It is uncanny how many people I meet who had early childhood trauma. It’s not just patients in my office, it’s people I meet in casual conversation. I mention Jizo & Chibi, and the moment I start telling them about Chibi — the inner child, the infant self — they open up and tell me how their mother became ill when they were 6 weeks old, how they were separated from mom due to jaundice or other health issues, how they were premature and lived life in an incubator and struggle with attaching to people.
I am not saying everyone who had early separation is suffering as a result of it. I don’t think we are all living on a level playing field. Some of us are more sensitive to life’s challenges, more fragile.
My Chibi often arises as inexplicable hunger. It is neediness personified, not unlike a crying infant, longing to be picked up and held safely. For years, I pushed her down, told her to be quiet, to not disturb my peace. Once I became a psychotherapist, I could not keep her quiet. It seemed as if everyone who came into my office had a Chibi — and their Chibi needed my Chibi to mirror them, to reflect back that my office was a safe place and that I was a safe person to explore painful stuff with.
If you are anxious, a worrier, have trouble in relationships, are angry or reactive, use substances to ‘take the edge off’ — that ‘edge’ may be your Chibi. Maybe.
Once I discovered Jizo and awakened my Jizo-nature, my Chibi began to feel profoundly safe. The hunger and neediness were soothed, not by people and things outside of myself, but by this inner consciousness, the archetype of Mother Earth in the form of a Buddhist monk.
I hope you are able to touch lightly upon the child within you, the Chibi, and listen with kindness. If you are skeptical of the benefits, that’s okay. If only a seed of curiosity is planted, it is a fine, fine day.
If other methods of self-soothing have failed — or if they need an extra helping hand — this might be part of the path for you.