the child within

There were a number of trials and tribulations this week, and to balance them, some very beautiful meetings with people close to me. And strangely enough, my conversations with them, seemed to continue from one to the next… though I’m speaking of different conversations with different people; the very same subjects seemed to come up, and it was as if the different meetings were one continuous rumination about the problems we carry with us through life.

an unconventional portrait by Rivka

It seems that we’ve all had our knocks and our traumas… our disappointments and failures, and unfair treatment by others… and despair. And mistakes in judgment, and having to deal with criticism, and judgment by others. And along the way, we’ve built walls to defend us, and swept things under the rug, and wiped certain things out of our memories… and dealt with other things, found solutions, found methods of relating to certain problems… crutches to help us walk when otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. We’ve left home, and made our own lives. Left, or grown insensitive to husbands and wives, and friends we didn’t get along with, and found ways to deal with the day to day chores of staying alive in this world. But then sometimes, something happens… say, the rug wears out, and we buy a new one. But in the process of exchanging the old for the new we come face to face, after a long time, with what we almost forgot that we’d swept under. Now that’s a good time to cry.

Kika and Nechama

Some of those old bruises are so painful that we’ve been walking with a limp all our lives… and not even realized. There are people in this world who suffer from allergies and illnesses… and have reached the point where they have to deal with the damage that has accumulated from the side-effects caused by medicines they needed to deal with those secondary problems, and only then remembered the original traumas that caused it all. And you might think I was talking about some rare and severe complaint. But it isn’t that rare. When you scratch the surface, you discover that so many people have suffered. One of the ways of dealing with the suffering, is to look across the road… or across the ocean, and say to yourself… well, at least I haven’t suffered abject hunger. Or I didn’t have my home and family destroyed by a sudden unexpected tsunami, or earthquake… or war. And it’s true. We can find people who’ve suffered more than we have. But if it’s hard, and we got all bent out of shape dealing with it… that’s enough.


A friend of mine, when talking about a difficult moment in which he had to deal suddenly with the impossible, said, ‘I remembered the child inside’. And for many of us, that child inside continues to live… sometimes surviving till an advanced old age, peering through eyes that have already seen so much, past wrinkled skin, to the world out there… protected by a stocky frame and the signs of position and degree and possessions. And that child is still hurting ancient hurts, and scared by childish fears. They come out at times in dreams, or standing by the side of the grave as we are burying our parents… or our brothers or sisters… They appear unexpectedly, when a lover leaves, or a partnership dissolves, or we lose our job, or our children start living their own lives.


I ran across a blog this week, and read a post in which a sweet lady wrote to herself when she was sixteen years old… and gave her some advice. Though her advice wasn’t at all relevant to what I had known as a young man, it brought back memories. She touched me. And I thought, there’s the answer. If you’ve still got the child inside, take him or her by the hand, and educate him. Teach him everything you’ve learned through the years, so he can quit and you can get on with life. It’s possible.


Pictures are from a get together with my daughter Rivka, and her best friend Kika. The photos of myself are by Rivka.


32 responses to “the child within

  1. What a beautiful post. I can really identify with this – I think the child within is hugely important and yes I agree if we look out there are those that are suffering more than we are. Your words and insights are very touching, all reflected in your beautiful photographs. Thank you I enjoyed reading this.

    • Thank you very much Jacqueline, and I hope you realized that my point was that we have to take that child in hand and help him/her to find full maturity. You, in fact, are doing just that by continuing your education, and going out in the world. As adults, there is so much more to enjoy in life, and freedom too. And how sweet it is. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Hi Shimon,

    I enjoyed this a post very much, and, it spoke to me. I deal with and nurture “Little Susie,” on a daily basis. If I don’t, who will? “If not now, when?”
    Thank you for this.

    Kol Tuv and Shalom,


    • Dear Susan, I am sure you realized that you had a part in my inspiration to write this post. I consider you a strong and brave woman. But I hope you also understood that my point was that we have to help the child reach maturity. For me, the transition was like that of a pollywog becoming a frog. And since then, I believe that I have enjoyed more than one reincarnation. Adulthood is a blessed state, in which we are more whole, and more free… and ah, freedom is so sweet. I will be there, cheering for you.

      tevarchi bekol maaseich,

      • Hi Shimon,
        Yes, I did realize that your post was in part, Susan-induced. I consider it an honor! Thank you. I also believe that I’ve got a few reincarnations under my belt. One of these times, I hope to get it right.
        In any case, I appreciate your cheering me on. Thank you.
        Kol Tuv,

  3. Oh, and I think the photos are lovely of you, Rivka and Kika. And that tabby cat as well :-).

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much, for your kind words regarding the photos. It is my pleasure to share. The cat is called Nechama, and she has become a very dear friend in the last 6 years in which we’ve lived together.

      • I’ve heard the name/word “Nechama” before. What does it mean? It’s not listed in my limited Hebrew dictionary. I have three cats, Nikki, Zelda, and Nadyezhda (Nadia, for short). I love them like family.

        Thank you.

        • How nice to discover that we have a common love for cats. Nechama means consolation, and she adopted me as a very young kitted, and I saw her arrival as a consolation, for I was very unhappy at the time.

