Carrying the Divine Child to Egypt
Once upon a time a child was born. His coming had been foretold for generations. He was the Son of a Divine King, born for great things.
The heavens praised his name. Many people came to adore Him.
It had been prophesied that He would be strong and mighty, powerful beyond measure. Yet in His mother’s arms, He was helpless and vulnerable.
Not everyone was happy about His birth. One powerful man in particular felt threatened by Him.
To protect his interests, this man ordered that the Divine Child be killed.
But the Child’s parents were warned of the danger. They carried Him into a country far away, where they kept Him safe until the danger had passed.
They then returned to their home country, where the Child lived up to the prophesies, fulfilled His life’s work, and changed the world.
The Child I speak of is not Jesus. It is you. It is me. It is every Child of God.
I use the story of Jesus now as an archetype.
Uncovering the Divine Child
Each one of us is a Divine Child of a Divine King, born for great things. Each one of us has an Authentic Purpose — a world-changing mission, however small, simple, and obscure, or grandiose and conspicuous.
Each one of us is powerful beyond measure. Yet we are also incredibly weak, helpless, and vulnerable, particularly as children.
As we grow up, we get attacked by various “Herods”: abusive parents or family members, misguided teachers, thoughtless peers, painful and traumatic experiences.
We get wounded. Our deepest wound is the “not enough” wound, an abiding sense of fundamental brokenness, inadequacy, deficiency, and/or unworthiness. It creates shame, self-doubt, and fear. It causes us to sabotage ourselves and our purpose throughout our lives.
In response to this wound we become hardened and defensive. Our defense mechanisms cover our divine nature of love, light, peace, and joy.
At some point in life we begin to remember our origins and awaken to our true nature.
Through the work of mindfulness, we explore our defense mechanisms and ask why they are there and what we’re hoping to accomplish by wielding them.
Eventually, we trace them back to our original wounds. We uncover the Divine Child.
We see ourselves in our helpless, vulnerable state as children. We see all the ways in which we were hurt, neglected, abandoned, traumatized. We see all our unfulfilled longings and unmet needs. We see all our unhealed pain and rage.
When this happens, the floodgates of grief open. We reconnect with the Divine Child.
Protecting the Divine Child
This is when the process of true healing begins. But in order to fully heal, we must carry our Divine Child to Egypt.
As psychoanalyst Robert Moore and mythologist Douglas Gillette explain in their book, King Warrior Magician Lover,
“Whenever the Divine Child within us makes itself known, attack from the Herods, within and without, is not far behind. New life, including new psychological life, is always fragile. When we feel this new energy manifesting within us we need to move to protect it, because it is going to be attacked.
“A man may say in his therapy, ‘I may actually be getting better!’ And right away, he may be answered by an inner voice that says, ‘Oh no, you’re not. You know you can never be well.’ It is then time to get the fragile Divine Child to ‘Egypt.’”
This means we must create a place of safety for ourselves to be able to heal. Then, once we are healed, we can begin our life’s work with strength, confidence, and power. Self-doubt and other forces of self-sabotage disappear. Critical people and other social forces no longer deter us from our mission.
So what do we practically do to carry our “Divine Child” to “Egypt”? Here are four ways:
1. Remove abusive, toxic people from our lives
First and foremost, we immediately disassociate from abusive and/or toxic people — anyone who routinely says or does anything that questions or damages our self-worth or triggers shame in us.
In some cases, this means cutting off contact with the people who inflicted the original wounds — especially if they have not changed or made amends and if we still feel particularly fragile around them.
This can be incredibly difficult, especially since many such people are masterful manipulators. We question ourselves. But in order to find solid ground, we must break free from their orbit.
This need not be done out of a spirit of blame, anger, or defensiveness. We are not reacting against them — we are acting for ourselves.
Our “Egypt” must be a safe place where only kind, accepting, and nurturing people are allowed in our lives.
2. Create clear boundaries
Next, we create clear boundaries with everyone in our lives. We do not tolerate any form or degree of abuse, criticism, or shame, and we make that known in no uncertain terms.
Furthermore, we create the same boundaries with ourselves. We no longer allow ourselves to shame or belittle ourselves up. We stop the inner voice that beats ourselves up for mistakes.
This is where the work of Nonviolent Communication is vital. The more skillful we are in our communication at this stage, the more positively people respond to our requests for boundaries.
- Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg
- Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting, and Enjoying the Self by Charles Whitfield
3. Practice radical self-acceptance and self-compassion
With clear external boundaries set, now begins the real work of internal healing. We use mindfulness to explore all our past mistakes and the ways in which we have abandoned our core values and ourselves.
We replace the Inner Critic, who tells us, “How could you be so stupid?” with the Inner Nurturer, who tells us, “Dear One, I am here for you.”
Simply giving ourselves permission to be compassionate with ourselves can be one of the most profoundly healing things we can ever do.
- Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristen Neff
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
4. Use therapy, when necessary
Sometimes, our best efforts to heal ourselves are not enough. We need the support and counsel of an expert who can help us gain insight and understanding and guide us through the healing process.
A wise outside perspective can make all the difference in the world.
Returning to your home country
You were born for a purpose. Your King knows who you are and adores you. You are powerful beyond measure.
Your power will be released, your greatness unleashed to the extent to which you have healed the Divine Child within you. As long as the Child remains unhealed, you will forever self-sabotage your efforts to live your purpose.
But when you heal the Divine Child, by keeping him safe in an “Egypt” period, you’ll be able to return home and confidently fulfill your life’s work…