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Life throws up around us these temptations, these distractions, and the problem is to find the immovable center within. - Joseph Campbell

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Your Inner Child in Winter

As Winter Solstice arrives, so too do the celebrations of the “Returning Light” — Christmas and Chanukah: Christmas celebrating the ancient anniversary of the birth of “a Light unto the World,” and Chanukah, a “Festival of Lights” celebrating freedom, and the inspiration offered by a small lamp, with only enough oil to fuel it for one day, that burned steadily for eight.

During this darkest time of year, the dearth of light kindles a yearning for its comfort and clarity in the days ahead — a desire destined to be fulfilled as the days gradually lengthen, and the sun’s warmth steadily increases. But for now, Winter makes us wrap around ourselves metaphors to re-mind that, when the festivals are finished, the pulse of Life still beats strongly beneath the surface, preparing for the ‘birth’ of Spring.

“What did you do as a child that created timelessness, that made you forget time? Therein lays your myth to live by.”
– Joseph Campbell

This seasonal symbolism of ‘Birth” — Jesus in the Manger, a Reconsecrated Temple in Jerusalem, the New Year Baby — got me thinking about the contemporary myth of the “Inner Child,” and the practical possibilities it offers for day-to-day spiritual renewal in this new year — and those to come.

Recognizing Your Inner Child
It’s easy to see how much more ‘open’ people tend to be towards each other during the Winter Solstice Holiday season. It’s a time when it feels comfortable to sing out a “Happy Holidays!” “Merry Christmas!” “Happy New Year!” — and not even wait around for the recipient of your good cheer to respond with their own — “And a Happy-Merry Everything to You Too!” While sometime in January, after the Tree, Menorah, and other Ornaments have been removed, you may not feel so inspirited, and where an unrequited “Happy Holidays” was acceptable before New Year’s Day, an unacknowledged “How are you?” in the middle of January can set a slew of negative neurons in motion.

Why? Because the ‘holidays’ remind, almost require us to feel the Spirit (another way of saying “Inner Child”), and afterwards, each of us is pretty much on our own for the rest of the year.

The Problem and Solution
The problem is, to feel the joy and hope that are the hallmarks of the Winter Holidays, throughout the year, you have to be open to every season’s suggestiveness, and be ready, able, and willing to feel “good” (another way of saying “Inner Child”) at any time. In other words: to take the risks associated with acting and living with the “Heart of a Child.”

Which raises a vital question: “How can I expose my vulnerable “Inner Child” once I get back into the ‘dog-eat-dog’ post-holiday hustle, where too many people would exploit that “child” if they got just a glimpse of it ‘across the negotiating table,’ or ‘chasing a seat on the subway’, or ... ‘fill in your fear.’

That’s a good question, and my old educational psychology professor said: “If you can ask an intelligent question, you’re more than halfway to the answer”; and the answer is: “You have to learn how to protect your “Inner Child.”

To be continued ...

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.