Inner Bonding: Supporting the Healing ProcessBy Nancy Weston
December 31, 2006
This article is about how to continue supporting your health and healing with the self-help Inner Bonding process after learning it through a seminar, workshop, intensive or book. There are wonderful suggestions for continuing your emotional and spiritual growth, and taking care of your Inner Child.
So, it is Sunday night, or late Wednesday, and you have come home from a weekend Inner Bonding workshop, or an Intensive, and you are full of enthusiasm-in touch with your Inner Child, aware of many of the protections and false beliefs of your Child-Adult. You have learned about your "parenting" abilities as a Loving Adult, and you perhaps have made a new or stronger connection with your Higher Power. You might be exhausted from the emotional work but energized and newly committed to yourself. Maybe you have promised to be in the Intent to Learn with yourself and others, and have a new understanding of what loving behavior is.
Suddenly it is mid-week or the weekend, and you realize you can't find your dialoguing journal, or you've yelled at your kids again (inner or outer). Or, it's midnight and another day has gone without your getting to that 30 minutes you promised to set aside just for you and your "team." Your Inner Child feels shoved aside again, your loving Adult has disappeared, and your Child-Adult is starring in "Home Alone" - in your own house. You may have learned that your Child needs holding, but there is no one safe or willing nearby. Now what?
I have been practicing Inner Bonding for four years - since 1992 - and I know that there are no easy answers to these challenges. We all need support with this process, particularly in a Child-Adult world that often does not seem too interested in changes that will reduce its power. I finally started a support group a year ago because I needed a community of people who had similar goals. We are still going strong, having grown from 6 to 16 members. Each meeting we gather around communal food and "check-in," discussing where we are in our lives and what challenges we are meeting with the Inner Bonding process. We bring our stuffed animals so that we can work with each other on the dialoguing process, listening for what our Inner Child is saying and for where we are confusing our Child-Adult with our Loving Adult. Many of us set intentions to work on over the next month until we meet again; we have learned that we have been strengthened in our practice as we have witnessed each other's commitments.
What if there is not a support group in your area, and you are not ready to lead one? Here are some suggestions to help you strengthen your process:
1) If you have an address list from your Inner Bonding workshop, invite some people to gather informally to talk about their work with the process, or call someone on the list and ask if he or she would like to "buddy up" and talk occasionally about how both of you are doing.
2) Find a therapist who is willing to work with your Inner Child process, even if s/he is not trained in Inner Bonding. For example, Hakomi therapy works with the "child state." Remember that it is not loving behavior to your Child to be alone while you are working on developing a Loving Adult, particularly in deep pain or traumatic memories.
3) Create a nest in your bed (a waterbed works great!) where you can imagine your Child being held as you hold your stuffed animal or doll. A mound of pillows and stuffed animals also works well.
4) Read a chapter in Healing Your Aloneness or Inner Bonding, or do a few pages in the Healing Your Aloneness Workbook.
5) Watch small children wherever you go, reminding yourself that you have a Child inside you. Think about how you would respond to their hurt or pain. Notice what makes them happy, and how loving adults listen to them and work with them.
6) Use whatever process works for you for reaching up to your Higher Power or Spirit. Envisioning this source as a golden warm light that envelops you can be very comforting and healing.
7) Create or purchase a tape with an Inner Child visualization or meditation. There are several on the market (Joan Borysenko has one).
8) When you watch Television or videotaped movies, think about the characters' Child-Adult protections and false beliefs, and how you would dialogue with them as a Loving Adult. I also like to look at comic strips this way.
This list grew out of our support-group discussions as we talked about ways to support ourselves and our process in-between meetings. Anything you can do to reinforce your conscious understanding of the interplay of Inner Child, Child-Adult, and Loving Adult will help you along your journey toward wholeness.
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Attend to the difference between love and approval. Approval comes and goes, while love is constant. We can manipulate approval by doing things "right" but love from others is always a free gift that is beyond our control. We convinced ourselves that we can have control over getting love, but are you sure this is true?
By Dr. Margaret Paul