************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Friday, March 18, 2011

Imaginal Nurturing - A Whole Other Kind of Inner Child Work

About a month ago, an intense inner struggle began. It was not really something new, but it was the beginning of the emergence of a new part of me. As always, when a new part begins to show up in my life it’s overwhelming and very unsettling. This particular part is still quite hidden,and there is some confusion about her age. There is another part that blocks her and keeps her from being seen and heard… and held.

The “held” piece was the most distressing to me. I didn’t understand why I had this intense feeling of wanting to be held and rocked like a small child. It was a seven-year-old part that first expressed this need but I think she was really reacting to a much younger part - the one who sits alone in a dark corner of my mind. I've come to know this lonely one as "The Rag Doll". 

At first, I had to get myself past some pretty strong blocks to even want to reach the Rag Doll. It’s been hard work and frustration has been the key emotion inside as this blocking part continues to build walls around the one in the corner.

I will likely have to write about this again later. It’s still so confusing in my mind that I really haven’t wanted to try to write about it very much. There are a thousand facets to this, it seems, and it turns over and over in my mind so fast that it makes me feel dizzy when I look too long. Trying to see this piece of me reminds me of spinning round and round when I was very young. After a while all I could see was a pattern of light then dark then light then dark and finally I would fall to the floor in complete confusion as to which way was up.  

Despite the fact that the Rag Doll still sits in the corner, alone, I have made some progress. At least I’m beginning to understand why I have not allowed myself to look in this corner. 

The one who guards her screams that this Rag Doll is not a real part at all. "It’s only a doll, only a dirty old rag doll, one nobody wanted anyway. Don’t even look at her,” she says, “she isn’t real!”

I’ve come to understand that the reason this part does not want me to see the “rag doll” as real is because of my mother’s amazing ability to turn a blind eye to what was going on in our house. If I acknowledge that this part is real, not just a dirty rag doll to be used and tossed in a corner, then I have to also acknowledge that my mother should have known, should have seen, should have been there for me. I can’t see this part as real because my mother didn’t see her as real. If I know then it seems she should have known too… so I can’t know.

Someone to whom I was confiding some of this suggested  a CD by a Canadian therapist named April Steele. The process she uses she calls, Imaginal Nurturing. The CD is called, “I’m So Glad You’re Here”. To read about it on her website, CLICK HERE.

My own take on it is that it is guided meditation which may lead me to self-acceptance and self-love by going all the way back to the baby I  was before life began to tell me who to be.

I ordered the CD but I wasn’t sure what to expect. This morning, I listened to it for the first time, and it was really a pretty powerful experience.

I know that I am easily drawn into hypnotic states and that I fall very deeply into meditation. Even so, I didn’t feel completely as if I was inside the first of the two guided meditations on the CD. I listened to it and focused on it and it was very gentle and relaxing to listen to, but it didn’t really bring me to the place inside that I sometimes can get to.

A short time into the second meditation, I had that floating feeling, almost as if I was dreaming. All my senses seemed awake and I was right there, in the safe place I created in my mind. A strong, calming sensation has stayed with me all day.

This is how I often feel when I walk out of my therapist's office after a DNMS session. It’s as if the part of my brain that is usually awake is in the background and other parts that I am not always aware of have moved to the front of the stage. However, it's different than a switch which comes on due to stress because while more than one "side of me" seems to be awake and aware, they are not vying for attention.

That’s about as close as I can come to describing it.

Right after I did the meditation, I felt a strong urge to pull out my markers and draw. I did this for a while, but I couldn’t seem to get the swirling images from my mind to the page. Nothing coherent would appear. I scrapped that drawing but I couldn't get over the feeling that I needed to create something to hang on to the changes that seemed to be going on inside me. I was not ready to write about it, so I perused images online until I found some that seemed to call to me. In photoshop I combined these images and then drew over them to create the image below.

I call it, “Connections” which is the first word that came to me when I had finished it.

I intend to listen to the CD every day for while because I expect that it may have a cumulative affect on me. I also ordered her second CD, "Adventuring Spirit." I believe the second one moves past the infant stage which the first CD focuses on and it also incorporates bilateral stimulation, which I expect will be much like that which C uses when we do EMDR or DNMS.

I've been looking for something like this for a while - something I can safely use between sessions to keep me feeling focussed and connected. I have so much hope for this CD but as C told me (when I said that to her a few days ago),

"As to the CD, it is not THE answer. Nothing is. It may give you some relief, bu it could also be misused as a way to hide out."

So, I'm very conscious of that. I am going to keep listening to it and keep in close contact with C (as always) and see where it takes me. She has told me she is willing to work with me, with the CD, so if that may be where this goes next.


  1. This part of your journey sounds powerful and exciting, yet a bit scary. I'm glad that you found comfort in the CD. We all need something like that as long as we don't get stuck there. Take care of youself.


  2. Thanks CC

    Yes - I don't want to get stuck there. I'm being careful. I've been out all day and am running out again soon, but I do want to make time for the CD today. I think I need to do it for a while.

    The second one came in the mail today, as well. I will not listen to that one for a little while - not sure how long.

  3. I tend to agree with Clueless.

    Then again, I probably should NOT comment, other than to leave you a smiley face, so you know I'm here...I have absolutely no experience of what you're going through, so please disregard anything I 'offer' that might be out of line. Here goes...

    My instinct would be to suggest you throw yourself into your present, your now, the life you have created for yourself, surrounded by your children and your husband...you love them and they love you and together you have created a safe, loving home, far removed from your own childhood experiences.

    I would suggest that if you put your focus on the now, the past would perhaps begin to lose its power over you??? I'm suggesting you block your past, but just that you allow it a great deal less time in your present...as, does dwelling on it and trying to unravel every single aspect, not in a way rob you of your present? Has your past not already robbed you of enough???

    As I say, I have NO EXPERIENCE of this, Shen...I can only view it from my own life experience and by trying to IMAGINE what your own experience has been and then somehow trying to meld the two viewpoints to offer a way forward...AGAIN, I know this is NOT my role or function and I have absolutely no right to offer advice/suggest how you might deal with these concerns...but you said, in one of your last posts, that you've been looking to your Mother for over 50 years for something she is incapable of giving you. Trying to unravel it will not change anything?

    Should you not now be concentrating on living the rest of your OWN life, fully, richly!

    A while back, I was tempted to ask if you've ever own a dog? If not, I was tempted to suggest you might want to give it some thought...visit an animal shelter and see if you can find a dog/puppy that 'calls' to you. The mutually beneficial, nurturing relationship available to a dog owner is priceless. A dog's needs are immediate, they love unconditionally and they have the ability to keep your attention very much on the now. They are proven 'healers' in their own instinctual way.

    "There is a time for everything under heaven" :)

  4. OOOPS! Just reread what I'd written...I meant to say...I NOT suggesting you block your past....!

    Next time, I should check what I've typed BEFORE posting my comment ;)

  5. Hi Shen it sounds like you have found a great resource. I hope it really works for you as you get closer to the rag doll part. It must be really hard because of how it is mixed up with your mother.

    It's good to hear that you are getting to know this new part of you.


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