How to love, nurture and protect your inner child.
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I wrote this fable (with lots of help from fellow facilitators and their inner protector characters in Australia and the USA - (my thanks to you all) as an alternative way of explaining some of the key elements of inner self, inner child and growing awareness work and I find it useful when introducing the work to newcomers. Please feel free to copy it.
If you are familiar with inner self work you will recognise many of the key elements in the fable, including Hal and Sidra Stones description of the inner selves as players in an orchestra, and the grown-up self as conductor.
You may be less familiar with the idea of a two separate figures, an inner mother and an inner father as assistants to the grown-up, each looking after different aspects of the unparented vulnerability felt by the selves and the inner child.
Connecting to a separate inner mother and inner father rather than just one inner parent is becoming a cornerstone of inner self work here in Australia. Many other voice dialogue practitioners have since added to the development of the induction process for creating separate parent protector characters.
Even people like myself with ten year's experience with our inner child/inner protector characters have experienced profound and positive changes in our lives since we connected to these two different parts the inner mother and the inner father. (see separate pages for outline of induction process)
An Orchestral Fable
Once upon a time there was a magical and very natural child, named Naturala who discovered quite early in life that she had a special musical gift. She would spend hours enjoying just being who she was and feeling natural about being special and lovable, while she played her own little toy flute and made the kind of music she enjoyed most.
But some grown-ups around her wanted her to do things differently. They didn’t like her being so sure of herself and so independent about her music. "You must change", they told her "if you want to fit into this family. Try to be more like us. And stop playing that noisy little flute, it’s not a real musical instrument. You should learn to play proper music like Mozart and Beethoven." For the first time in her life, Naturala felt ashamed about being who she was and the things she most liked doing.
Naturala started to change, because she wanted to fit in and be accepted by her grown-ups and to feel more loved and appreciated. She was sad about having to stop being who she really was and instead become the kind of person they wanted her to be but she felt sure things would get better and her family would approve of her if she could just learn to play Mozart and Beethoven.
If she could play in a real symphony orchestra when she grew up, that might help too.
So she packed her little toy flute in a box and buried it in a secret spot in the garden and started learning to play ‘proper’ musical instruments.
Each one seemed a little harder, and none of them were as much fun as her toy flute, but she was getting lots of praise from the grown-ups about how her music had ‘improved’. She also felt more loved and appreciated although something deep inside her told her that the love she was getting was only conditional.
Some days when she was feeling sad and alone, she would cry for a long time, without really knowing why, except that she felt a deep sense of hidden pain and loss, combined with a longing for her old toy flute and for parents who would love her just the way she had been before.
Those were the times she felt that if she could only play her old flute even now and then, she would feel better. But she couldn’t find where it was buried. For a long time, playing it just one more time seemed very important but though she cried and cried and tried and tried she couldn’t find it.
However, as she grew up, she sensed that finding her flute was no longer as important, since no one wanted to hear her play it anyway. And although she knew the flute was still buried somewhere in the garden, it was becoming more and more difficult to remember what it looked like.
The adapted inner protector characters
However, her ability as a multi talented musician kept growing and one day she heard about an orchestra that was looking for skilled instrumentalists. The group began originally with just three people but kept growing as more players joined. By the time Naturala heard about it there were more than thirty members.
Naturala was intrigued to find that many of the orchestra members looked like her and several of them even said their names were the same as hers, but each one played a different musical instrument. Most were quite young.
And there was so much competition between them about who was the best. Each player regarded him or her self as a specialist, and felt that playing ‘their’ instrument was their responsibility alone. When any of them felt vulnerable they would try to play louder than everyone else trying to show how good they were or get more attention. This often led to fights and arguments.
Naturala also noticed that in this orchestra the players had to do everything for themselves. There was no conductor, no one to help set up the stage or get lunch for them or comfort people when they were nervous.
Then one wonderful day a conductor arrived to help sort things out. He was young but already quite experienced and he seemed confident in his ability to take charge and lead the orchestra.
The first time he stood in front of the whole orchestra, Naturala noticed there was a different atmosphere on stage. Somehow she felt more at ease. She liked the conductor and she had a funny feeling that he was the kind of person who might even let her play her old toy flute in the orchestra. His name was Meister Moreaware.
Quite soon things began to work more smoothly. Meister Moreaware pacified the most competitive of the musicians and showed them how much better their music sounded when everyone calmed down and played together as a team.
But the most exciting change was when he introduced the players to two new team members. Neither of them were musicians but Meister Moreaware had arranged for each of them do some very special jobs.
The first person was the orchestra’s new ‘father’. He was kind and loving but quite firm when it came to setting standards which he called ‘boundaries and limits.’ He looked after all sorts of external things for the orchestra like the lighting, shifting the heavy piano and keeping the audience quiet when the orchestra was playing.
He also provided protection from an old ex-player called Matriarch who used to hang around backstage and try to undermine the player’s self confidence.
And then there was the orchestra’s own ‘mother’ whose job was to look after all sorts of personal things like finding soft cushions for people to sit on, comforting nervous players and calming everyone down before a concert.
She was a kind, loving and nurturing mother, but with a strong maternal energy, strong enough, even, to protect people from a couple of troublesome musicians, Patriarch and Critic or anyone else who tried to destabilise things in the orchestra.
Embracing the selves
One of the interesting things about Meister Moreaware, was that although he didn’t play any instrument himself, his presence on the podium encouraged everyone to play their best, especially Naturala.
He seemed to be able to keep his eye on what every player was doing, encourage them all and support each person to help them play better than ever before. He loved to go round after a concert, embracing each member of the orchestra and complementing them on their performance.
And yes, one day Naturala went home, found her old toy flute and showed it to Meister Moreaware. He promised her he would find a piece of music where it would be just right.
And so it happened, with the help of Meister Moreaware and the orchestra’s inner mother and father, that one special day Naturala played her little toy flute in a full symphony concert.
The piece was, of course, from Mozart’s best loved work, ‘The Magic Flute’.
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Signed John Bligh Nutting 14 July 2007
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org However, I would appreciate acknowledgment of my name on each copy, as the originator of the work, and ask you to mention my website
and my book "Growing Awareness"
An Orchestral Fable
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