The Orphaned Ones
Over a lifetime of mining my inner fears and longings, I’ve become aware that some of my most difficult memories, feelings and beliefs are from a time when I was too young for language or emotional development to describe my inner experience. It is hard to identify, let alone articulate, something that eludes the description of words. Though, at this point in my life, courting those pre-verbal and orphaned parts of myself feels essential, loving and gracious.
In a dream, I am walking through a big, old, beautiful mansion. I walk into a bedroom, then down a set of stairs where I see babies in newborn hospital cribs. As I descend the stairs, the babies start quivering with excitement at my incoming presence. It feels heartwarming to make connection with these precious little ones.
The setting is like an orphanage with loving adult male volunteers tending to the babies. As I am going back up the stairs I come upon a few volunteers making “volunteer story boards” to hang in the orphan nursery to bring warmth and connection. I want to make one - it is a fabulous idea!
Making a storyboard of all of these unmet parts of me that have been “orphaned” and relegated to the basement of my soul, now being birthed back into the light, has been a revelatory process. It is liberating to engage my imagination and welcome these parts back into the fold of my experience. It is like reuniting with long lost friends that bring immense value to my life. I feel the quivering and quaking inside of previously repressed creativity longing to be expressed.
I have come to recognize when resistance, anxiety and/or shame arises in my current experience, that it is most often triggered from these hidden parts who became the discarded outcasts of my psyche. These vulnerable “orphans” strategically created habitual responses of protection born out of painful early experiences and engaged to maintain the status quo. The inherent wisdom of these compensatory responses served as brilliant self-protection measures up to a point, while proving to be self-diminishing and deprecating in the long run.
My unique strategy of invisibility, and flying well under the radar, has kept me safe, comfortable and relatively productive for most of my life. Though I have come to recognize the familiar uncomfortable feelings that arise which trigger my habitual patterns. Courageously, I have learned to stay present with them rather than turn away. These feelings have become my cue to slow my thoughts and actions way down and get curious about which orphan is calling my attention. When I become quiet and listen deeply, she has a story to tell that is a long lost treasure in the mansion of my soul. Each young one I nurture back into my adult consciousness brings the warmth and joy of untapped potential – and a liberated feeling of creative energy stirred!
To protect and nurture these young ones inside, it is my practice to first lovingly acknowledge their presence and assure a safe environment, just like the volunteer male attendants in my dream. As I court these tender parts of myself in this way, I am able to notice the often playful and creative vibrancy that is freed; that which had been previously coveted painfully in the dark corner of my psyche. When I invite these infant energies to accompany and share their essence with the adult in me, I feel an expansive quality that is not easily described, but joyfully welcome.
The more that these parts within are honored and nurtured through gestures of curiosity and connection, the more love and trust is harnessed, and over time, cultivates an embodied, integrated and deeply satisfying union. Hence, the evolving story of inhabited awakening and wholeness ensues. The memories that once plagued me with the devastation of nightmares have spun the gold of my own personal myth, meaning and service within this larger dream of life.
What is the story that your soul is longing to tell? What is the best way for you to nurture and articulate it? Who are the long lost parts hiding in the basement of your inner mansion? Lean in close...and listen. You might hear an orphaned one inside, quivering with life longing to be lived.
The Orphaned Ones