I’ve been waking the last few mornings to my inner jukebox playing a song by America, I Need You – “like the flower needs the rain … like the winter needs the spring, I need you.” When a song repeats like that, I listen up. While there may be other layers of meaning, this morning I heard the song as my younger feeling-self (Jimbo) appealing to the older, wiser, loving inner adult (Big James). I heard the invitation to remember their connection and re-affirm their partnership in loving this world - a deepening development within me.
The appeal reminds me how easy it is to slip back into the old pattern of another conversation – a louder, harsher conversation – that takes place many times a day between a voice I call the inner judge and Jimbo. The judge, a well-practiced but immature presence with a big megaphone, uses withering criticisms and dire predictions to invite Jimbo to feel ashamed and afraid. Drawing from a large library of mistakes I’ve made over the years, the judge comments on every imperfection and tends to define my younger self in terms of those mistakes and imperfections.
On the other hand, conversation between Big James and Jimbo is gentle, nurturing, playful and sometimes wordless – inviting self-acceptance, self-compassion, creativity, vitality and courage. This conversation combines Jimbo’s vitality and Big James’ wise nurture and calls forth my best, strongest and most loving presence on this planet.
Observing these two conversations is a VAST SELF within me, quietly witnessing – holding in loving spaciousness every aspect of who I am, every voice within. Mindfulness practices, which deepen connection with the quiet witness, help me see the nature of, and feel the impact of, the two conversations. With awareness comes choice. I get to choose which conversation I want to give my time and attention, which I want to nurture and feed. Even when the judge puffs himself up, loudly demanding the inner microphone and provoking me mightily, I still get to choose whether or not to engage.
Once I pay attention – and keep paying attention - the life-affirming choice is clear. And once I’m clear, I can stand firm in my “yes” to one conversation and my “no thanks” to the other.