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Visualizations for Growing Down

Chapter 13 Visualizations for Growing Down

Growing Down - Tools for

Healing the Inner Child

By: James J. Messina, Ph.D. &

Constance M. Messina, Ph.D.

Visualization #1: The Precious Present

As I calm myself down, I am finding a comfortable place. Perhaps in the woods; near a bubbling creek; on the shore of the ocean; a favorite place where I come to rest to experience my precious moment.


I calm myself down as I sit in my special place. I look into my own heart. I see in my heart an inner peace, an inner me, an inner child. I see that little me with whom I too often forget to get in contact. I look into the eyes of my inner child and I feel relaxed, calm and at peace because I know that inner child is me. I wrap my arms around the inner me to get calm and relaxed as we begin to experience this precious moment. As we sit together in my special place we feel surrounding us an encompassing warmth and caring of my Higher Power. This Power is there for me when I need it to provide the healing graces when I am feeling depressed, alone, forgotten, or abandoned.


I experience this precious present of inner peace with my inner child, my adult me, and my Higher Power. I have let go of the past. I no longer fear the future but only experience this precious, precious present. I begin to inform my inner peace, my inner child, that inner me, of the following:


Accept me as I am. Do not change me. Do not condemn me. Do not put me down. Accept me for what I am. Accept me for I am total in being. I have thoughts, and I have guilt. But this, this is who I am. Perfect? Perfect, no way will I ever be perfect. Perfect, I will never be. Allow me to be uninhibited, to be free to experience life to its fullest. Help me experience this current moment that is special. Allow me to let go of the past and to not fear the future. Do not pressure me into feeling what I do not feel.


Do not put me down nor make me feel unhappy about me. I am special, and I like being what I am. Me.


I like my abilities. I really like all of those good, sincere attributes I am willing to admit to myself. I like the competencies that I have been showing myself and others of late. I like the way I am handling crises in my life. I enjoy the challenge of trying to stay with myself in the precious present. I appreciate the way I am handling all of the tribulations, the pressures, anxiety, and tension in my life. I appreciate that I am trying to help me work on my recovery. I appreciate that I am willing to tell myself these positive things about myself that I have for too long forgotten and not believed.


I thank myself for doing positive self-talk work. As I looked into the mirror this morning, I saw that I had beautiful hair and I loved that hair. And I loved those eyes. Give me the strength and the power to look at me. My eyes look beyond the surface beauty and into the inner beauty of myself and of every moment in which I live.


I love myself for the ears that I possess. They give me a power to listen, to hear, to open my heart to the inner messages that for too long have been locked up inside of my inner me. And I love those ears for what they hear and what they give me the ability to do.


I love my face which is the mirror that I give to the world. I love the face that I show others in a sincere and honest way. I love that face because it is what people first see of me and makes me uniquely me.


I love my neck which connects that wonderful head of mine to the rest of my body. My neck is the channel between my brain and the rest of me. It is that neck which is the strong connecting piece between my mind and my heart. It is an important part of me which I too often ignore. I appreciate it and I will adorn it at times to remind myself of how wonderful it is for me.


I love the central trunk of my body which is the possessor of my heart and of my lungs and of all my vital organs. And I love that it is so complex that I will never understand it fully in my lifetime.


I love my arms that help me reach out to others and bring others to me. My arms give me the ability to hug myself, to let me know that I am real.


I appreciate and love my hands which give me the sensation of feeling the world in which I live.


I love my legs because they give me the mobility to move me into the exciting places of my life. They give me the opportunity to go and to see the rest of the world and to interact with others.


I love my feet because they are the powerful tool that helps me become grounded in my life. They are the tool by which I know I am alive because I feel the earth on which I stand.


I love all of me and all of my body. I promise you that I will spend each day letting you know how much I love you. I will be true and honest to you when I see there is a need to change.


I love you, my inner child, my inner me, my inner consciousness, just for who you are. Not for who I want you to be, because you are my precious present. You make me real. You make me experience the here and now with all of its beauty and strength. I promise you that I will be there for you in the present whenever you need me. And I hope you promise me that you will be there for me when I need you. For I will present you parts of myself slowly and, if you are patient and tender, I will open my feelings that mostly stay closed. I will bring out those places, people, and things, sounds and smells, loves and frustrations, hopes and sadness, that have too long been hidden inside of me. I will share with you, my inner child, my inner me, the secrets of who I am so you can have a better understanding of what it is that I need when I call upon you.


Be there for me as I will be there for you. Be a link with me to our friend, our Higher Power, who embraces us at this precious moment and gives me the strength to talk to you in this loving and caring way. I promise you when I feel ill at ease, when I feel depressed and lost, when I feel hopeless and ready to give up that I will calm my inner spirit. I will have a healing of the heart. I will inform you of your goodness so that we both grow in mutual, unconditional love. We will direct ourselves to be ever present to ourselves in the precious present so that we can get the most out of our life and not lose it in the hurt of the past or in the fears of the future.


