The cry we hear from deep in our hearts comes from the wounded child within. Healing this inner child’s pain will transform negative emotions. — Thich Nhat Hanh
There is a wounded child in each of us. No matter our childhood circumstances, we have all experienced not getting what we needed and traumatic events that have closed us off and made us afraid to step into our light. As we grow up, we do our best to ‘forget’ these feelings of painful experiences. We learn to push down them down with food, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping — the list is as endless as it is ineffective. We do whatever we can to avoid facing our darkness because we are terrified to feel it, afraid to admit our hurt little girl was left behind.
So, our little girl continues to cry and rage for love, acceptance, and the protection of a mother. And as adults, we may pass on the punishment we received as children for the action of our hurt little girl by telling ourselves that we are unworthy, stupid, not enough… We punish the behaviour without looking at the underlying cause.
And then, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, this pain and suffering become infused in our being. But he also says that the seeds of awakened understanding and happiness are handed down to us from our ancestors (through our soul family). We simply have to plant the seeds by lighting the lamp of mindfulness.
Listening to the voice of the inner child
I’ve been having the most extraordinary experiences these past few weeks about my own inner child. These experiences have catapulted me into a new level of understanding and catalyzed me to action.
A few weeks ago, I attended a monthly drum circle with my coach. As you know, journaling is my main form of meditation because it quiets my mind and allows the voice of my soul to speak to me. It is a challenge for me to quiet my mind in pretty much any other way, especially in meditation. Allowing myself to let go and journey to my unconscious is difficult, to say the least.
The first drumming meditation of this set was so incredibly frustrating! My mind was filled with resistance and every time I felt myself slipping into quiet, my brain would almost immediately jar me out of it. The fear of letting go is that strong within me.
I didn’t share what had happened with the group because I was so frustrated, I didn’t want to admit that I got zip. Nada. Zilch. But as the second drumming was about to begin, my coach suggested that in this drum meditation we ask for the help of our ancestors to let go of what we needed to release and to ask for insight about our purpose. When she said that in her own experience, she knows that what is holding her back often doesn’t even belong to her, the words pierced my resistance. I found myself immediately crying. And then the crying turned to sobbing. For at least 10 of the 15 minutes of drumming, I cried, I sobbed. My usual crying ‘limit’ is two minutes tops. Every time I thought I was done, another wave hit me.
I could feel this sorrow from deep, deep in my body, pushing up and rising to the surface. At one point, I heard my li’l kacky say, “I wish my mommy would love me and pay attention to me, and hold me like I need to be held, just like in that book…”
The vision of the drum
And then I saw it. I saw myself standing in front of my wounded child and I was her and she was me. As I saw this, I could also feel and see my mother’s ethereal hand on my left shoulder and my sister’s on my right shoulder. Behind them, my father had one hand on each of their shoulders. And then, as far back as I could see, my ancestors had their right hand on the shoulder in front of them.
My ancestors were holding me in the only way they could, each of them sending waves of love and gentleness, imploring me to let go of those things that did not belong to me — to break through the hurt and sorrow and let it all go…
I wish I could paint a picture of that vision because it was so beautiful and peaceful and filled with pinks and blues and white light.
The path forward
I felt the healing and I felt the light come into my own body and I knew that this was more than merely healing. This vision was also showing me the path forward.
Over a month ago, while promoting my Journaling to the Deep retreat weekend, I wrote:
“Journaling is my medicine. Yes, I want you to know your joy, but your pain is every bit as important. Your darkness as sacred.
Your vulnerability is precious. Your heart is nestled tenderly to my bosom so that you can look at your darkness through my eyes. I am the mother I wish I had when I was a child, and I can be yours too.
When I look at you I see beauty, healing, authenticity — I see you as a Wild Woman — I see miracles, magic, and gentle grace.”
I was surprised and delighted this came from my pen, but as soon as I posted it, that familiar voice of Fear crept in to say, “Who do you think you are? That’s awfully boastful of you. You’ve never been a mother and how can you mother someone when you don’t have your own life figured out.” I believed this voice of Fear and I shrank again.
But now I know those word came from my voice of my inner knowing — my soul — telling me the pathway forward. Because that is exactly what I am meant to do. I am meant to be the mother I never had (even though she did her best) to all of these Wild Women who are emerging from their cages. The kind of mother that paid attention to me, demonstrated her love for me by holding me and comforting me when I was in emotional need. The kind of mother who held space for me and let me be the child I was, instead of the child she thought I needed to be.
It is through this mothering, that I am mothering myself and healing my own wounded inner child. It is by letting her come out to play and listening to her wants and desires, that I can also feel her joy.
Wild Woman, the time is now...
I believe this work of honouring our wounded child is the most important healing we can do for ourselves. It is the key to all. And I now understand that this work is part of my purpose. That, as I am healing, I am shining my light and helping others to light their own lights.
If you’re ready to love, protect, honour, and nurture your inner child so that you can set free your own Wild Woman, join us in the 7-Day Wild Woman Journaling Challenge, beginning Monday, September 25th.
kathy mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and storyteller. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her clients to help them find their voice and heal their stories through journaling. Her passion is to support women in realizing their true identity as Wild Women, claiming their passions, and speaking their truths as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)