Protecting Your Inner Child

Steven Barnes
4 min readSep 30, 2021

We too should make ourselves empty, that the great soul of the universe may fill us with its breath. — Laurence Binyon


Sifu Carl Totton advised that I change one of my habit patterns. In alignment with seeking longevity, he suggested that I not visualize myself becoming very old, but instead visualize myself connecting to the “Child” personae. I suppose that’s what some call “Youthing.” It’s definitely an interesting practice, and I understand the psychology: you can’t “not think of a purple cow” but you CAN easily “think of a yellow tree”…which functionally is the same thing, but much more effective.

What are the warning signs of a lack of a healthy connection to this part of yourself?

  1. Lack of emotional energy.
  2. Lack of creativity. Children live close to their dream-time, and that’s all you need to access endless ideas and brainstorming.
  3. No drive for physical motion. A baby that doesn’t crawl, taste, explore its space is of concern.
  4. Lack of self-protective instinct. if you have ANY hesitation in the arena of self-protection, you need to start here.
  5. Lack of self-love. The natural human protective/adoration instinct toward helpless children is innate. If you don’t feel it, someone hurt you. As simple as that. You are still carrying that damage with you.
  6. Lack of that “genius spark”. All genius is, in this sense, is the capacity to focus your enthusiasm on something until you have learned a fact or solved a problem. If connected with your physical grounding, it is going to be something “useful” in the sense of increasing joy and decreasing pain. “Genius” in this sense, is found by maintaining connection with the “child” core while allowing the “adult” sheathe to grow and learn. The enthusiasm of a kid with the wisdom of an adult. If you ever met someone like Ray Bradbury you’d know exactly what I’m talking about.
  7. Lack of appetite for life. Curiosity, passion, sex drive — LIFE ENERGY.
  8. Specifically, lack of sex drive. There are ways that sexuality is two kids playing, and others in which it is two adults connecting, and others in which it is two spirits dancing. When your bodies, hearts, and minds all align, that is magic. Finding a “playmate” who is also a hunting partner, friend and co-parent is one of life’s greatest gifts.
Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.