Journal Date: February 2, 2021
At the end of the collection of short stories in Warming the Stone Child, Clarissa Pinkola Estés offers a couple tips for continuing the healing journey on your own.
The first one is this: “Pay attention to your dreams. Your dreams will tell you everything. In terms of injured instinct, dreams that are about animals that are injured or not acting properly are very good clues to what is hurt or what is injured in the deep unconscious.”
It’s funny, because just days before I heard this in this book, I had a very intense dream which fits what Estés is describing here perfectly.
From what I can remember, I had been struggling inside of this dream for a while before the parts that I became more directly conscious of occurred.
I remember that in this dream, I had been at a party for quite some time, feeling more and more frustrated as it went on.
Both my best friend and my ex-boyfriend were there. In this dream, we were still dating, but I could tell that he was losing interest, and not wanting to be with me.
Then my best friend showed up, and somehow it became known that she intended to sleep with him.
I tried to convince her not to do that, but apparently I didn’t do a very good job, because that’s exactly what happened next.
And in the dream, I just could not get over it.
I held on to that so tightly, with so much resentment and bitterness. I just couldn’t let it go. I told everyone I met. It was the only thing I wanted to talk about in my dream, really.
It just went on and on like that, endlessly, without reprieve.
It was like I had to convince anybody who would come near me how wrong it was. How it was something which could never be forgiven, which I had to hold onto forever.
This went on for a frustratingly long amount of time.
Until suddenly, I found that I was no longer at the party, but back on the streets of Whittier, making my way back towards my childhood home on Friends Ave.
And I had a little baby Beso in a wrinkled up, used and old plastic bag inside of my black backpack, just like the one I had in middle school.
Baby Beso was very sick.
I had fed him something toxic without knowing it was poisonous to him.
And so now I was trying to make my way back to this house, thinking that it was here that I would be able to take Beso out of the old bag in the backpack.
I knew that he was suffering in there, it was dark and poorly ventilated, and I could only rarely look inside to check on him and see if he was even still alive.
And on top of this, I kept getting distracted, caught up again and again in telling everyone I encountered what a victim I was, and how I would never forgive them for what they had done to me.
This went on until I found myself on a street near Uptown Whittier, one which was on the other side of the alley where I had often walked through on my way to another friend’s house.
I took one last look inside of my backpack to check on baby Beso–and he was not doing well.
His eyes were red, deeply irritated all around the edges, and it was clear that he was suffering, struggling and very much in pain.
I was worried that he may not make it all the way to my mother’s house.
But I was convinced, for some reason, that there was nothing I could do until I reached this place, so I put him in my backpack again, and kept on walking.
And then I woke up.
I thought about that dream quite a bit that day. Clearly, there seemed to be a significant connection between what went on in my dream and in my world.
I remembered how my therapist has started calling the part of me that still needs mothering, the child within that requires loving attention and care, my “Inner Beso.”
I think it’s because I talk about my dog all the time, and how much I love being his “mom,” and how much I’ve learned from caring for him. I think he keeps saying that to encourage me to do the same for myself, to transfer my Beso-mothering skills into inner child, self-mothering skills.
What I got from analyzing my dream was this:
Maybe the bitterness and resentment I’ve been feeling towards my family aren’t serving a purpose anymore.
Maybe they are poisonous, maybe they are the toxic food that I have unknowingly been feeding my “inner Beso.”
And maybe I’m just going in the wrong direction entirely.
Why go revisit that old place in Whittier?
Why go “home”?
There was nothing nourishing in that place to begin with. To keep returning there no longer makes any sense to me.
Maybe it’s just a distraction, a dangerous lie putting my inner child at further risk of being harmed.
Maybe the thing to do is attend to my “inner Beso” now, right where I’m at, as imperfect as that may be.
And please, take him out of that dirty old bag in your backpack immediately!
There is no reason to hide him away anymore.
All of this is to say, I need to turn and start heading in the other direction now.
This return to the childhood home, the return to the past, has served its purpose and outlived its usefulness.
I’ve learned what I came to learn. Now is the time to move beyond it.
And I don’t need to wait to start caring for myself. I can start feeding my “inner Beso” healthy, nourishing food.
I can give myself experiences that fill me up and nourish my soul.
I don’t have to wait anymore.