Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Spiritual Healer

Children seem to have a way of making us face some of our own unresolved fears or issues that we have with ourselves and our childhood. I also believe that these are the roots to many of our problems in adulthood. My son was my spiritual healer today. He brought up his fears and mine and made me revisit some of the events in my life that I have not been able to get over till this day.

Raghav loves the water and enjoys swimming. I like water to an extent - I love watching water flow and putting my feet in gently flowing water.....but am scared to get into a pool or venture into the waves in the sea. Perhaps it is the depth that gets to me! It took me many years to get myself to get back to standing on the beach and allowing the waves to caress my toes. It happened over many years and I am thankful that I have become ok with it now....but a large wave would still have me running back to the shore almost like a reflex action! The story behind my fear goes back to an incident in my childhood when I was forced to get in to the sea by my well-meaning cousin, and that has probably left a deep scar....

Raghav brought me back to reality by talking about how he wanted to ask his dear friend to go swimming with him one day and was talking about how much fun it would be. I guess he wanted me to be a part of it too, but realised that I would never get into the pool. And so he spent the next few minutes trying to convince me about what a beautiful experience swimming is and how I should not be scared; that I should feel like I am just floating in nice cool water and so on. But my fear stopped me from buying the idea.

Realising that I was holding on to my fear of the water or drowning, he came up with solutions of wearing a life jacket and so on and then finally changed his strategy and asked me point blank - "So amma, you are very scared of the water aren't you? When did you start feeling scared of the water and why?" I recalled the vague incident and shared that with him, but could not go much further. And then I realised how these fears or feelings or memories get stored in your brain.....I could not remember exactly when and why but had a vague memory that's all. However, even that vague faint memory of a fear or an event that triggered that feeling in me was an all-encompassing one! And I realised that only today.

The other thing I realised about myself while I was talking about all this was that I was not so comfortable with my body. Perhaps that was why I did not like swimming too - the idea of wearing a swimsuit to get in.....and others seeing me.......was I scared or ashamed or uncomfortable? Maybe it was all of these or one, but I don't know yet. However, I was relieved and happy that he got me to speak about it candidly. This was the same strategy I used with him!.......I realise that most often than not, just giving a child the space to open up and talk about a problem or what he/she is feeling, without being judgemental or giving advice, gets him/her to think about a solution to the problem.

Then he went on to talk about his fear of darkness. The first thing that came to my mind when he started this topic was how we have learnt to adjust to so many things with him - an adjustment that came after understanding - and what a long way he has actually come with this fear of his......Earlier he used to be terrorised with a baby, he would cry if he was left in a dimly lit room or a darkened a toddler and later, he would scream when the power went off and we were not holding him....even at home, he would not step into a room where there was no light...when we found out about this, we started keeping a tubelight on in our room the whole night and he slowly started to overcome this fear. Today he asks for a torch and carries it with him to a dark room that he wants to go into....he is more comfortable to walk or play games in the dark....and we now sleep with a dim light in the room at night! (that is a HUGE step for me as it makes it easier for me to get some better sleep too!) But this has taken time....time that one cannot define or predict or work towards like a professional would perhaps, if a parent brought this up as an issue. It takes as much time as needed for the scar to heal on its own without interference or hurrying up from the outside. It is something that has to be lived with, talked about and acknowledged openly, everytime it comes up, without shame and that I feel is the crux for the healing to happen. Today he  may be more willing to travel to places where the power supply may be erratic at night. That is another huge step for us, as earlier we had to think a lot about the kind of place we had to stay in when we were travelling, and even remember to pack a torch or emergency light!

My thought train came to a screeching halt when Raghav suddenly turned around and said that he had actually been scared of darkness from soon after he was born. "But you were born at 12 noon which is midday!", I said. He replied promptly: "Yes, maybe amma, but I remember that when I was carried from that room outside, I turned my head and saw another room that was very dark. I was scared then and from that time I have been scared of darkness. But how come I was not scared when I was inside you, but only when I came out? Even though it must have been very dark inside your 'thoppai' ( 'stomach' in Tamil)!" I had no answers. I had no explanations for all this, not even for his memory of these events. I was amazed at the clarity with which he could recollect these things.....surely, they couldn't be just figmentots of imagination?! I guess I don't need to have explanations for all this. He had perhaps already started finding the answers himself.

But what I know today and believe is that he will soon be a changed person, because he has been able to pinpoint his fears and articulate them so clearly to someone. I recently read an article that someone had written about meditating on one's inner child and being able to awaken all the feelings of being in the womb and so on. I had tried to do it a couple of times, but could not get on with recalling anything! And here was a   6 year old, doing it with such ease! He was actually healing both his mother and himself!


  1. this was a beautiful post Priya. Really helped me think about how to give my child (and self) space to share authentically.

  2. Read some of the posts..but not all. This one I liked very much. To write like this is actually self healing and Dola


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