Sometimes I just want it to stop. The talk of covid, protests, looting, brutality. I lose my way and become convinced that this “new normal” is real life.
But then I meet an 87 year old man who talks of living through polio, diphtheria, Vietnam war, protests and yet is still enchanted with life.
He seemed surprised when I said that 2020 must be especially challenging for him. “No”’ he said slowly looking me straight in the eyes, “I learned a long time ago to not see the world through printed headlines, I see the world through the people that surround me. I see the world with the realization that we get to love big. Therefore, I just choose to write my own headlines. “Husband loves wife today.” “Family drops everything to come to Grandma’s bedside.” “Old man makes a new friend.”
His words collide with my worries, freeing them from the tether I had been holding tight. They floated away. I am left with renewed spirit. My headline now reads “Woman overwhelmed by the spirit of kindness and the reminder that our capacity to love is never ending.”
This little story came to me through FB Messenger this morning as I peer through the windows into the fog and grey skies of monsoon. I could start the day with a very well founded thought “these are strange times” or like the story inspires, I can write my own headlines. “This day I heard the birds call my name. Come Ms G, the trees and Qigong await you.”
One of the imprints for me from the self compassion course through Tushita was the practice of kind self talk. We are all sadly too familiar with the inner critic. The voice that stands out as the voice of reason, truth and the one that really knows you. But the inner critic is conditioned from a world of fear and limitations not a world of loving curiosity that is natural to the clear and knowing minds we’re born with.
A shamanic friend use to call that tough inner voice the ‘Itty Bitty Shitty Committee’ that would try to sound authoritarian. She would describe it like a gnome that sat on her right shoulder and on her left shoulder sat the voice of love, awe and thirst for life. When the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee would pipe in, she would give it the space to be heard, thank it for it’s protective presence and tell it to take a nap in the back seat.
I have plenty of battles with my own inner critic and am happy when I don’t give it the reigns over my actions. But I realized there was either the presence of the critic or the absence of it. I never really nurtured, consciously anyway, the presence of an equal voice of kind and loving council. This, in a way, levels the playing field of every day’s unfolding. Before we accept a beating from our inner critics, what if we instinctively turn the table over to the voice of compassion for council? For certain we’d find insight and clarity and most likely gobs of gratitude. What would the voice of your kind self talk have to tell you?