Inner Voices & Choices

Last week, I made a discovery of yet another way the ego uses the spiritual teachings we learn in order to keep us in its confused little grip. Whether a limitation of the teachings I have learned or merely my misinterpretation of them, I believed that all the voices inside my head were meant to be ignored.

The Toltec have this concept of a mitote or marketplace inside of us. There are many characters in this marketplace all vying for our precious attention. This mitote feeds off our energy eliciting numerous emotional responses within, especially when we are not aware of them. The loudest voices run the show. So if we have an inner saboteur who is always whispering “You can’t do that!”, we navigate our lives assuming that is true. Our choices reflect that strongly-voiced belief. The path to personal freedom, then, is learning to hear what’s being said and not believe it.

This teaching was essential to me in becoming aware of all the programming in my head. But somewhere along the line, I started morphing this idea of “not believing” into “dismissing.” It’s a fine point. Maybe I did so much weeding of voices that weren’t mine in the past that I completely failed to hear the ones that were mine. Today, I realized that the disparate voices inside of me want only to be acknowledged, not steamrolled, as I have been prone to do. They are longing to be acknowledged and given consideration, followed by a really big hug.

During an awesome massage, a friend and bodyworker helped me to talk to each of these sides of myself that have been so confused over this move to France. For example, I have the gung-ho spiritual-warrior-woman who has wanted nothing more than this adventure her whole life. “Ooh, is that a precipice? Let’s jump!” She knows with her whole heart what a deeply healing growth experience this will be. She wants to test her mettle, face the challenge, and emerge victorious with her beloved.

I also have the responsible one. She is quite perturbed because I am “in love” and not thinking straight, in her opinion. I’m throwing away the life I…er…we have worked so hard to build. She’s loaded with a different set of metaphors claiming I am putting all my eggs in one basket and risking severe burn by walking through fire. She wants nothing more than for me to slam on the brakes. With every step forward, she is yanking me back.

In cahoots with the responsible one is the doubter. Full of “what if’s”, she just thinks I’m a total and complete nutter for trusting in any of this. She poo poos love and instead warns of catastrophe and a lifetime of regret should I proceed. She tries to convince me my feelings aren’t real, my thoughts aren’t to be trusted, and my decisions are all backwards. While the responsible one is just “concerned”, the doubter is insidiously fearful and negative.

These voices are still just voices, but maybe they each have a point…or at least a message to consider. No one voice gives a complete picture. No one voice should be running the show or allowed to drown out the other voices. In fact, I understand now that they need to be embraced as aspects of myself and integrated into a well-informed whole.

In speaking with these three aspects, I remembered two significant events when I was about 5 years old. In the first, I was looking out the window into the backyard when I saw my father with another little girl and her father. She was on my rocking horse. I asked my mother what she was doing on my horse and was told I never played with it anymore and the girl wanted it. I remember feeling miffed. It was my horse. At this same time, I remember looking for what I called my ki’ykat, which was my baby blanket. I couldn’t find it anywhere. When I asked my mother where it was, she called it a ratty old thing that I was too old for anymore. Now, I liked the sound of being grown up, but I really, really wanted that blanket! I also remember my building blocks, which I loved playing with, not being there when I wanted them. Poof!

What I didn’t understand then was that my family was in bankruptcy. There was much being sold and preparations being made to move to the opposite end of the US. So my memory of loss/moving/starting over is entangled with the complex emotions that my parents and older siblings had at the time. I was simply too young to understand all the grief in the house. My own hurt feelings somehow didn’t seem to matter. I can only imagine what it was like for my parents to have to greatly reduce such a large household for a cross-country move with 5 children. At the same time, my heart aches for the little girl who didn’t understand why things that were important to her meant so little to everyone else. She had no control over what she prized. She wasn’t “in the loop” and her true feelings were…yep…discounted.

Now, 40 years later, I am selling everything to move overseas, jumping into the great unknown. It is no wonder this little girl is revisiting and that she is somewhat anxious with all she sees happening. She was completely discounted and kept in the dark once before. So, I take her in my arms and hold her. I listen to her. And I promise her everything will be okay. This not only helps her, but it seems to help bring balance to the other three amigos I wrote about.

One other thing I realized which really surprised me was finding that the quiet voice of my heart was being completely drowned out. The warrior, the responsible one, and the doubter have been so vocal (and getting louder in their attempts to get me to listen) that I could no longer here the sweetness of my heart…the one with complete faith, the one that trusts whatever the outcome. With room for her to speak again, she swelled with the joy and love and gratitude I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever feel again!

I’m beginning to understand at a whole new depth the meaning of integration.