Trust–A Quality You Share with Your Innocent Child

 Kids Painting

Trust is a quality an innocent child possesses that is a key element in the Alchemy of childhood. A child’s trust can overlook many inadequacies of adults by virtue of their unconditional love and faith in the basic goodness of others. When maligned, of course, that trust may be damaged, shaken or broken altogether, in situations of callous neglect or abuse. But in a loving environment a child’s trust may know no bounds. They have faith in their dreams–however imaginary–and confidence in their ability to accomplish them.

From Goethe:

As soon as you trust

yourself,

You will know how to live.

I gave a poster with this Goethe passage on it to my little sister when we were teens. Somehow I associate it in the same memory frame with a printed passage I had taped to the back of a ceramic turtle in my bedroom: “Behold the Turtle! She makes progress only when she sticks her neck out.” These two simple passages were reminders to Trust, to remain open and accepting of my own inherent talents and to hold courage in stepping forth to germinate the seeds and ultimately to manifest my dreams.

Many of you who are readers of this blog are fellow writers and/or artists and dreamers.  As you focus on memories of childhood, you can cultivate the archetype of the Innocent Child to gain Strength for advancing your dreams. Trust in your own inherent goodness of heart and listen to your inner Child, who can lead the way in forging your next bold steps with imagination and a creativity that knows no bounds.

No matter how an adult’s trust may have diminished over time through weathering the harsh vicissitudes of life, we can rekindle that trust in OURSELVES by attending to the Innocent Child within. We can re-parent our Child if there is a need to do so.  Give your Child a name; Dialogue with him or her, either in a journal or by active imagination or meditation. Go out on a special day with your child, doing things you loved to do when you were younger. Prompted by a wonderful therapist some 25 years ago,I took my inner Child, April, to a drive-in theatre to see the Kevin Costner “Robin Hood” when it first came out. I bought her–represented as a pillow in my passenger seat–popcorn and candy and delighted in her enjoyment of the movie and of our companionship.

Many years later when I was developing the Life Maps Process, I learned about Archetypes especially from studying the works of Carl Jung and James Hillman on archetypal psychology. I developed an Archetype Dialogue Process that is a central component of the approach to personal growth I will be sharing with my upcoming book and self-help handbook, Life Paths.

Through dialogue with my own Innocent Child (a Descender archetype), I learned she has been primarily “underground” for many years because of dysfunctional family issues in childhood. She stayed “beneath” as I advanced into adulthood, preferring to stay in her own private space—like in a lower level, shadowy living room–alone, rather than dealing with the harshness of adults directly. Getting to know her—I now call her Little Linda—I have learned to visit with her on her own turf, going inward imaginatively to sit with her or to play with her in her own environment. Over time I have invited her to accompany me on a more conscious level, for fun outings together.

A couple of years ago I knew I had succeeded in helping Little Linda to ‘surface’. I was at a spiritual workshop. One activity allowed for quiet contemplation, during which I checked in with her.

“I don’t want to just stay down here alone anymore. I want to be a part of your Life!” she told me in that active imagination contemplation.

After the contemplative period I approached several ‘choice’ friends at the workshop. I told them I wanted to introduce them to Little Linda and I let her say to them directly, “I want to help and to know you, too!”

My friends understood (a good thing, for sure)! Little Linda had “stuck her neck out.” And we are going forward together, ever since, with Trust that we will accomplish our Dreams!

The ‘Innocent’ of Childhood

Small Girl Blowing Sparkly Stars

The Innocent. As a character type—what Jung or Hillman call an Archetype—the Innocent is most often a child. Since we have all experienced, to a greater or lesser extent, the innocence of being a child, then we each carry this Archetype of the Innocent Child within us.

In Life Mapping I coach people to identify and name their Life Chapters leading up to the Present.  Almost always, people name their earliest Life Chapter as something on the order of “Innocence”: a time of relative calm and joy preceding the Storms of life.

By a random review of a set of 9 Life Maps, 7 of their first Life Chapter titles reflect an innocence theme: “Innocence”(2); “Childhood & Youth” (2); “”Well Loved/ Happy”; “Pure Joy”; and “Oblivion”. The other two, I should note, refer to situations involving childhood trauma or abuse.

What was your earliest Life Chapter? To identify it, first think about your earliest major, pivotal life event, before and after which you feel that you were “not the same person”. Then think about the time of your life BEFORE that, between your birth and that first major turning point. As the author of your own Life Story, what title would you use to describe your early childhood?

If your first Life Chapter was not so bright and Innocent, how did that eventually get resolved, if it has been? Is there an Innocent you that was suppressed then?

If your early childhood was a time of relative Innocence (or if you can identify within yourself that archetype-Child who was suppressed), can you feel that Child archetype within you Now? What is she or he like? What does s/he–that part of you–love? How do you like to play, as your Innocent Child? Who is/was your BFF?

How can you best listen to, hear, and nurture your Innocent Child archetype today? Let him or her be a part of your conscious persona, because s/he is there regardless.

To be in better contact with your Innocent Child part-of-self, you might try DOING something you enjoyed most as that Child. Climb a tree? Go to a petting zoo? Sing a lullaby that your Mom or Grandmother once sang to you?

You can even write a dialogue in your journal—or have an active imagination encounter—between your Adult self today and your Innocent Child within you. I invite you to open your Heart to this inner part of yourself. You might be amazed—and even amused—by all s/he can show you!

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I invite you–as Innocent Child or adult!–to share your insights or story.

And always, Better Endings to You!