I write this post to talk with you about how I am trying to deal with our world today. My hope is that, upon reading about my sometimes successful efforts, you will feel free to share with all of us whatever vehicles you are using to do the same. We are all in this together!
Conversations with Self
“When we restore peace within ourselves, we have a chance to restore peace in others”. Thich Nhat Hanh, beloved Vietnamese Buddhist monk
I’ve been thinking a lot about these words lately. Thich Nhat Hanh has been part of my mindfulness journey for some time but I find myself seeking out his wisdom now more than ever as the confluence of events this year has plunged me deeper into this pursuit. External events – this pandemic, the forced isolation, the fears and sufferings of so many, the insecurities and uncertainties…all make my quest for inner peace so very difficult. But, ironically,
The quote above has been haunting me. How can I be an instrument of peace for others in our world if, deep within myself, there is unrest? So I breathe, burrow deep, focus, try to let go. I listen to my life.
For now introversion is working in my favor. The limits on social interaction demanded by the pandemic aren’t as difficult for me as they may be for others. Solitude energizes me, as I talk myself into that quiet space, dispelling at least some of the ‘noise’ that wants to dominate my thinking. I remember reading a quote from Jane Austen where she says that the best companions of one of her characters were that person’s own thoughts and reflections! Is that me? Maybe. Listennig to my own self pondering really works…sometimes. Sometimes I emerge from the meditative silence with a modicum of peace restored. But sometimes, not so much. Distractions win out and I need something more.
It is then that I find have to give my heady thoughts a “voice” – outside my head. I turn to my journal to “talk” things through – with myself. When I’m worried, hopeful, grateful…I write. Journalling is a powerful mindfulness tool for me. Along with being an introvert, I am a visual learner – I digest information best when it is there in front of me…writing my thoughts brings them to life. Sometimes these penned conversations take the form of a prayer with my God; sometimes I “talk” with my family or with a friend. But mostly it’s me talking with myself. Sometimes the conversations go on forever. No matter the length, the participants or the issue, they are always truly spiritually rewarding and when I am ready to close my journal – every single time – I am in a calmer and more settled frame of mind.
Yes, these conversations help restore peace within myself.
I can’t end without mentioning all the other, less sane, less mindful instances of me conversing with myself. When I say things like “where did I leave my keys?”, or “why did I open this closet?”, I sometimes wonder if an intervention is in my future.
But, craziness aside, all this talking to myself has become a huge part of my mindfulness journey. Without my realizing it, self-talk is now a very valuable life skill tool for me. It’s healthy and helpful paying close attention to my inner voice.
My hope is that I will eventually get the chance, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, to restore peace to others in my world.
Finally, I know that as I write each post, I am revealing more and more about myself, drawing me way out of my comfort zone. This reality, in itself, is not as hard as I thought it would be and has become a huge part of my mindfulness journey! I hope you, too, will feel comfortable sharing yourself with the rest of our community here at Minding Our Lives. Honestly, my friends, it can be liberating!