The inner critic creeps up
and tries to interrupt
the flow of peaceful thoughts
that now stream through my mind
quite regularly after years of meditation practice,
prayer, determination, effort,
discipline, will, twelve-step meetings,
coaching, and therapy.
I turn around and look at the critic.
Oh. You again?
Yeah. It’s me. You still suck. You’re terrible.
Ah, my dear. Let me hold you.
Let me rock you.
Let me tell you how loved you are.
Let me show you how,
even after all this time,
you are still enough.
I can hear it even now,
the voice in my head
saying everything I do is wrong,
nothing I do is right.
It’s an old voice,
an anxious voice.
It’s the meaning I made
when as a child
my broken heart sought reasons
for not receiving the love,
I wanted and deserved.
But there is no blame.
There is this moment
and a brief space of clarity
where I can remember…
If I can hear the voice
and I can repeat what it is saying
then the voice isn’t me…
It’s just a habit. It’s an echo of the past.
My intellect can articulate this clearly,
but my body needs time to catch up.
It feels sad and mopey and droopy today,
like everything is wrong
and nothing is right.
How can I bring the clarity of my intellect
to bear on the traumatized inner child
who waits and waits and waits
for it all to be over,
that she is the one who is causing all the torment?
Healing isn’t linear and instantaenous…
and it takes time.
Now if only I could relax into the process
of awakening and remembering
the truth about myself…
If only I could land in a place
where these painful thoughts
no longer determine the color of my days…
That would be a miracle.
Its voice speaks all throughout the day:
No, don’t do that, don’t put that there,
that isn’t right, can’t you do better than that?
C’mon, you know better, oh no!
I’ts very exhausting.
I really am doing my best.
I really am tired so frequently,
just wanting to take the time and space
to rest and engage in conscious self-care.
I’d like to shake this voice off, somehow,
but it’s inside me,
intimately acquainted with my deepest fears,
of which it reminds me nearly constantly.
Or else it attempts to distract me from my fears,
by reminding me how inadequate I am,
and so what’s the point of trying to shift
into a conscious, spacious paradigm—
I’ll mess this one up too, it tells me.
Little by little I’m becoming aware
of the powerful, deep current of thinking
that influences all of my interactions,
All of my insights.
Little by little I’m realizing
I can choose what I take in,
and what I give out.
Little by little I’m gaining the strength
to discern which voice to listen to,
and the will to stay open
even when it’s difficult.
Little by litte, I’m understanding
that this moment is enough,
just as it is.
Singing, singing, learning
this music for the Virtual Choir 6
Feeling the shame spiral
because I did my habitual thing
and waited until the day before
to really dive into the music.
I remember (again)
that the way you do anything
is the way you do everything,
and behind my procrastination
there was the perfectionist,
just trying to find the perfect time.
Well…now is the time.
With my kids out of the house
I have quiet.
I can record this music.
If only I can get it
perfect right done.
Yeah, Lorien, just get it done.
Back home after being out of town with the kids for a few days,
and I’m confronted with the reality of my disorganized house
and the clutter of travel. I look back on the last few days
and my mind immediately focuses on what I could’ve done better.
I hope my kids have some happy memories from our time away.
I hope my mind can cut me some slack and allow me to rest tonight.
The kids are with their dad now, and I’ll have some blessed time to…
and LOVE this moment.
Whew. What a relief.
Hey, Inner Critic,
it’s time we had a chat.
You see, you can stop
telling me I have to figure it all out,
no one has it all figured out.
We’re all in a process of becoming.
So stop it already with the pressure,
and the anxiety, and the belief
that I have to be more, do more, have more.
When I’m free of you for just a moment,
it’s actually quite pleasant.
I can breathe and feel free in this moment,
all I ever have.
I asked my inner critic to go on vacation
and invited my inner child to come out of hiding.
She still doesn’t trust me all the way.
I don’t blame her.
For so long I derived my identity
from a man who was unkind to me;
I tolerated the way he spoke to me,
accepted crumbs of affection,
thought this was the best I could do.
Now I need to build trust in myself,
and demonstrate to this little girl
that I am strong and capable enough
to provide for her,
that I love her,
that I am glad she is here,
and she is the most important person in my life.
Instead of just thinking about self-love,
I am working on feeling it, living it, expressing it.
God, show me how to love and care for myself
the way you love and care for me.
I’ve had this lingering cold since September,
finally went to the doctor yesterday;
she wants me to squirt stuff up my nose,
gargle with salt water, and rest.
I’m tired of feeling draggy,
tired of living surrounded by boxes,
tired of being tired.
So today, I rested.
And it’s nuts what the voices in my head tell me.
Don’t be lazy.
It’s not so bad.
Look at your house! It’s deplorable.
You should be ashamed of yourself!
My overworking made me sick.
And now I’m trying to get better…
but somehow I’m not allowed
to do the things that will help me get better?
Another voice speaks.
Discern the voice of truth.
Listen a little more deeply.
Hear the song of being.
Let yourself heal.
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?