I’ve been working on creating a workshop but I’m stalled. I was excited about it in the beginning, but over time I’ve also been feeling increasing resistance and heaviness about it. Both the “go” signals and the “stop” signals seemed equally strong, so I knew it was time for a conference with the various parts of myself. I would invite the personalities within me to speak in my journal so that I could discover any disagreements between their perspectives and try to negotiate some truce between them.
So a few nights ago I began a dialog by writing “Who is excited about the workshop—and why?” Immediately an animated, confident voice (coming through my pen) enthused about the fun of discovery in the workshop and the many probable benefits to others and myself, stating all the reasons I began working on it in the first place. Then a thin, timid voice said I needed to finish the workshop because didn’t I commit to it, it would be “weird” to back out, and it might make some people mad.
Sensing no other voices waiting to speak, I then asked who was not happy about the workshop and why. One voice seemed a bit overwhelmed by its scope. Another was testy, sensing she was losing the control she likes. While I was discussing this with her, an exasperated voice cut in “why can’t we ever do anything just for ourselves! Why do we always have to try so hard all the time? What if you forgot about getting stuff done, helping other people, doing all the right things, and just did what you wanted for once!”
WOAH, this was about more than the workshop. And hadn’t I already been working on these issues and making good progress?
I objected that I follow my desires every day since I’m lucky enough to work from home on my own schedule. “No you don’t! You always add tasks to make you feel better, or else you feel guilty that you’re not doing more—more helping the world, more exercise, more meditation, more writing, more art. You never just enjoy yourself!” Then a little girl dared to speak up, sadly, “yeah, we haven’t played in a long time….”
While I sensed that other voices with differing views were present and listening, no one else spoke up.
I asked my inner Wise Woman what she thought of this. She seemed to agree, suggesting gently and lovingly that I give myself some play dates and some creative time.
I checked in with my inner Warrior too, who barked out “What are you afraid of? Who are you trying to please? What do you want?”
I took that as agreement too.
Wow. I guess I have more to learn about this after all.
I set my journal aside to consider what I’d written.
Next morning I woke up feeling stiff and tense. I was planning to go swimming and work out in the lap pool, but I noticed that in the warm therapy pool at the same time was a Water Play class. Oh-oh. Even though I thought I needed an aerobic workout and I did not feel playful, I went to the Water Play class. The warm water soothed my body, and my classmates and I laughed and played like five year olds, forging sweet connections with each other. I touched–and my heart softened around–a deep longing for more tenderness, gentle care and emotional freedom.
One of my favorite poems by Hafiz is “Dropping Keys:”
The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
I see a new layer in it now. Perhaps when our inner “small man” becomes too constricting our sage can begin dropping keys to the many rowdy prisoners inside us.
Wish me luck.
I wish you luck too.
(One resource if you are interested in exploring some of your inner guidance is a wonderful guided meditation to “meet your [inner] committee” created by Gloria Karpinski.)
(The photo on the top of this post is a page I colored from a Kaleidoscopia Coloring Book called “Me, Myself, and Eyes” by Lizzy Blu. The bottom photo is one of my drawings.)
If we don’t play we can’t do.
You’re so right!
This speaks to me on many levels. Thank you, Anne.
I love your drawing. It’s flowing, yet realistic. I searched immediately for the green eyes, greener than mine. You are a lady of many talents.
Thank you Janet. I am so glad it resonated with you. I love that you looked for your eyes!
Lovely piece, Annie! And very good timing.
I’m glad it was useful Joan!