By: Rebecca Liston
I took a swim in our pool at lunch yesterday and part of me felt a bit like I was getting away with something. A swim sandwiched between a morning of team meetings and an afternoon of client calls?! A little voice in my head (the source of which I shan’t name to protect their identity LOL) said, “How unprofessional!” And another jumped in with an eye roll and a hearty, “I can’t believe she thinks she actually works for a living. Humph. In my day, we didn’t even take a lunch break! We just powered through!” Nevertheless, I swam.
Last night I had dinner out with my husband for our anniversary. I dearly wanted steak for dinner, something we don’t often have at home as my daughter, who does most of our cooking, isn’t a fan. This particular restaurant offers a steak special each evening – it’s always different and often changes as the evening unfolds depending on the chef’s delight. As such, the steak never has a price listed on the menu. Again came that little voice, “How can you possibly order something when you don’t know how much it might be? That thing could be a hundred bucks for all you know! I think you better set your sights on the fish and chips instead.” Another voice muttered something about inflation and gouging of customers and yet another piped in with some line about champagne tastes and beer budgets…but…nevertheless, I ordered the steak.
When the waitress came around to share the dessert lists, well, you know where this is going. “How much more do you really need to eat tonight, missy? Haven’t you had enough? You barely touched your broccoli…” “If you keep eating like this, you’re going to get the gout!” “Aunt Sue always had to have dessert – she just couldn’t say ‘no.’ Now look at her! Diabetes!!!” Nevertheless, I ordered the chocolate ganache with toasted marshmallows and salted caramel and ate every bit.
Dear Reader, I share these personal stories with one intention: To help shed awareness on the little voices that reside within all our heads.
Voices of parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, strangers on the bus. Bullies, friends, co-workers, bosses, and the woman at the dog park. These voices can be from years gone by or just last week, but no matter, for at some point we adopted them, and they are now in our heads…and often, they’re pretty loud.
So loud, in fact, that they can drown out the other voices – our Wise Self, our Sovereign Inner Child, our Body, our Guides.
So loud, in fact, that we can mistake them for Truth.
And herein, Dear Reader, lay the rub: Just because we hear them, just because they’re in our heads, does not make what they say to be True. Not by a long shot…no matter how loud they are, no matter how insistent, no matter how hard they try…they are not Truth, and it is oh-so-important to know this because otherwise…
You wouldn’t swim at lunch even though swimming calms your Mind and it was 96 degrees outside.
You wouldn’t order the steak even though your Body actually needed and craved that red meat.
You wouldn’t eat dessert even though your Inner Child delighted in the fact that it was topped with roasted marshmallows and popping candy.
These Voices of Others do not belong to us. They do not reflect Who We Are. They can’t possibly know what is best for Us. And once we recognize and acknowledge this, we can let them say their piece, thank them for their service (because, ultimately, they think they’re keeping us safe), and tune our inner ears instead to those whose council we really do need and want.
Our Sovereign Inner Children. Our Wise Selves. Our Bodies. Our Hearts. Our Souls. Our Guides. Our Trusted Mentors. God. Goddess. The Universe. The Collective. Source. By whatever names you know these aspects of Self, these are our trusted allies. These are the voices we must strive to keep centre stage.
Does that mean that Aunt Sue’s advice about eating too many sweets and drinking too much wine should go unheeded? Does that mean you won’t “get the gout” if you do so? No, not necessarily. What I mean is that we need to learn to release the bonds these voices can have, we need to separate what is helpful and accurate from what is tainted with the fears and worries of others, and we need to discern what serves us from what does not. (Not always easy, I might add, but oh-so-necessary.)
It takes practice and patience to work through what can sometimes feel like a tangled, muddy mess in our brains. It takes time to build the muscle of discernment, and to learn to rely on our True Allies. It’s a process of unravelling and tracking and inquiry, of leaning in, of blessing and releasing, of unfurling and trusting, trusting, always trusting.
And you won’t always get it “right.” No one does. Some days I won’t swim at lunch. Sometimes I’ll pick the fish, turn down the dessert. But I, like you, am a work in progress…and I’ll keep unravelling and inquiring and listening and releasing…and trusting, trusting, trusting right alongside you.
Rebecca Liston is cofounder and business intuitive at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. She specializes in anchoring folks in a clear-eyed understanding of which path is theirs for the taking. She’s got one foot in the land of the subtle and unseen, and the other foot firmly planted in the land of ruthless pragmatism. Oh, and she swears like a sailor, which makes us love her more.
Get letters like this one, plus updates, insights, and invitations, delivered right to your inbox every week. Here’s the sign-up.