  4. this is a beautiful journey of a post. wonderful photos Shimon 🙂

  5. Beautifully written. It touched my heart; we all struggle with the same things and can learn so much from others. I

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. And yes, we do learn from one another, and that is one of the most precious things about our being a herd animal… But though there are many similarities, there are also differences… and sometimes we must find our way by ourselves. I wasn’t speaking of myself in this post, but of people I’d been talking with, and whom I cared for. I left the child behind many years ago.

  6. Great to see photos of you and those who are important to you 🙂

    • Thank you, GB. I think it helps, sometimes, to get a picture of the people we relate to, hear on the internet, and those that they care for, and the environment. It helps us understand one another.

  7. I was very moved by this beautiful post, and the photos that made me feel I was sitting with you all. And that is exactly the point, isn’t it? I think we all feel isolated with our hurts, but really all of us hurt. Today was a day when every eye I met seemed hostile. People honked impatiently, shouted names. It is hard to see past their hardness to the hurt they must be shielding. Better to lift the rug and cry.
    So, when I read this I felt peace. Thank you.


    • Thank you very much, Melissa. Yes, we all hurt at times. And building a wall around us may keep people out, but it also shuts us in. We have to expose ourselves a little, in order to reach out, and find friends… and enjoy the common ground. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  8. I understand what you said about conversations that seem to travel from one person to the next … recently it seemed everywhere I turned, people were talking about expectations, (after all, a new year was beginning). Still, it seemed all conversations kept circling back around to expectations.

    I have struggled against the concept of accepting that there is a child within in that is still hurting, or needs to be educated, or that can be convinced that life still holds joy and promise. For many years I denied the presence of that inner child, somehow believing that in order to be a responsible adult, I had to let go of the notion of a child within me that required … well, anything at all. There was a disconnect between me, and that child. It was only after observing someone else heal their own inner child that I slowly began accepting this as truth. I came to realize that failure to accept the responsibility for healing this inner child was keeping me stuck in place.

    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written blog post that can serve as a gentle reminder for us to help our inner child become mature, so that we can finally move on with life, and become fully engaged in living again. So we can look outward, and help others, sharing what we’ve learned.

    • The truth is, that there doesn’t have to be that inner child, if a person reaches maturity fully. That is the best way, actually. It is, as I wrote to someone else, like the transformation from pollywog to frog. But when we don’t deal with the problems we had in childhood, that child keeps following us around, asking for attention; asking for a fix… asking for a cure. I have read some of your writing, and consider you a very brave woman; a woman who wants to make this life worthwhile, despite starting our with some really difficult disadvantages. I too, went through hell in my childhood, so I think I understand just how difficult it is for you. I can tell you, that we can live a new life, and that it’s never too late. I wish you the best from the bottom of my heart.

  9. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Wow. Firstly, thank you for subbing. I am honoured. Yet next: wow, your blog speaks to me, absolutely. I do believe I am one of those people who have been “walking with a limp all these years and not realised it”.

    This piece was an inspiration to me: I thank you.

    • I’m very pleased that you enjoyed the post Noeleen. I found your writing by chance, and as soon as I started reading, I appreciated your writing style, and your ability to to communicate who you were as a person..

  10. A moving post, beautifully stated. Here I am, a first time visitor, and I feel as though I was sitting at the table with you and hearing this welcome and encouraging message from the mouth of a long-time friend. Thank you, Shimon, for sharing your wisdom so gently and kindly. Wonderful photos of you and your lovely companions–all three!–make me feel, as you noted in your response to GB, more present in the conversation as well.
    Shalom, friend,

    • Thank you very much Kathryn, for coming by and for your comment. I have been using the internet for some time now, yet there is still something thrilling for me about this possibility of meeting people from different worlds, and sharing something of this life with them. It was a pleasure finding you, and I am glad that the feeling I had when I read your blog was mutual. Once, years back, I wrote a poem about such feelings. You can see it here:

  11. What a wonderful post. It touch me.

  12. I read with my heart again… Your writing is so beautiful, deeply, wisely, captures me… Your cat seems so clever too, as if she understands everything… I loved this post too. It was so enjoyable to read you. Thank you dear Shimon, with my love, nia

    • I am glad too, that our work has brought us together. I have enjoyed your photography… and here, we speak to each other in a common language, that is a foreign language for both of us. It is amazing. Yes, Nechama, my cat, is a very dear friend, and we usually understand one another quite well. With best wishes to you, my dear.

  13. But your English language is excellent, I have been still trying to improve… My cat Princess, she is a very dear friend, like Nechama, but she makes me tired so much, she is very naughty girl. Everything is being in everywhere when I wake up…. 🙂 My first job is to place everything again. Thank you, with my love, nia

    • I think your English is very good. I will have to go looking for Princess on your blog. Sometimes cats make a bit of a mess when they want more attention, or when they are restless. I have lived with cats all my life.

  14. Like dear friends sitting around your table with you…we see the crumbs from dinner, hear the clank of glasses and the tiny sounds vibrate from the forks, watch the cat scratch her ear…and have your words echo into our hearts/minds through the remaining night and waking morning…as we grab our inner child’s hand and start walking in the new light….

    • This is a beautiful comment, my friend… and you know, sometimes I really feel a tug at my heart, that the communication on blogs is always so direct… from mind to mind by way of words, when it could be softer and more sensual if only we could have some wine and snacks, as I do with my friends. I’m glad, Scott, that you understood my intention.

  15. It was like a warm embrace, Shimon…truly sharing your table with you. Your words conveyed the spirit of your intentions very well….

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