The wind blowing in my hair, sun beating down on my face, leaves crunching under my tyres and not a person to be seen. Well, not for long anyway. This was me riding my bicycle through a park near my home in London. It was the perfect way to avoid waiting for a bus or the tube, when most of the time I could get to my destination through parks or back streets in half the time of public transport.
I have always been one to find the fastest and most straight forward way to something, anything. This instance with my bicycle in London, was a top way to survive. It gave me a new-found freedom. I hated being stuck on a bus, sitting in traffic. It was often easier to get off and just walk!
One early morning riding through the park, I had this sudden urge to stand up on my pedals and weave my way all over the path. Then I started pedalling as fast as I could, still standing, as childhood memories flashed through my mind, laughing and riding as a young girl.
A wise lady I knew, thought this was hilarious, but also brilliant, as I was nurturing my inner child, a little girl who had been forgotten and left behind for many years. I went on to doing this whenever I had the chance.
Years later during therapy when I was learning about self-soothing, this inner-child talk re-surfaced. This was a fairly large turning point for me as up to then I had very little ways to self soothe healthily. She would ask me how I would care for a little girl who was lost, broken and devastatingly sad. My answer was I would hold her, listen to her, and reassure her she was going to be alright because I would make sure she was. My therapist said, ‘well that’s exactly how you can help your inner child’.
I must admit, this felt quite crazy to start with, but once I got my head around it, it actually made sense. I guess it has a lot to do with using your adult brain to sooth your inner child. It helped me identify, and often sooner than usual, when I needed to help myself through a strong feeling. I often felt scared and sad. I used to imagine that I would pull her in close to me, and I would quietly tell her it will be ok, and that I was with her. (I realise for those of you who haven’t experienced a mental illness or psychotherapy, you may be thinking this is SO FAR off the scale, but it worked!) It was SUCH an effective way to take some control over my feelings.
I noticed that the more I cared for that scared and sad part inside of me, the less she needed to be taken care of. It was one of the most transforming techniques I have ever been introduced to.
Since then, I still take moments to completely indulge my inner child. Most of them I do when no one is looking, lol, because I totally get how crazy it makes me seem. But in fact, it’s just me keeping in touch with all parts of me.