Inner child, you may have felt lonely, abandoned and forgotten at times. From now on you need to know that I will always try to be there for you. From now on when I feel lonely, abandoned, isolated and forgotten, the thought of you being there in my heart will heal me. Together when we feel alone, forgotten and abandoned we can jointly remind each other that there is a power greater than us that is always there for us if we search deeply into our hearts for it to help us heal.


I promise you, my inner child, that I am ready to take risks. I am ready to trust you and myself so that the two of us can feel more secure in the precious present. By being vulnerable to one another, we will be able to grow in mutual love and acceptance. There is no need for either of us to feel alone or abandoned in the future for we will nurture one another. This I promise you this day.


As I have calmed myself, healed my spirit and informed myself of positive self-talk, I have grown in love for myself in an unconditional way. I direct myself to be my own source of strength and hope for the struggles that become overwhelming as I face each day. I make a commitment to that inner child that I am holding and to the adult that the Higher Power is holding that we will work on reconnecting on a regular basis with our Higher Power for the spiritual strength we need in our recovery process.


I relax myself and begin to prepare myself to return to the real world. I begin to prepare myself to enter again that precious present of the real world where my inner child is never seen and where my Higher Power is often forgotten. I prepare for this real world, however, with a response of hope and inner healing that I can make it because I believe in myself.


I begin to say: I am capable. I am loveable. I believe in me. Ever growing in me. Self-accepting me. Taking risks with me. Forgiving me. And respecting me. Willing to share interesting and fun times alone. Expecting goodness only from me. While nurturing me with unconditional love from me. And I acknowledge my visibility to myself. I let go and heal as I become my own best friend. I grow in friendship with my inner child, and the two of us can be best friends.


So I begin to take leave now. Say good-bye to my inner child for the moment as I let go of the embrace of my Higher Power and return from the comfortable place. I begin to prepare myself for re-entry into my everyday world.


In counting backwards from Five: I begin to say to myself no more criticism. No more condemnation. Four: Less hostility, less fighting. Three: Less ridiculing and less shyness. Two: Less shame and less guilt. One: More tolerance and patience for myself. As I experience the precious present now and forever.


Note: For help in forming this visualization read: The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson. New York, Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1984.


Visualization #2: Tonia, the Tree

I calm myself down, leaving behind for a while some of my depression and sense of loss. I move forward with my life letting go of the hopelessness and abandonment that I feel. I find myself walking on a wooded path up a hill. Soon I am resting under a very large tree, Tonia by name. As I sit under this beautiful tree I welcome a little child who is walking my way. As the child approaches me, I open my arms and I let that child get into my lap. I cradle that child so that that child's spirit can be healed from its sense of depression, loss, hopelessness, and abandonment.


The child is quite concerned today because it has found out that it must change, it must grow. The child is quite scared of the risks that are involved in this change. The child is convinced that once the changes are made it will all be for naught. The child will be alone, abandoned and forgotten. Again as I cradle my child in my arms under Tonia, I sense a hovering spirit that has Tonia, me and my inner child wrapped in a big cradle that is spiritual strength. It is my Higher Power who I know is there to help me through this change. This Power will help me gain the serenity to accept the unchangeables and uncontrollables in my life which is a change for me.


As I sit there under the shade of Tonia, I begin to tell my inner child that growth comes only from within, not from what I do on the surface but from how I feel about myself. Growth comes from emotional recognition of what is healthy for me. Growth is not in the actions that I take but in the feelings about what is real in my life. I grow from the inside out. It is OK to allow myself to make these changes so that I can grow. I may have relied upon others for support, to be listened to, to hear those feelings, to hear my story told. I may have relied upon a doctor, a counselor, or therapy, counseling or a group to help lead me to recognize those issues which I must change in order to grow. Just as birds fly away when winter comes leaving Tonia alone, so too will my support someday leave me alone. Not as a weakling, not to forget me, not so that I am lost, but they will leave me alone in my strength from my inner growth. I tell my inner child: it's OK to someday grow stronger and to stand alone. It's OK to leave the nest as the birds have to, to fly on my own because it is only in flying alone that one grows. The risks involved are great but I know I will be no worse off than what I am currently experiencing. It's OK. I can face the risks because the outcome is certainly going to be better than what I am currently experiencing.


I give excuses. Maybe it's just a change in my job. Maybe I just need a different house. I'm sure a new car would make me feel better. Maybe if only my kids would leave. I'm sure I would grow much better in a different group with new friends, with new faces in my life. But those are just excuses keeping me from allowing myself to grow from within. Because at some point I must face that I must rely solely on myself. You and I, my inner child, will grow and get stronger, and be able to fly on our own. It is OK to change. Change can become a tradition in my life as well. New goals can be pursued and my dreams can be brought to fruition. Change is what will help me grow. It makes for a life of excitement, fun, and relaxation, but it also makes for a life of enjoyment. It makes life worth pursuing.


