Somewhere in your past, someone broke your trust.
There might be many times that your trust has been broken since then, but there is a first time. It might have been a childhood best friend spilling your secrets to another. It might have been a parent telling you that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. It might have been a sibling locking you in the closet when they knew you were afraid.
Sadly, for many of us, it might have even come in the form of physical or emotional abuse.
Somewhere, someone broke that sacred covenant of innocence.
But guess what? They don’t get to keep it.
You can claim it back. Right here, right now.
Winter is the perfect time to focus on rebuilding trust, on nourishing that wounded inner child that desperately wants to believe in the goodness of the world.
When everything is stripped away, what do we rely on? It is a time of year to get in touch with our inner resources of strength, but also of trust—trust that Spring will come and that we will be okay.
No matter what you celebrate at this time of year, hopefully, you are able to slow down wherever you are and feel the energy of this precious winter season. Can you feel how the darkness also marks the return to light? How, as the trees become bare and snow may fall, there is a precious innocent stillness to the world, and also to your heart?
The winter is ruled by the water element in Chinese Medicine and the water element, when balanced, is about trust. When unbalanced, it moves quickly into a fight-or-flight response. The wisdom in slowing down is that in doing so we nourish our adrenals. There is a part of us that wants to be moving constantly, that wants to distract with busy to-do lists, and the holidays can be the perfect excuse to keep on that wheel. But if we were to do so we would miss such an opportunity. For it is only when we slow down that we really get in touch with what’s inside.
And often, there is some sadness there.
It is so okay to feel down at this time of year. Actually, it’s kind of perfect. It’s what the season wants from us—not to be sad, but to get in touch with whatever is there underneath.
This is part of the medicine journey of trust. We must feel the wounds of the inner child—we must cry her tears and express her rage. With so much tenderness, we must begin to call back the parts of her that were lost or taken.
Because innocence is our birthright.
And honestly, f*ck anyone who tried to take it from you.
In addition to our own internal strategies of avoiding inner child work, our society keeps us in check.
We live in a culture that keeps feeding our wounded child. Not with love and trust, not with feelings of comfort and joy, but with more and more reasons to stay fearful. We will live in a society where that wound gets justified. Don’t trust others, don’t trust someone with your money, don’t trust nature, don’t trust strangers, don’t even trust your body.
A society built on scientific rationalism might be able to achieve great things outwardly, but inwardly, it will lack the depth needed to see us through the inevitable ups and downs of life. No one and nothing can keep us safe forever. Our trust will be challenged again and again until we learn to trust ourselves.
Because you see, when we do our inner child work, when we lovingly tend to those wounds, stitching them up with our mindfulness and care, we literally shift our framework of reality.
If we’re operating from the wound, we will recreate it over and over. We do this so that we’ll wake up. This way is an option. We can keep creating pain for ourselves and hope that eventually, we might see it. But I’m here to tell you there’s definitely another way. And if we’re all getting to the same place anyway—calling each other home as Ram Dass used to say: “Why don’t we do it in a way that creates less suffering.”
Because if we don’t do this work, we might lose faith in the world. We might become nihilistic or depressed, thinking that nothing good could ever happen to us. We might scoff at the word miracles. We might never let ourselves believe again in fairy tales.
But this would be such a shame. This would be a life only half lived.
So this winter, I offer you a four-step ritual of rebuilding trust:
Here’s what you’ll need:
A bowl of water
A candle and matches
A quiet place outside
A blanket or towel to kneel on
Step 1: Find a sacred place.
Find a place in nature that speaks to you. It could be somewhere you frequent often, or it might be a place you recently discovered. It doesn’t have to be majestic. It could be right in your backyard. But make sure it’s private, and most importantly, make sure you feel safe and good there.
Spend a moment getting grounded. Connect with your feet. Feel the inherent trust you have in the Earth to support you here.
Step 2: Meditate on openness.
Spend a few moments clearing your mind. There are many ways to do this but one of my favourites is using my senses. Open your ears. What sounds do you hear in this space? Open your eyes. Can you notice the details of the plants around you? What about the vast, open sky? Open your sense of touch. Feel the warmth of your coat, the coolness of the air against your cheek. Feel your breath entering and exiting your nostrils.
Step 3: Cast a spell.
Now it’s time to connect with the water element. Spend a few moments gazing into your bowl of water. Reflect on water’s ability to be both soft and strong. Reflect on your ability to do the same. Now say aloud to the water:
“I trust in the goodness in my life. I release any bracing my inner child had to do in the past to survive. I’ve got her back now. I can trust and open knowing that wherever I have been, has led me to now. I am alive. I give thanks for the gift of life.”
Offer this water to a plant nearby that speaks to you. Visualize it seeping deep into the Earth, carrying your intentions and connecting you to the infinite strength at the core of the Earth.
Step 4: Call in the light.
Now light your candle. This flame represents your Inner Child’s Spirit. Its life-giving warmth lives in the centre of your heart. It’s dancing, and flickering joyful light is here to connect with whenever you so choose.
Keep it lit as long as you desire. When you’re ready, blow out the flame, knowing that your inner flame can be called upon whenever you need a little extra strength or support. Like the sun, it is always present. Trust your inner child to bring you back to joy and innocence. Thank her for her playfulness, her strength, and her wisdom.
When you’re ready, make sure you thank your special place for listening to you. We can practice trust here too. In many ways, the elements are waiting for us to come back to them and they most certainly can hold the wounds of our inner child. They will be so grateful you are doing this work of rebuilding trust again. And here, in nature, is a perfect place to start.
May this winter bring you all sorts of unexpected goodness, so that you may know again trust in the basic goodness at the heart of life.