Look Who’s Talking!

Do you have a nasty little (or BIG) voice in your head?  I find most of us do.

Studio portrait of woman standing under chalk cloud

Image source: huffingtonpost.com

I was on the phone the other day with one of the most empowered women I know.  We hadn’t talked in a while so there was a lot of ground to cover.  To my surprise our major discussion landed on shame.  You know, that icky “I’m a worthless piece of crap” emotion.  The one that’s right up there with fear and guilt for causing body image to head south real fast.

She shared about being caught in a “shame spiral” because she’s just a stay-at-home mom and not doing more with her business.  I was shocked!  She’s not “just” a stay at home mom.  She’s an entrepreneur with two incredible websites, her own book on mindfulness and several more amazing projects in the pipeline.  All that’s beside the point though.  Even if she didn’t do that work, even if she didn’t create and nurture two magnificent human beings and care for herself, her husband and friends exquisitely, she would still be worthy.  She would still be enough.

Can you relate to this struggle?  I know I can. 

As I walked the next morning I could not help but wonder, who’s voice(s) are we listening to in those moments when we feel ashamed of ourselves, of our lives?  It’s certainly not the voice of our soul. This conversation reminded me of my favorite part in Geneen Roth’s book Women, Food and God.  In her chapter titled Tigers In The Mind, Ms. Roth discusses the inner critic and how we allow it to influence what we believe and how we feel.  She explains that the inner critic is not who we truly are, or what we really believe in our heart’s but that it’s loud, that it “roars like a tiger” drowning out our deeper knowing.  She addresses how the inner critic is born.  My favorite sentiment in the chapter is this, “The inner critic is, in large part, made up of other people’s voices from our past.  Ironically, these are people we wouldn’t even stop to ask for directions today!”

Oh so true…for me anyways.  I walked on and reflected deeper into where the harsh agenda I still carry for myself comes from.  Body wise I’ve done tons of work on this and rarely struggle with painful body image unless I’m not allowing my emotions or creativity to flow.  On my path to peaceful body image I had to acknowledge that the body obsessed females in my family, the boss at my first job who called me thunder thighs, and my horse trainer’s constant weight loss coaxing helped create my “ED (eating disorder) voice” that drove my self-harming behaviors. 

I went through a process of watching those thoughts, following them back to their origin and releasing them back to the people who shared them.  Through what I now understand is the practice of Loving Kindness Meditation, I forgave those folks and focused on loving them and myself.  An important part of this process was feeling through the pain they triggered in me so I could authentically come to a place of compassion.  Only then would the nagging, negative voice in my own mind fade away.

Sometimes we can pinpoint “the voice” to specific influences like in this example.  The tigers in our minds, however, can also be fear-based patterns entrenched in the collective consciousness.  I find this comes up for women who’ve worked their way past self-destructiveness and are in the process of manifesting BIG stuff.  I think this was the “not enoughness” my friend and I were experiencing recently.  You don’t necessarily have to know the source of the suffering.  You must, however, embody your emotions in the present moment and work to heal those wounds and remember your worth.  

The path of yoga guides us in this.  The practice is about mainly about connection and compassion.  In meditation we connect to our thoughts and emotions by “sitting” with them.  This  empowers us to stop being controlled by the compulsions to do, do, do and instead simply be and know that we are whole and worthy regardless of size, shape, weight, achievements, wealth, etc..  Through asana (yoga poses) we ground back into the body where we access our pain and move it through which is ultimately what clears the mind.  Tuning into the flesh turns up the volume of our soul’s song freeing us to be at peace and live our life’s purpose at our own pace.

The next time you find yourself slipping into a shame spiral take a moment to pause, look at who’s talking and nurture yourself back to the Truth; that you are ATMAN-Spark of the Divine baby and you are worthy not matter what.  Here’s some musical inspiration by my friends the Troubadours Of Divine Bliss to help you remember you’re awesomeness.  This whole album is AMAZING.  I suggest gifting it to yourself or a friend.  Check out this clip from Soul Song.

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