How could anyone fail to love me? Me and my inner child who is so brave, so smart and so creative. I can be an inspiration to myself to continue to change and grow so that I can find new patterns by which I can live in my life so that my labors, my work, effort, and energies that I put into recovery can grow into competent shoots of strength. The fruits of my labor will be personal growth and I deserve it. I will be with you for the rest of my life, my inner child. Together we can accomplish anything. There is no crisis too great that we can't handle. There is no challenge or tribulation that we can't face. There is no pressure, anxiety, or tension that we can't relax. We can do it. We are capable people. We will do it. We will grow in self-deservedness and self-confidence. Through change and inner growth we will become our visible best friend believing in ourselves, ever growing, self-accepting, and taking those risks to grow and change from within. And how will we do that? Self-forgiveness, self-respect, and allowing ourselves to have interesting and fun and relaxing times. By recognizing, expecting goodness from within me, I will blossom and show the change like colors change on Tonia's leaves. Through self-nurturing and giving myself unconditional love with no boundaries and no limitations, I will grow from within. I will acknowledge that I exist. I will be visible. We will begin to take the risk to let go of those uncontrollables and those unchangeable things in my life so that I can heal from within, to become my own best friend.


As I continue to cradle my inner child and feel myself cradled in the arms of my Higher Power, I recognize that I have become an instrument of inner peace. I recognize there is no hatred too great that I cannot show love. That there is no injury too great that I cannot pardon. By holding close to my inner child and my Higher Power I recognize that there is no doubt that my faith in myself cannot overcome. I recognize that there is no despair that I experience that I cannot replace with hope. For the darkness I experience in my loneliness, abandonment and sense of being forgotten, I can shed light. When I experience sadness I know I can replace it with joy. My inner child, I will console you as you console me. I will understand you and you will understand me. I will love you and you will love me. It is in giving to you, my inner child, that I will receive. It is in pardoning myself for my past faults and failings that I will be pardoned. It is in embracing you, my inner child, that I will gain that inner strength to grow from within because my growth from within comes from making you a stronger more visible part of my life. I deserve that. I deserve you to be present in me. And I love you.


I love you for your little impish ways. I love you for your naivete and your lack of concern for the future. I love you for your risk taking. I love you for your belief that anything is possible. I love you because you are. And I love you because you deserve to be loved. In loving you I am taking that risk to allow myself to grow from within. By working at making you ever visible to me in my life I am taking that risk for others to see the changes in me.


You and I, inner child, need more strength than we can give one another. For that reason, we accept that we can't do it alone without a Higher Power present to us. This is a risk for us because we are not sure there is even a Higher Power. We feel it at times and other times we don't. We are going to give it all that we have and say, I believe there is a Higher Power for us. I embrace that Higher Power so that my spirituality will grow in the belief that there is strength that comes from uniting with others in a common belief in a common way. That strength and help comes from a common unified voice. A voice asking for support and guidance in our lives.


You know, inner child, change is inevitable. I must change. There is no way I can avoid it. But from that change comes possibility. And the possibility will be more than what I currently am and what I was in the past. There is a possibility for me to be present to myself and to others in my life. I will allow my dreams and hopes to prosper. So I promise you today, my inner child, that I will begin to celebrate the need for change in my life and not commiserate it. I will celebrate the challenge of inner growth and we will celebrate the inner healing that comes from such a journey of faith.


We know the answer. Prayer plus positive thinking leads to creative change. God always answers prayers. When the idea is not right He says: No: When the timing is not right He says: Slow: When I am not ready He says: Grow: When all is in order He says: Go: And go I will now. Back to my everyday life prepared to continue to look at challenges, tribulations, and problems, much more prepared to deal with change with a can do attitude. I believe I need to let go of what I have too long tried to hold on to and control in my life. I am open to accept that I am a human being and not perfect. I have the possibility to grow even if I am not perfect. So I say good-bye to my inner child as I uncradle my child from my arms. As the child walks off, I say good-bye for now, but it won't be long forgotten and I will stay in touch.


And as I say good-bye to my inner child, I accept that I will change, that there are risks involved in changing, but it is worth the risk. So I say good-bye and I prepare myself to come back from that lovely setting underneath the tree called Tonia. And as we move away from the tree I count backwards from Five: saying: Hey, look at me. I am proud of me. My perception of myself is strong as it can be. I have begun to choose positive actions for my body, mind and heart. And if I do get down and out, I know where to start. I will work hard on my gifts and I will tell myself the truth. I will treat myself with actions fair and true. Because when I treat myself positively everyday, then I will learn how to love me. Four: I walk further away from my child and the tree ready to look at the impact of change in my life. Three: accepting support from others and willing to take those actions I need to change knowing that someday I will only have myself to rely on as I change. Two: ready to take that risk to share how change frightens me at times. And One: prepared to be open and honest in my communications with others about how I react to change.



Note: For help in forming this visualization, read: Tonia, the Tree by Sandy Stryber. Santa Barbara, California, Advocacy Press, 1988.