The voice in your head is nonstop: I need to ______, I am ________, I should ________, I haven’t _________, I wish I had _________. The list seems never-ending; continuous and unbroken. It’s your own voice speaking in that monotonous, parental tone, driving you ever onward. If you do finish one project, it seems two others take its place. You’re so busy moving into the future, you don’t even have time to give yourself a pat on the back.

It’s easy to mistake that voice for the real you. Too easy to be swallowed up by a never-ending flow of activity. With electronics, too easy to be connected, to be called to attention by a leash of information. Too easy to move into that reactive state. I heard of a woman who described herself as a FOMA or defined by a Fear Of Missing Out. Always needing to be “in the know.”

Along that line, my computer died a few years back. It just quit on me. The screen went slowly to black. And there I was. You know how it is, don’t you? Feelings of panic and loss overwhelmed me. Up to that time, I didn’t realize how much time I spent with that machine. You might even say it was a constant companion. I had to order another one, and I was lost for a time. I was forced to taper off my chit-chat, my distractions. I also had an excuse to slow down my never-ending movement, the compelling urge to “do something.” Now I’ll admit, gearing down was not quick nor easy, but my brain appreciated the break. I got in touch with myself. Rest and quiet were what I needed, and I think you might, too.

It’s the beginning of summer. Let’s shift gears and take another look: who are you? The nattering voice in your head? Or are you something more? The quiet deep within you is your essential nature, your authentic self. Without the real you, there’s no genuine perception, no original thoughts or real feelings.

But how to get there from here? Let me share a few suggestions I’ve gleaned from my life.

  • Start small. When you’re taking a hike or sitting on the porch, merely be with Mother Nature. Be aware of your physical sensations: the way your feet feel on the ground, the breeze gently touching your face, the feeling of your clothes on your body. It doesn’t take hours of meditation. Get reacquainted with the real you.
  • Take a break from electronics and television. Distraction can be beguiling, moving on to the next diversion, adding to your mental clutter. Turn off your phone. Get away from the computer. Tuck away the Kindle. Just be for a while.
  • Slow down, then silence the voice in your head. Ever notice when you’re running around in circles with tasks in the future and heaviness of the past, your inner voice speeds along barely taking a breath. Take a disruptive sentence (I need to call Aunt Martha) and slow down the words. Or scatter the words into nonsense. Or toss them into the sky and watch them float away.

The voice that matters is the silent, kind voice of aliveness and awareness. Ready to venture into an astonishingly serene place? Or are you satisfied with where you are now?

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