!
As a little girl, I thought my father knew everything. My brothers and I had a game: we would always try to stump my father by asking him hard questions, things we had learned about at school or projects we were working on. My father was pretty smart but there were some things even he didn’t know. These sessions were always fun, either with my father teaching us something we didn’t know or all of us looking up new information and learning together. I don’t remember any of the subject matter per sec, but I remember the feeling, the connection, how excited I was learning something new, and how much I was enjoying the relationship with my father.
How we learn is always in the context of a relationship; so you are responsible for creating a relationship that inspires learning. We so often go right to the subject matter, the reading, the writing, the math, and it goes without saying you have a responsibility to teach these things, but unless you are able to deliver your subject matter in a way that is accessible and exciting, AND unless you are able to connect to each and every one of your students, you will never really feel satisfied.
One thing for sure that I’ve figured out, and because I’m a Life Coach I consider myself a teacher as well: Students learn because they want to learn. And when they want to learn it is because you have inspired them in some way; and they want to learn from you.
Ultimately, regardless of what you do, if at some point you do not connect with your students and succeed in passing on a love of learning, you will always be frustrated in the classroom. When you are able to develop a real relationship with your students, they want to learn and they pay attention; they want to hear what you have to say.
You’ve heard it said: people do business with people they like. Well, children learn from people they like and respect. It’s that simple.
I see children as “minnie-me’s”. They’re us, only smaller. I don’t know about you but when I go to hear someone speak, I’m like a kid. I am waiting for someone to grab my attention. The last thing I want to do is sit there and be bored, but there is nothing I can do unless the person talking is interesting and in some way inspires me. I’m not saying you have to entertain your students, but I am saying you need to be authentic and connect.
When I talk about feeling safe what I mean is that students can make mistakes without feeling foolish.
To learn something new implies that we enter unknown territory and unknown territory always produces a sense of anxiety. If children do not feel the classroom is a safe and loving place, they will never get excited about learning, never be willing to participate in the discovery process. To be creative, to use your imagination, to problem-solve outside the box, children must be willing to share things that, up until this point have just existed in their heads.
As educators, you need to ask yourself: Do you create a non-judgmental classroom that actually celebrates individuality and diversity?
Do you set ground rules to make sure students treat one another with dignity and respect and step in when you see one child diminishing or hurting another?
Kindness goes a long way and the way you treat your students is the way they will treat you and one another. Remember: What they are going to get in your classroom has the potential to set their course for the rest of their lives. (To be continued)
The first time I read Stuart Wilde, I remember thinking, "What a hoot. Right on the money". He is smart, his heart is open, and he has the rare ability of putting it all together in a way that is scared and irreverant at the same time. Simultaneoulsy, he cuts through the BS and connects to the core of what is real and true. Here are a few of the things he says:
They say heart trouble is caused by eating fatty foods, and living an unhealthy lifestyle. This may well be true, but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that the real cause of heart attacks is people's inability to go past their fear, and open their hearts and love humanity.
Heart trouble is a long-term emotional condition, caused by being too tight, lacking warmth, and not loving others. What's hereditary is not a faulty heart, but the lack of love.
You see, if you have a heart chakra the size of a flea's arsehole, it doesn't allow you to join humanity, and if you can't join humanity and embrace it with all its faults, you can't join God. If you can't join God, your body throws in the towel.
Uncharted terror is when you are completely terrorized. It’s often terror you haven't seen before. It only comes when you stop being completely arseholic and you embrace the feminine spirit. I’ve done a lot of uncharted terror in my life--it taught me to be brave. I found out bravery is not the absence of fear; it’s being able to operate effectively when scared shitless.
Enjoy Stuart Wilde.
I spent ten years in India studying and meditating with Swami "Baba" Muktananda. He was a great Guru and a great spiritual master. I was one of of his first American disciples and I spent every day with him for 10 years. People often ask me what I learned from that experience and I tell them a trip to San Francisco is an experience, but this was my life. How I lived for all those years set the stage for all of it.
