When I read spiritual guidebooks, mostly based on Buddhism, the same objections arise in me every time. They ask us to “move beyond personal story” and to let go of old hurts. Well, I sure want to wriggle free of the stickiness of the old stuff, but I have to work a lot with it before I’m ready.

An example is Tolle’s The Power of Now, which is a fine book about being present, but again, he doesn’t acknowledge the necessity—or perhaps I mean the power—of staying with old, core issues.

Then my inner child asked me to write a booklet telling how to care for her, a booklet like the spiritual manuals but focused on inner child work. In writing "Caring for the Child Within, A Manual for Grownups," I thought a lot about this issue. I realized that the inner child work, the way I practice it with daily "sitting," has similarities to other spiritual practices—specifically

o sitting with feelings, not trying to “fix” them;
o unconditional love for who I am;
o patience;
o listening inside;
o consistent practice.

For me, the work with the inner child is spiritual work. It leads to connectedness, calm, and love

Author's Bio: 

JANE ROWAN is a survivor of childhood trauma and betrayal, and is passionate about sharing her healing experiences, including Inner Child work. Her memoir-in-progress about her healing from sexual abuse is tentatively titled Writing on the Water.

This article is adapted from Jane's booklet Caring for the Child Within--A Manual for Grownups , a short guide to nurturing your Inner Child, available through her website.