Letting my “Monsters” rage. My Monster = the anti-everything hard-ass in my head, the devil on my shoulder, the self-judging prude. Find more background on how this makes sense HERE.
BTW, this is supposed to be good for us . . .
The instructions: Let the monster go to town, have a total tantrum, and write it all down in a notebook. Then look for clues, commonly used words, things you KNOW aren’t true. Then you know what to look for next time. You know how to distinguish Guidance and Wisdom from Monster Talk.
When I let my Monsters rage, this is what they said:
“You were worthless today. What did you do all day? (being a mom doesn’t count when your kid is old enough for school and you only have one! And practicing yoga doesn’t count. Neither does ‘planning for classes’ when you only have 1 class to plan. Neither does cooking for your family, because that’s the least you could have done! Excuses for worthlessness!) For what reason do you exist? What do you do for the world? You are not worthy of yoga. You’re lazy – at least you were today. Are you even a good mother? You’re falling through on even the simple things you said you were going to do for yourself:
- morning sit – Daily (NOT just on the days you get around to it) and you were supposed to wake up early to do it before everyone else gets up, not willy nilly when K goes to school and you have the house to yourself and you should be doing other things, meaningful things.
- Walking – you said you were going to take a walk everyday, get the heck out of the house at least once/day. Whatever happened to that? I don’t think you’ve walked anywhere since you came home from Austin – who cares that it’s been raining non-stop . . . you’re lame, lame-o.
(My Monsters are MEAN).
The next step: acknowledge your monster — ok monster, I hear your fear. You seem to want to be supported/valued/loved/etc. And the big question, How can you get those needs met?
Me to my Monster:
Ok monster – you seem to want to feel worthy, validated, useful. You want me (us?) to be a wonderful mother, wife, yogi, and a kind human being who benefits the world. A lot to ask all the time.
These are good, worthy wishes though. Perhaps you are sometimes too hard on me? Perhaps you sense a bit of stagnation and stuck-i-ness in me? Perhaps you are right about what you say, but it would be nicer, less depressing, and possibly less paralyzing if you said it in a kinder way?
I think you’re right about this: I am sometimes stuck in sludgy patterns and habitual responses, and I need destuckification. Good to know. Thanks Mean Monster.
Second Exercise – Pattern Shifting:
The process involves (overly simplified) some brainstorming of what goes on during said pattern, some circles and boxes and arrows, and then putting the pieces in order of occurrence. Read more about it here.
My stuck pattern (what happens on the days I seem walk in circles – like TODAY!):
- wake up past time for early meditation
- feel guilty that I’m so lame I couldn’t have done what I said I was going to and awaken earlier
- stumble into the kitchen to make K’s cereal, rustle him up and into the kitchen, and start making his lunch. Drink a cup of coffee while doing so and
- ask K the same questions I ask every day, “How’d you sleep? Any dreams? Anything exciting/cool going on in school today, etc”. Get the same answers every day: “good” “no” “um . . . not that I know.”
- shuffle him out the door for the walk to school (HEY! I do take a walk everyday!!)
- come home, eat cereal, tidy up, re-heat coffee, go into my ‘yoga room’ and either meditate, plan, think, practice, etc.
- (Maybe go to a class?)
- computer time, email, read blogs, fb, back to email . . . feel like I’m wasting my life away. Close the computer!
- chores, laundry or whatever. walk around in circles wondering what the most useful thing to do is?
- clean something, pet cats, back to yoga space for guidance.
- back to computer
- K comes home: I cook dinner, check email, help with K’s homework questions, cook more, eat, tidy, chat, make K shower, read to him, shower myself, get hooked into computer (NOW I’m interested and my mind is alive and I’m writing and looking things up . . . )
- need to go to sleep b/c tomorrow will be the day that I actually get up early to meditate . . . The cycle continues.
My Cuddly Scientist (Cuddly Scientist = curious and kind, play with the variables, try different combos and methods) says: mix it up, have a to do list and stick to it, don’t let the habits and stupid sameness hook you and suck you down! It’s not rocket science.
-go for a random walk in the rain – it’ll be FUN!
-wake up early dammit!
– take an after dinner walk with K and B, with Hot Chocolate?
– ask K a bizarre question or 2 – change it up.
– get OUTside (even if it’s into the gloom and rain – the whole day will be better.)
P.S. I seem to have an unhealthy obsession with the idea of USEfulness, and a compulsion to BE useful at all times, or at least my Monster does . . . Plus, my Monster appears to want me to be saving babies for a living, or else I’m not useful enough . . . maybe that’s why my original career was in social work?
Also, my Monster is crabby and unreasonable, I wonder whose voice it is . . .