I’ve spent time this week, mentally revisiting my childhood. It’s not been a nostalgic time filled with happy memories. My childhood definitely contains those, but my purpose was more specific. There is a little four year old girl back there, that I have promised to help. Rescue was actually the word that originally came to mind, but that seems too dramatic, even if it is closer to the truth.
Vows are solemn promises to do something. There is a seriousness involved, a pledge or commitment to complete a promise made. The word vow comes from the Latin word vovere “to make a wish”. Vovere is the same root word that gives us the word vote. Bringing that info together, a vow is a vote we cast as we weigh in on a solemn decision.
Vows are powerful, which is why a couple exchanges them during a wedding ceremony. They are choosing or “voting” to make a commitment to each other.
Childhood vows are extremely powerful. They are made with a sincere heart that may be moving from innocence to greater awareness, whether that perception is skewed or not. I’ve found in my own life that a vow made in childhood is nearly impossible to break. I know. I made one.
When I was four years old, I fiercely made a vow: I will not cry…ever again. I know what precipitated that vote against emotion. It doesn’t matter. What did matter was that I took that vow so seriously that I shut down the ability to cry. By the time I was an adult, I couldn’t cry if I wanted to. My body fought against it energetically, creating a closing off of my throat and a constriction in my chest. It became physically painful to experience strong negative emotions.
So I learned to avoid situations that might prompt a need to cry.
Not a healthy emotional state to live in, but that vow has been honored for a lifetime.
I’ve learned more about my four year old self, as I have spent time with her, mentally visiting her and observing her. Fear overshadowed her life but she didn’t share those fears with others as she grew older. She was gutsy and artistic and loved animals and playing outside. She climbed and leaped and took risks, resulting in some broken bones. And she apparently liked to run around without a shirt on in the summertime, as evidenced by the photos above.
I made another vow, recently, to “go get” my young self and be present with her and love on her. My ultimate hope is to simply accept her and in allowing her to be who she is, help her to free herself from the vow she made. Bringing back the emotions that she voted off the island would be beneficial to both of us.
This is the exercise I have been doing, and I warn you, it may seem very strange. This is something I came up with myself, not a technique I learned in a book or via another person.
I visualize being with my four year old self. I hold her, her sturdy little back resting against my chest as I wrap my arms around her. I surround us both with love and Divine Light. Together we revisit the things that frightened her or caused her pain and experience them together. When emotions arise, and they do, I can feel little Cindy shutting down, reigning in her desire to cry or wail or scream. I become her voice. I can’t sob or shed tears either, but I can throw back my head and cry out, for her…for me.
It sounds bizarre, and sharing these words makes my chest hurt and heat move through my body. But that just means old, old energy is stirring and that’s what I’m after…the release of deeply buried emotion, and the courage and power to break a very strong vow.
Is it working? Yeah. It’s a tender process, a slow process and one that involves trust and love and a willingness to go after that stubborn little kid. I would gladly do this work with one of my grandchildren, if there was a deep hurt that I could help heal. I am just as compassionate about healing this child. Whether I ever completely unlock my emotions or not, it is vital that I lovingly help her to see that she does not have to be afraid. She does not have to turn off her tears and barricade her emotions. She does not have to keep that vow.
She needs me. She is me and I am her. She needs to feel safe and heard. Together we can break the need for that vow.