I used to mediate 4 to 5 hours a day, work in the garden, live a simple life with a very dynamic, strict, loving, powerful guru that never let anything slip past him and was always one step or more ahead of me. That is why I stayed - I couldn't fool him; he had my number.
I had been mediatating for four years and I went to Baba and said, "I have been meditating for four years and I think that is enough. He looked at me and said, "Okay". I thought that meant okay, I was done. But to Baba it meant, "Okay, I heard you, and now go and sit back down. So...I sat down and meditated for another four years.
It was during those years that I realized the power of a quiet mind. I teach all my clients how to mediate. Here is a book by Baba called "Meditate" "Meditate", by Swami Muktananda
If you haven't read Rumi, you are in for a treat. Rumi's passionate, playful poems find and celebrate scared life in everyday existence. They speak across all traditions, to all peoples: Read Rumi and be transported inward to that vast expanse of love. Rumi's Love Poems
"This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and attend them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whomever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Welcome difficulty. Learn the alchemy True Human Beings know: the moment you accept what troubles you've been given, the door opens.
Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade. Joke with torment brought by the Friend.
Sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets that serve to cover, and then are taken off. The undressing and the beautiful naked body underneath, is the sweetness that comes after grief."
Translated by Coleman Barks
If you are not familiar with Eckhart Tolle (Read Interviews) you are missing an opportunity to learn from a great teacher. Tolle's teachings are about surrendering to "what is", living in the present moment, and staying open to all of life. The Power of Now is a must read for anyone on the path. Going beyond the mind and into the heart, Tolle never misses.
Tolle says, "With the concept of "relationship" come expectations, memories of past relationships, and further personally and culturally conditioned mental concepts of what a "relationship" should be like. Then I would try to make reality conform to these concepts. And it never does. And again I suffer. The fact of the matter is: there are no relationships. There is only the present moment, and in the moment there is only relating.
How we relate, or rather how well we love, depends on how empty we are of ideas, concepts, expectations."
You often use phrases such as “true alignment with life” and “inner alignment with what is”. How can we ever be out of alignment with what is? Surely what is is WHAT IS and must include confusion, resistance and non surrender to the present moment.
What you say is the truth. As long as that truth is not recognized, however, there is suffering (which of course is part of what is.) As soon as it is recognized, a new dimension arises: awareness, Presence. This is the awakening, the shift, the transcendence of suffering. So, when I say alignment with life I mean conscious alignment. Non-surrender to the present moment is ultimately only non-recognition that you are already one with what is. This is the illusion of separation (which, of course, also has its rightful place within the totality). So we are all on a journey from unconscious to conscious alignment with life.
If you want to know anything about sex, David Deida is your man. Check it Out . Tantric Sex, Sexual Union, is the ultimate oportunity to relax and open to divine consciousness, absolute love. Deida knows the chemistry comes from the polarity that exists between a man and a woman. A very feminine female needs a very masculine man to complete the circuit. What is your sexual essence? Take the Test
"In the area of sacred intimacy, David Deida is holding a lightening bolt. He sheds an astonishing light."
—Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love
"We all taste God, taste Goddess, taste pure Spirit in those moments of sexual rapture, and wise men and women have always used that rapture to reveal Spirit’s innermost secrets. David Deida is such a wise one.”
—Ken Wilber, author of Sex, Ecology, Spirituality
Magnify Love by Loving by David Deida
True sexual and spiritual surrender is not about adapting yourself to what will appease your partner. Nor is it about surrendering to your own momentary emotional needs. True surrender is about relaxing through these secondary needs, both yours and your partner’s, and magnifying your primary desire to give and receive unbounded love.
Do your best to feel through your own resistance as well as your lover’s. Behind all resistive emotion is the motive of love. The desire to give and receive love underlies every emotional action and reaction, including hurt and anger, in yourself and in your partner.
Whatever the emotion—anger, fear, closure—feel through it, breathe through it, relax through it, into the love which underlies it. Then, actively surrender to that love. Open as love. Magnify love by loving.