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Building Your Inner World

Years ago as a professional court reporter, I played with the idea of becoming a voice reporter, a person who speaks verbatim words while digitally transcribed in real time. It’s a challenging profession that is still practiced to this day sporadically throughout the country. For fun, I would turn on the radio and repeat verbatim words probably at 250 words a minute. I would usually end the practice laughing and saying “forget it”!

In this light, I have challenged myself with my inside thoughts. These words are not formulated by ad writers or radio announcers. They are streams of consciousness that go on and on in the privacy of my head. They are so easy to ignore as they are common, everyday occurrences I have listened to for approximately 18,000 days of my life. What I discovered was even though I ignore these opinions flying around, I am listening and buying into their message, messages demeaning me, warning me and bullying me.

When I first met my wife Thea almost 15 years ago, I learned about this tiny silver hammer she carried with her everywhere. She found it in a box of See’s toffee brittle candy, as a gimmick designed to break up the brittle. As Thea practiced mindfulness harnessing the stream of consciousness going through her head, the hammer was a reminder to stop it, change it and be nice to herself. It worked!

I know I respond to tender, gentle communication rather than abusive, insulting put downs. I respond to a loving presence rather than a strict and stern presence commanding me to comply. I encourage you to listen inwardly to how you are treating yourself. You have a right to be treated with tenderness, kindness and respect. You have a right to relax your shoulders and allow calmness into your inner world of thought. There’s enough going on in our outside world. We create beautiful places where we reside physically. We also have the ability to do the same with our inner world.

Participants’ reflections:

  • You are speaking to what’s in my head. I am having a tough time. I could hear my bullying language last night. It was hard to say affirmations.

  • I think back to how horrible I treated myself in the past. It is hard to stop it. You have awareness, which is the first step in changing it

  • Thank you. It is a process of awareness. In my yoga practice, in the past, I found that if I forced a posture, I would resist and it wasn’t good for my body. I take that idea into my life. I get further when I practice gentleness with myself. There is an internal pressure I become aware of. I can’t just change it. I pray about it. I always thought I had to push hard. Gentleness, what a concept.

  • When I first started in this meditation group, you spoke to judgment. That night when I went to bed, I heard a noise. I thought it was the cat. But I saw a big alabaster angel. I now realize this stern angel was my stern judgmental self. I was quite shaken by this.

  • We forget that our inner judgmental selves are on same side of table as us. We both want the same thing.

  • The corporation I work for is using this pandemic time to polish our skills using a well-designed program. I couldn’t master something, and I tried harder and harder, working many, many hours at it. Two days ago, I thought I was going crazy, and I couldn’t work anymore than 15 minutes. Then I decided to accept the fact that someday I'll master it and I will focus on the content. It was such a relief.

  • That's a surrender

  • This topic always speaks to me. I remind myself to not compare my insides to others outsides. I’m sure even Mother Teresa beat herself up

  • Very pertinent share re inner judgement, and the shoulds. It’s taking me a lifetime to learn this. My teachers have been gentle. When I was a kid, the dry cleaner lady was so sweet and kind, and she gave me little poems. People have impacted me with love. When I push harder, it doesn’t do it. The messages I got were that I wasn’t trying hard enough. Gentle teachers have taught me to be gentle with myself.

  • I had a dream image last night. Two people on roller skates, holding each other, learning how to skate, surrounded by things that could break. I was watching how they almost hit things, but didn’t, and kept skating and holding. Feels like the love in this group.

  • What a metaphor.

  • The See’s hammer in my pocket was a tool I used when I felt invisible and in fear about speaking up for myself. When that happened, I’d watch my higher power take the hammer out of my pocket and tap me on the toes, forcing the words out of my mouth I was afraid to say. It taught me that I was not alone and I saw safe.

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