As an Awakening Coach, when I talk to new clients or students for our training, I often hear about people wanting to eliminate negative feelings: like anger, fear, jealousy, grief. You know the list as well as I do. Whenever people speak in this way, I remember a story one of my early teachers told me. David Quigley, the founder of Alchemical Hypnotherapy. was born South Carolina, spoke with a thick Southern Accent, his father was a Baptist preacher. He is one of the most colorful and one-of-a-kind people I have ever known. He worked very skilfully with “parts” and “sub personalities,” a perspective that is now integrated into Awakening Coaching.
“I remember I had a client” he once told us in a class, “we were doing a guided visualization, where she went down to the beach, to a very beautiful place, to talk with her inner child.”
Inner child work was popular at that time, back in the 80’s.
“Well, before I knew it, she wanted to take her inner child out for a ride in a row boat she found, conveniently laying there on the shore. Once they got out in the deeper waters, before I knew what was going in, she grabbed that little girl, and threw her overboard. Then she told me she was rowing, as fast as she could, back to the shore. I tried to argue with her, but she was adamant, she wanted that needy, pathetic whiny, child drowned, once and for all.
“When she came back the next week for another session, she didn’t look too good. We closed our eyes to do another visualization together. I was hoping to repair the damage. She allowed me to guide her back to the beach. Then, who did she find, walking out of the water, seaweed hanging off her little face? That inner child. And let me tell you, people, she was pissed off.”
It’s a funny story. We have all tried to do that, one way or another. We want to transform our fear into joy, so it will never come back again. We want to eliminate anger once and for all, so we only ever have to wear that clean white smile. We want to make sure we never feel despair, or jealousy, or any of the “bad emotions,” and we are willing to pay good money if someone can assist us with the amputation process.
I wonder if you have had children, or if you have even sometimes had to look after a child? What happens when you are on the phone, and that three or four year old comes wanting your attention? What happens when you say “Sshhh leave me alone, not now, I am on the phone”? Most likely that child is going to get louder, more demanding, and eventually hurt you or themselves, or break something.
On the other hand, if you are on the phone, and that same child needs your attention, what happens if you say to the caller “Just a moment, please, I need to attend to my child”? You could even offer to call back after a couple of minutes. If you take that child on your lap, hold him or her, give a cuddle, what happens? You know the answer. Pretty quickly, he or she will run away to play, and you can return in to your call.
Where do feelings come from? They are all your children. They arise out of you, nowhere else. You give birth to them all. When we make sex wrong, for example, or try to make it go away, it turns into perversion: into pornography, prostitution, even rape. If we made anger wrong, and put on a false smile, it builds up energy and resentment, and it can turn into violence.
Whatever we refuse to feel, we are forced to live out unconsciously. When you are willing to make friends with the feelings that arise, they become your gift.