It was a dark, wet, winter’s night last November, as I opened the car door and heard a dismissive, scrunched up gnarly voice inside my head. But they’re so much more grounded than you. So much more engaged than you. So much more real…. It trailed on.
I had just spent the previous two hours deep in enquiry with a group of ten or so others. It was Reality London, held monthly by Joanna Watters. Tell me, why are you here?… Tell me, why are you here? Tell me, what is your direct experience right now? Tell me, what is you direct experience in your heart space right now? Simple, intentful questions, asked in twos or threes. Hearts opened, met and witnessed. The kind of work I love.
But this was the second time that I’d left and noticed, after 120 minutes of rich fruitfulness, myself shutting down. Boom, bam, down. Critically undermining the experiences I had just had.
It left me pondering. Why do I feel a need to devalue my experience? Why do I feel a need to rate other’s experiences higher than mine?
What is all of this about? Alfie?
And so these observations continued. Observing the great many times I would swiftly demean my experience and too, I began to realise, my expression of my experience. Youch. It was a tricky one to sit with. But I sensed tangible and wholly vital value in exploring this, as yucky and as irksome as I would much have preferred not to.
And there it went again, just a couple of months ago, at Grow the Grown Ups. This haunting voice of dismissiveness. And I left the camp this year making a pledge to myself; to remember to daily invite greater value into my experiences. From moments big and small.
And it’s been a path I have been following since. Observing my immediate and often overwhelming desire to pull away. My inner-critic fervent to push me down. Keep me down. And applaud those around with a golly-gosh more amount of kudos of being.
Huh! Oh, inner-critic, hello! You, I know you. And I know, or have learned to know in this last year or so, how hugely you want to protect me. As contradictory as it sounds. I know, I taste the quality of your voice, the voice that is waiting, STILL WAITING, until all is safe for me to express, to come into this life. Hello!
You did good girl. You’re not a fiendish friend. You’re not evil or full of malice. You’ve just been waiting. On edge, most of the time. For that window of peace. Calm. Safety. You’ve just been waiting for the world to stop still and let only deep love come in. You funny old soul. Inner-critic, yes, hello.
And so, each time I have been still enough, feet on the ground enough, to hear her and not get carried away, I have paused and invited value instead. The in-flex, the u-turn of the corner, when my darling girl gets ready to push, pull and scream my experience down, I have waited.
I taste it now. Being screamed at, being laughed at. Being ignored. None of these frequent from my family, NO, all of these frequent responses from my family, ensured I kept IT ALL IN. Hell, yeah! Safer. Easier. Protected. Staying small. For others. How fucking, shitting exhausting. Still is.
Hello Value. Hello new friend. Hello space. Grace. Fluidity.
WOW. What a difference a year makes. What a difference. What a different quality.
I notice now the possibility of value in each breath. Yes. Every single inhalation and exhalation there is value.
I notice gratitude. Yes. Gratitude swimming in and out of each and every single breath. When I notice. Yes!
I notice expression. I notice the pulling away, the shying and the hiding of my expression. Hands, head and heart there with my inner-critic, still waiting, poised, hungry for safety. BUT, I notice the opportunity for value. Yes! Every single freaking expression, of breath, of heart, of voice, is just there waiting, full of deep, rich, abundant, funky-full expression.
And this my friends, you and I, with chimes ringing of this holding, this bloody awful culturally learned pulling in, putting down, acclaiming others more gravitas than us, maybe you more than me, I more than you…. Yes, you my friends, every single pulse of being, singing it’s way through your, our bones, shares this equal honouring of value.
Invite it now. Go on. Say hello!
After talking to a couple of friends over the course of a week a month or so ago, both of whom were slightly down in the dumps and in a fug about themselves, a few days later a thought popped into my mind; What if either of them didn’t exist? What if we took them out of the picture? What would it be like? And I knew the answer immediately . There would be two ginormous, fuck-off holes. Not just in my life but in all those around them.
I enquired too for myself. What would the world be like if I wasn’t here? Again, I knew the answer straight away. And with it I understood, deeply, my intrinsic value. And, of course, too of my two dear friends.
And it made me think of the picture of our universe. We all have our place. We all have our purpose of being. We all make up this immense tapestry, the crazy whirlwinds of incessant vibrations, whether you deem someone or yourself, bad or good. Judgements at this level are meaningless. We are here. We have purpose. Our breath, our heartbeats, unequivocally give rise to this.
Doubt is there for a reason. Often it is not our own. Try for a moment to remove yourself from the picture. Observe the outpouring that goes into to fill that void. It is this, this crazy momentous surge, that describes so voraciously your value and it’s mighty, immeasurable weight.
In the words of Leonard Cohen, and many beloved others, Hallelujah!
Image: Cinta Vidal