You often hear people explain their experience as being “on the outside looking in,” but really, I think we’re on the inside looking out. There’s no other way for us to participate in the world around us, or process what’s happening except through our own particular lenses, frame of reference and past experience. That’s beautiful if your interior world is full of love, because in that case the space between you and anyone else disappears. It fades because you’re part of what’s happening, you’re co-creating the moment, you’re not in your head. You’re not busy categorizing or judging what you’re moving through, deciding if it’s good or bad or desirable or what you expected, you’re just in it. Love allows for that kind of liberation and immersion. There’s no fear of getting it wrong, no nagging, stifling voice of “what if” stopping you or making you question if you’re worthy of the joy or the acceptance. When we’re full of love life seems doable and everything is an adventure or a discovery or an opportunity to get lost and find ourselves all at once. To give whatever we’ve got, all the way, and with our hearts wide open. We can do that with other people, or on our own as we hike, windsurf, or get on a yoga mat. We become part of everything. No one is going to be in that state in every moment. We all have fears, insecurities and doubts, and life is always there to present us with opportunities to examine that stuff. Sometimes heartbreaking things happen out of nowhere and take our breath away and send us reeling. But short of that, if you do that inner work of healing, you can be in that state of love quite a lot of the time, and you can catch yourself more quickly when you start spiraling down the well of fear. Your inner voice is the thing that stops you from buying into that “not good enough” frame of mind when you’re loving yourself, not the voice that makes you want to run and curl up and fade away to nothing.
When we’re in fear, it’s easy to feel a separation, a huge distance between ourselves and other people, between our experiences and someone else’s. I think when we feel lonely, misunderstood, discarded or shamed, when we’re grieving or more confused by life than we’ve ever been, it’s not that we’re trying to get into a place where others are so we can feel better or accepted or acknowledged or loved, it’s that we’re trying to get out of this well we’re drowning in. This dark, cold place that echoes with the cries of “What’s wrong with me? Why do I suck so much? Will I ever get it together? Why has this happened?” Sometimes people internalize the things they were told growing up. I saw a quote awhile back that said, “The way you speak to your children becomes their inner voice.” If you grew up hearing you were stupid, worthless, unwanted or an accident, or that you didn’t measure up or always made mistakes, or that you were a disappointment, or any number of other hurtful ideas that reflected your parents inability to express love and not your worthiness to receive it, you may have an incredibly harsh inner dialogue you’re living with. Life does not have to be like that, but you’re going to have to work hard to stop feeding that fearful, unkind voice, and start feeding a loving one. You’re probably going to need some help with that. The lens you’re looking through and the inner voice that speaks out about what’s happening are either wildly distorted, or fairly clear. If you’re in pain, if you’re feeling isolated, and very deep within yourself, don’t believe everything you think, as the saying goes.
There have been times in my life when I’ve felt so far from the surface of things, it was like a slow dark drowning. I used to have an incredibly harsh inner voice. Of course you want to run when the voice you live with is unforgiving and relentless. You want to deny or numb out or keep yourself so busy you can’t hear it, but you can’t escape yourself, and you can’t escape your pain –not in any good or sustainable way. At some point, if you want to be at peace, and you want to be able to connect and share and feel part of everyone and everything else, you’re going to have to turn and face that voice. Not everything you think is true. No matter what has happened to you, what kind of pain you’ve been through, what kind of anger you may be holding, there’s something stronger than all of that. It’s your heart. It’s been there, pumping for you from the moment you began forming as the you you are right now. You are as worthy of love as anyone else, and your heart has a song to sing that is all its own. You don’t want to be stuck in your head, forever analyzing and categorizing and judging your experience. You just want to be in it. You want to open your mouth and let the song of your heart spill out. So get busy if you need to, because as Mark Strand says, “Each moment is a place you’ve never been.” You don’t want to miss too many places. Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Sending you love,