Oh my mind,
why so sour today?
You’d be sour, too,
if you were expected
to figure this mess out.
You don’t have to figure this out.
Who told you that you did?
Well, you aren’t figuring it out yourself,
and someone has to do it.
Oh, sweetheart, just breathe and rest.
There isn’t anything to be figured out.
Just breathe and rest.
I kept trying and kept trying today.
If I can just clean the house enough,
and tidy and organize enough
maybe the voice in my head will be kind
and just let me relax.
I finally had to walk away,
take a shower, eat something.
Who is this invisible presence
that tells me I’ll never get it right?
The voice stayed with me
when the clock struck midnight;
it followed me into the new year.
It was quiet for a few hours,
letting me take in the new year…
But now it is saying, already,
You should be doing more.
You need to make phone calls,
you need to organize your house,
you need to earn more,
you need to plan for the future.
You could end up on the street.
You could lose everything.
Hurry up! No time to lose!
Now I want to know,
whose voice is this?
Of course I want to be responsible,
of course I want to take action,
of course I want to do the right thing.
But I don’t need a tyrant telling me what to do.
I don’t need a frightened, abused inmate
pushing me to be afraid too.
I’m ready for a new voice,
one that says,
Breathe. You’re doing just fine.
Let’s try this now.
You are not alone;
I’ll be with you every step of the way.
Everything is working out just fine.
You are safe.
You can trust me.
I got you.
I’m searching for that voice.
I’m wanting to see what my life will be like
when I listen to it and act from it.
May the voice of kindness rise up within me,
and may my ears and heart and mind
be open to receive its wisdom.
Hmmm…for some reason I keep hoping that these NaPoWriMo prompts will get easier, but they seem to be getting harder, perhaps because of what is happening in my external world. But anyway, here goes. Today’s prompt asked us to write a list of all of the identities with which we associate ourselves, and then divide that list in two more lists, one list of identities that make us feel powerful and another list of identities that make us feel vulnerable. Then we write a poem in which an identity from one list is speaking to, or contending with, or challenging an identity from the other list. What a head game. Luckily I’m always game to play in my head, so, let’s see what happens.
I wrote my list, and artist and critic were both there. I figure that this a great place to start.
Hey! Me here.
Who do you think you are
getting those art supplies out?
You aren’t any good
and no one cares what you
are trying to create.
Oh sweetie, there you go again.
Why do you think you need to be good?
This act of creation is just for you….
you don’t need to impress anyone else,
and especially yourself.
Drop the pressure and radiate your light.
Life is your work of art.
Let your genius shine.
You don’t have to try so hard, friend…
Just relax and let your genius shine.
Tired, working hard to be prepared
for a workshop I’m teaching tomorrow
and those old scoundrels jump into my brain,
The Perfectionist and the Critic.
They let me know all sorts of things:
You should’ve had this done by now.
You don’t have enough authority to teach this.
It’s going to be a flop. They’ll want their money back.
Why aren’t you more organized?
You don’t have anything worthwhile to say.
You should just give up right now.
And I say:
Thanks guys, really appreciate it,
everything you said is really helpful,
and I’ll be sure to take into consideration
what you shared with me…
I’m going to get back to work here.
I don’t have time to wallow in self-doubt.
I have lives to save.
I’ve become so accustomed
to the voice in my head
that says, “Not good enough”
that sometimes I believe it.
It’s time to listen to another voice.
I know it’s there–
the voice that says, “Breathe. It’s okay.”
It’s so much quieter than the other voice.
I need to be a better listener.
On this journey of self-love and acceptance
The goal isn’t to eliminate the critic
but to understand and hold it
with kindness and compassion.
The inner critic has served an important function
in our lives and those of our ancestors–
its main purpose is to keep us safe,
to help us survive–
and attempting to kill this part of ourselves
wouldn’t be helpful or reasonable.
But bringing more awareness
into the situation,
ah this now–
this will help us to shift our focus
from dwelling in the critic’s fear
to moving into our own power,
our creativity and inspiration.
Meet the critic with gratitude:
Thank you for wanting to keep me safe.
And then go on to reassure it:
I know this is scary for you right now,
but I want you to know
everything is okay
and we will be fine
regardless of the outcome.
Acknowledge how hard it is
to feel this scared and still take risks,
to show up, be vulnerable,
feel this intense emotion,
dare to be your best self.
And then remember
you are not alone.
We all take this journey,
this sacred journey
that leads us from fear