Thursday, July 28, 2016

Patterns of the Mind (Part two)

A couple of weeks ago I started littering my dining table with post it notes, I talked about the beginning of another exercise in my self-compassion book here.  I started writing down the self critic voice in my head and asking questions about it.  

This morning because I was feeling horrible and was unable to do my usual morning exercises and stretches without increasing the pain I sat down in front of all the notes.   I furiously wrote responses to each one of the statements, I lost track of time and delved into different memories and events.  

I was surprised to find that responding to some of the statements brought up very specific memories and events in my life.  Part of the exercise was to listen to the tone of the voice and decide if you might have learned it from somewhere else.  I honestly didn't hear that, I went to different memories and points in my life when I felt hurt, rejected or misunderstood.  A lot of these statements were echoes from events I had even forgotten, and some I will never forget.  

I went back and forth about what to share or if to share any of these statements and responses.  I decided that I didn't want to share, because I am afraid I did the exercise "wrong."  I didn't want to be seen.  However the voice and the state that I used to listen and respond knows that I have a different standard.  The reason I was able to complete this exercise and not attack the voice, is because of people taking the time to show me another way, because of people being in that state and listening and responding to my mind with nothing but compassion.   

I thought it was interesting that my self-critic voice sounds like my own, and the voice of self-compassion sounds borrowed, it sounds like the voice of my teachers.  At the same time, I trust I am there too, learning step by step. 

I have put the self-critic statement in quotes and the response in bold.  

"You are missing out and will be left behind."
  You are afraid of being forgotten, of having to make the walk home alone.  That has never been the end of those stories, there are times where you have been alone and abandoned, some one always came along to walk with you.  Some one will always come along to walk with you, just take those moments one step at a time.  Patience and focus got you through those times, don't forget to look at the whole picture.  

"You are not important."
Then why do you spend so much time talking to me? (Just a little humor) Anyways, you are afraid that what you do is not significant, that what you are is not unique and so you can be easily replaced.  You have been shaped and molded by your experiences and only you know your internal experience, your internal wisdom.  The choice becomes do you want to share it?

"Someone else would handle this illness with grace and would have moved on with their life by now.  You want to be stuck, you want to be sick."
You are grieving and that takes time, it takes time to heal.  You are still living life, it just looked different then it did a year ago.  Just because you haven't found what works best, doesn't mean you haven't made progress.  You have so many tools and are gaining skill each day, it will all fall into place.  I am not saying you won't have horrible and painful days, but you had those before this illness.  You will work through this fatigue and find a new place.

Here is the last one that I will share, I lost track of how many times over the past couple of weeks I wrote this down, how often I hear it and how much it breaks my heart.  I had even written it down over and over on a post it, to the point it was just covered with all the writing, all angles.  

"You are not enough!"
I know you are afraid and hurting, you have always said this to me, it has nothing to do with the current situation, nothing to do with your illness.  It is your deepest fear.  Words will not address it, actions will not fix it.  You will never have an answer, your choice is to work with this fear with ease and gentleness or fight it.  I hear you, I am listening.  

Question of the day: Who has deeply influenced you?  If you can maybe take the time to thank them today for all the ripples they created in your life.  

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