After the usual flurry of preparing packed lunches, stuffing porridge into small people, making sure everyone had the appropriate equipment for the day’s school activities, and shooing them out of the door, today began ‘properly’ with Harvest Festival assembly at the primary school. My children are new at the school this term, and they have been welcomed with open arms. But I think that what impressed me most this morning was that everyone, every single one, of the school’s pupils was involved. Every single one had a part to play. (I confess that I shed a tear when they sang Edelweiss. In spite of the fact that the solos were, for the most part, painfully out of tune, it was sung with enthusiasm, gusto, and when they all sang the last verse together it was, actually, beautiful… *sniff*)
Still tired after the emotional wringer that was yesterday, I took it easy this morning. I found a book that I started about three years ago. I know this because I found a ‘to-do’ list in it as a marker, referring to rooms I no longer have 🙂 and I took a leisurely bath and started it again.
It talks of the inner voice. Or the inner monologue. Or, actually, the inner dialogue. “I like those shoes. No, I don’t. I don’t? No. They’re too clunky. They are? But they’re so pretty. Yes, but I’ll never walk in them…”
I exhaled heavily.
I have an inner dialogue all the time. For the past week, I have been holding conversations in the early hours of the morning with people from all walks of my life. But they were all me, of course. I also, just as an aside, have an inner juke box. It’s most peculiar. I’ll find that I’ve been thinking about something – say, for example, I’ve received an email following a tired old pattern, trying to draw me into a tired old power-play – and I’ll become aware that it has all been happening to the soundtrack of “There she goes again” by the La’s… just for example. It is constant. And, frankly, maddening.
This book suggests that stepping back from that inner voice and recognising its patterns and, crucially, that it is not you since, after all, you are the one hearing and witnessing it, so how can it be? is the only way to learn to tame it.
Before I go any further, the book I am referring to (and I haven’t finished it yet, so don’t spoil the end for me 😉 ) is The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer.
There was one line that knocked my socks off, though. One line that contained so much in so few words… It was this:
True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection.
There is so much beneath the apparent simplicity of that sentence… The layers and layers of ‘protection’ we build up over ourselves in order not to have to face reality. But in not facing reality, we cannot grow. So whilst unconsciously what we are doing is in the name of self-preservation, it is in fact self-sabotage. It can only keep us locked in those same tired old patterns that end up baffling and frustrating us. Why is this situation not improving? Because rather than face the pain and allow it to teach us, we try to kill it, to smother it, to cover it over with something else, other and out there.
I have a lot more thinking to do about this.
Before my children came home, I performed a simple breath meditation. Calming, soothing, in and out. Breathing in… Breathing out… Breathing in… Breathing out… Clearing my mind… Wandering mind… Bringing it back to the breathing in… Breathing out… You know? I don’t want to speak too soon, but in the face of past and gathering storms, I have an equilibrium just now that, without this meditation, simply wouldn’t make sense to me. I am grateful for it.
And it isn’t coming from out there.