We all have one thing in common… we were once all children… and having been children we each progressed through seven, predictable stages of development as we matured into adulthood. Not one of us escaped this progression and not one of us completely masters the tasks which challenge us along the way. These mastered or un-mastered tasks follow us into adulthood and either enhance or hinder our ability to succeed, to play and to attain and sustain balance.

Cathryn Taylor, helps people reconnect and discover the aspects that still challenge them in their role as adults. The inner child will not be dismissed and will continue to “show up” until those stages of development are healed and reunited with the greater self.

Below is an excerpt from one of my sessions… highlighting the importance of honoring the inner child, the stages we are at and how reconnecting these aspects of self support our ability to play and relax.

Session-Inner Child…Success…Play

The phone rings. It is a client enrolled in my 90-day program, calling to do her weekly session. I greet her and inquire how her week has gone?

With slight agitation she replies, “Not well!” I have had this edge all week. I can’t relax. Feeling serene is a joke. I feel this rebellion inside - some part of me is kicking and screaming.”

“Have you asked her what she is angry about?”

“She isn’t talking to me! She doesn’t want to have anything to do with me or this program. She doesn’t see the benefit of it! ”

In typical fashion I encourage her to tune into this part of herself and listen to what she has to say. She pauses, takes a deep breath and begins to speak from this voice within her with the sarcasm only a teenager can exhibit. “I don’t like this program. So what is this - you get healthy and spiritual and then sit around all day and do what - talk to God! That sounds like a blast! Where’s the fun in that? I’m bored. I want to have some fun! I want to go have a piece of chocolate cake!” I am sick and tired of exercising and eating all of these stupid vegetables! Where’s the sugar! Where’s the Wheat?” Where’s the beef?”

Many relate to this voice. There is something exhilarating about pushing that edge and then laughing about the ridiculousness of it! Fun and relaxation become associated with doing something “bad!” But when do these activities become destructive?

The answer is simple. We act in excessive and destructive ways when we are out of balance and our child within seeks to restore the equilibrium through the relaxation of play. The challenge is to heed the signs of their distress call and invite our child within to play in a way which nourishes our entire being.
So how can we accomplish this feat?

First of all, it is useful to expand the concept of the inner child to one which acknowledges we have more than one child within. The kind of fun and relaxation your inner teen wants to have and the definition of being relaxed as seen through the eyes of your younger selves is quite different.

We all have that divine, innocent and carefree part of us who experiences joy by simply being allowed to stand in a state of awe. This inner child is forever caught in that state of wonder which can only come from a total abandonment of worrying about the past or incessantly planning for the future. He or she finds fun in action… in running, jumping, exploring! The infant self may find pleasure in the simple art of exploration. The toddler within revels in the glory of a newly mastered physical feat, whereas your inner three-to-six year old experiences delight when given the freedom to follow the threads of curiosity and unearth anything new and previously undiscovered.

Your six-to-twelve-year old, on the other hand, will feel nourished when play and relaxation involves others. They yearn for social activity. They may feel exhilarated when playing on a soft ball team, a bowling league or engaging in some group project. This inner teen engages in social activities as well, but often within the context of self-definition. Their fun involves any activity which allows them to pursue their individuality - be it sports, shopping at the mall or participating in a book club. All of the above are signs of having integrated your inner child and play into your life in a vital and viable manner. They sustain balance and support integration.

The disgruntled inner child grabs center stage to show us when we are out of balance. If you find yourself wanting to rebel and go out and have fun in a way which will have consequences which you do not want to incur I suggest you pause for a moment. Take a deep breath and examine what parts of your life are out of balance. Tune within and engage your inner child in conversation. Irrespective of the age - invite him or her to speak its truth. This simple dialog will give your adult self the information needed to come back into alignment.

Your inner child does not begrudge your having to work; your pursuit towards health or even your spiritual path. He or she simply wants to be invited into your life. Get out of your head and take time to notice - notice everything around you! This is “conscious living” and when you engage in “conscious living” you involve your inner children in healthy play.

Author's Bio: 

Cathryn Taylor has been licensed in the state of California since 1979 as a Marriage and Family Therapist, was certified in Chemical Dependency in 1985 and is now licensed in the state of Minnesota as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor and as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Cathryn is also trained as a Personal Life Coach and uses this format in her work. Her approach incorporates consultation and facilitation - assisting you in building the relationship between your Higher Self, your Adult self and your Children Within. She is also a practitioner of Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).

Having obtained a BA in Sociology from Texas Christian University at Ft. Worth, Texas in 1970 and a MA in Psychology from John F. Kennedy University at Orinda, California in 1979, Cathryn has worked in the mental health field since 1971. In addition to having a successful private practice, she has also worked as a Family Therapist in Residential Treatment Centers, Inpatient and Outpatient Chemical Dependency Units and an Eating Disorders Clinic. She currently has a private practice in both the Twin Cities area and in San Rafael, California.

Cathryn is the author of five books including,THE INNER CHILD WORKBOOK “What To Do With Your Past When It Just Won’t Go Away” , which was published by Jeremy P.Tarcher, Inc. in 1991. It has been translated into Spanish and Dutch and is in its 32nd printing. She has been conducting workshops, lectures and classes for the past eighteen years and has authored and recorded a series of lectures which cover topics on the different stages of recovery, issues of the children within and holistic healing.