Monday, 22 May 2017

What are you saying to your self?

I am moving home - soon. I sold very quickly 6 months ago, it fell through, new buyers were found, and now 9 weeks on, still no exchange. The thing which has me uncomfortable and squashed inside myself is the fact that I don’t seem to be ‘getting on with it’ - ‘it’ being everything which needs doing. Which is? Sorting, packing, clearing, tidying. Basically I think I should be sitting here totally ready to move out in half-an-hour’s time, and because I am not, I feel bad... Really bad.... 

This was/is creating some inner stress (!) and with my life’s work of learning and teaching awareness of responses to stimuli and being able to respond differently to any long-etched pattern*, I have been looking to see what I could do, or rather not do. 

How could I not do the not starting of the packing? Yes, that's right, how could I not do the not starting of the packing? Hmm. Just start it then? Yes, but it’s not happening though.... Why? 

Asking the question more firmly of myself and the ether this morning, I was gently moving around the house tidying and sorting (yes) whilst pondering my not getting on with just that..... (!) And my eye fell on two little laminated cards I make for students from time to time. Thinking of two students I would give these to tomorrow, something said, ‘Give it to yourself, too?’. And, despite being a quotation I use a lot in my work, I saw the card and its words more clearly for myself again.

Of course!! Duh! There it is, was, has been, yet again; the old inner words.... I said them out loud, with full inflection:
‘You ought to be packing!’
‘You’ll never be ready at this rate!’
‘If I were you I’d be all ready by now.’
What are you doing all day if not getting ready?’
‘Why don’t you just do what you’re told?’
‘Everyone else would be ready by now.’
‘Honestly, it’s shocking how you’re not way more prepared by now!’
‘Oh for heaven’s sake, no wonder you’re stressed because you’re not...’
‘I don’t know’ - with a lot of eye rolling...
‘You’ve So Much Stuff! It’s dreadful!’
'It's going be a nightmare, and all your own fault!'
‘Oh dear....’
‘You’re just no good at this, are you?’
‘It’s all going to go badly if you don’t.....’

Ha! There you are! The words which set up my belief that ‘I can’t do this thing’. Which, despite finding me actually doing it, still has me feeling bad as if I'm not. There’s the stress! There’s the ‘advice’ I’d be well advised to silence! Not ignore, for that’s the trouble; doing that is like living with negative white noise, noise my mind thinks it’s not listening to, but it is. As neuro-science now describes to us, we experience every single thing in every single moment of our life, our brain being the thing which works tirelessly to cut out what we don’t need in order that we don’t go crazy with over stimulation. But I can join in with this volume control with my own choice, and I do not want to hear this old stuff any more.

So, how to silence the words? Hear them. Consciously. Face them. Voice them out loud to myself. Feel how it feels to be talked to like that. Ask them to cease their unsupportive and bullying content. Then thank them for their concern and protection. And ask them to leave. 

I call them my ‘shoulder parrots’ - only their numbers often create the need for a long yoke on which to spread out either side of me - and they need to be asked, or even made, to fly, to go; they are old words heard and not necessarily relevant now. 

I know I have to clear and pack. I’ve moved many, many times. And I know it’s hard not having a date yet up to which to work out timings. But, as realised this morning, I am clearing and packing - and have been for weeks - it’s just that in my young life it seemed whatever I did was wrong - that I was wrong - so the old voices are yabbering away, pulling me down into doubt and self-unkindness...

Thanks voices, thanks awareness, thanks little card, thanks Lisa M Hayes; yes, being careful about what I am saying to myself matters, because I was, and am, listening!! 

What are you saying to yourself which, heard and silenced, could make a difference to your day? Say them out loud. Hear them from the outside. Hear how un-true they are. And, only after that, what could you say to your self instead? My words, because they’re true, are, ‘You’re doing just fine. One foot gently in front of the other and it will get done, Annie.’

(*Alexander Technique)