I found her in the closet. Wedged back into the corner, knees pulled against her chest, she hid her eyes behind small hands. Hoping, perhaps, that I would not see her if she could not see me. It was an old closet–dusty and filled with long forgotten things stored for long forgotten reasons.
There she was.
I clambered over and around boxes to get to her. I squeezed into the small space beside her and gathered her into my arms, holding her head close to my beating heart. “I found you,” I whispered.
“I think my heart is broken,” she mumbled into my sweater, “It hurts.”
I rocked her gently. “It’s ok,” I soothed, “I found you. I’m here. It’s ok.”
For a timeless long time, we sat together rocking. Then, she turned her big, sad eyes to mine, “Am I safe now?”
And I answered, “We’ll stay here–together–until you know you are.”
Where does your vulnerable, small self hide? Have you searched yet? It may take some time to find him or her–hiding is their mastery. But you can if you are committed to looking. Follow the patterns of pain. Follow the voice that repeats a story in your mind that always feels like a personal hurt. Look in the hidden places of your psyche–the spaces avoided and left to collect neglect.
And when you get there–when you find this hurting, broken little self–feel. Feel the pain in him or her that’s been that constant toothache in your soul for as long as you can recall. Remember all the times you chose to not listen–or to blame someone else in your life for the painful experience. It’s always been this little one, this being who is part of All You Are. When you find this hurting self who is you, can you also find compassion? Can you abide in love with the all the feelings, whatever they are? Can you welcome this one home?
I found mine, and she has a broken heart. She’s not sure the world is a safe place, and she’s not yet convinced that I will keep her safe if she comes out of her closet. So I sit with her. I hold her. And I remember with compassion all the times her broken heart showed up in my life and impacted my choices. She taught me well how to keep people and circumstances at a distance to prevent more damage…yet, somehow, my heart broke again and again. Because hidden in my closet is a very, small vulnerable self whose heart was broken a long time ago.
Someday–soon, I hope–she and I will venture from the closet into the room to play. I will leave the closet door open for her in case she feels the need to hide again, but I will stay with her while she does from now on. And, eventually, we’ll adventure life together–always together.
When you find your vulnerable, hidden self… shall we have a play-date?
Thank you. I love you.