There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Voice in my Heart

I have so many voices in my head I often feel like I have multiple personalities.  These voices tell me who I am, or who I’m supposed to be, or what I should say, do and think about the things of this world and the things of my life.

The problem is the voices in my head are not mine.  These voices belong to my parents, past teachers, coaches and friends.  And I listen to them because I think they know what’s best for me.  After all, that’s why they started talking to me in the first place, isn’t it?

“I know what’s best so listen to me.”

And I trusted them.  I trusted that others, because they were older and smarter, knew what was best for me.  So I listened, and I followed.  And they were right.  I have a good life.  I have a wonderful husband and great kids and a comfortable home.

But there’s another voice.  A very quiet voice and it’s not in my head, it’s in my heart.  That one belongs to me.  But I don’t listen to it because the voices in my head are so much louder and much more determined to be heard.

This other voice sits and waits patiently.  And I know it’s there because I do my best to drown it out.  By keeping busy.  By taking care of others.  By staying “plugged in”.  As long as there is noise, the voice can’t be heard.  But it’s still there.  It never goes away. 

And I feel restless.  Because this voice holds the secret to my personal happiness.  It knows my hopes and dreams.  But it doesn’t fight to be heard. It fades off into the background and let’s the voices in my head duke it out.   

I can choose to listen to the voice of my heart but that means trusting that I know what’s best for me and I have long since forgotten how to do that.  I second guess myself, and I ask others for their opinions, and I read book after book after book trying to find the answers.  But they can’t be found out there, they can only be found within.

I have been given a gift.  That gift is my life.  It’s like a candle, burning so brightly. But also like a candle it is growing shorter with each passing day.  Will I let my light burn out without ever allowing the fire in my heart to burn it’s brightest?

Will I let the voices in my head win the day?  Never to be quieted by the voice in my heart that only has to be heard one time.  Just once. And all it has to say is “Thanks, but no thanks. I know what’s best for me.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Does My Gut Say?

I was watching Housewives of Beverly Hills last night…wait, did I just say that out loud?  Ok, yes I am a closet drama junkie.  I realize I should engage my brain with loftier pursuits, but I can’t seem to help myself.  I love reality TV.

So last night, Taylor, (one of the housewives) was talking about her therapy sessions and one of the other housewife’s husbands indicated that therapy was a sign of weakness.  His idea of therapy was basically get over it.

I have been in therapy for years.  Personally it suits me.  Where else can I talk about myself for an hour knowing that my audience is giving me his complete attention, if only because he is paid to feign interest in my pathetic little life.   But I would rather pay to dump on someone than dump all over a friend.   That gets old, plus it would require me to reciprocate, which I’m willing to do, but my willingness and ability to do that is closely tied in with my mood at the moment.

So back to the issue of therapy…is it a sign of weakness?  Is it a tool of the narcissist? Or is it a valid method to improve my mental health?

I go back and forth.  I’m in therapy so obviously I find it helpful on some level or I wouldn’t go, but there are times when I feel that what I need is to get over myself.   Nothing like a good swift kick in the pants to get me to focus outward, not inward. 

But actually I go to therapy because I have lost confidence in myself and my basic instincts.  I doubt my thoughts and my actions and I need someone to tell me I’m on the right track. 

I would like to get to the point where I trust myself again.  Where I’m confident enough with myself that I realize I have everything I need to decide what’s best for me.  I’m just not quite sure how to do it yet…I think I will ask my therapist.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Tables Are Turning

I haven’t thought much about God lately.  I think back to Lent when every post was somehow related to my thoughts and feelings about God and now I hardly think about Him at all.  I haven’t been to church all summer and I haven’t read my Bible. 

I’m tempted to give up on the idea all together.  After all, my life doesn’t look that much different with or without Him, so where does He fit in? What’s the point of believing in God anyway?

Is it to give me strength? Because I don’t always feel His presence even during those times when I feel I need Him most.  And whether He’s there or not I manage to move forward with my life regardless.  So is it Him? Or me?

Is my belief in God simply my get out of jail free card? My ticket into Heaven?  Or do I believe in God because He has the answers on how I’m supposed to live my life?  Does He know the path I’m supposed to follow and I can only find it through Him?  Or is He simply the guy who keeps me in check, keeps me on the straight and narrow, as if the only reason I strive to be a good and moral person is to avoid the wrath of the old man in the sky.

My daughter has just started confirmation class.  This is her opportunity to learn about God and Jesus and decide for herself what she believes and if she will follow Him.  I’m grateful for this opportunity to watch her go through this process.  My hope for her is that she thinks about what she is hearing. That she asks the tough questions and is satisfied with the responses.  So that by the end of the year she knows who God is and what it means to believe in Him.

And I will do my best to stand by silently, not imposing my own doubts and cynicism upon her.  It’s time for my daughter to formulate her own thoughts and opinions about God and faith and life.  And maybe, just maybe, I will learn a little bit more about God through her.