by Joel Levin, Western Australia
It has taken me some time to track these guys down, but I can now put a name on some characters who do everything in their power to stop The Way of the Livingness becoming my way.
What is The Way of the Livingness? It is simply a way of living that is in deep connection and respect of yourself – so that you bring that same depth of connection and respect to others and everything you do.
The first character that tries to get in my way of living is not very nice and not very easy to get along with. ‘Tiny’ is his name. Tiny just wants me to fit in, to not make waves, to not feel wonderful and to not enjoy the simplicity of life. Tiny is great at using fear and comparison. He baits me with simple questions like ‘what if ‘x’ happens?’, ‘why aren’t you ‘there’ yet?’, ‘you’re not as good as x’…. I’m getting much better at not getting hooked into answering Tiny’s questions. I’ve noticed that if I start answering these questions, it doesn’t take long before it feels like he has put one hand on my head and one on the base of my spine and squeezed me tightly. Tiny is good at making me feel tiny.
I can sidestep his games by appreciating myself more and noticing a similar appreciation of others. Tiny feels tiny… when I let myself feel how huge people can truly be.
This is when Tiny brings in his backup partner. Let’s call him ‘Bruiser’. Bruiser is bit of a bully and likes to push me around, call me names, and make sure I focus on every fault I have. He also likes to remind me of all those things I ‘need to get done’ or haven’t done yet. It can be a real drain to live with him and it can feel like walking through mud on the day I decide to march to his tune, rather than my own.
Strangely, getting around Bruiser can be easier than Tiny because his approach is so forceful. On the days I remember to move at a pace that works for me, it’s easy to see him coming. It doesn’t stop him from trying, but by moving at my pace, and not his, it seems to create a wake around me that Bruiser just can’t cross.
On the days that neither Tiny or Bruiser have any effect on me, they call on their boss, ‘Neville’ (I have just decided to call him Neville to make him sound less sinister). Neville has a lot of pride, and plays every and any game in the book – the ‘wise’ sage, the helpless child, the repentant son and even the willing student.
Neville is tricky and will tell me whatever I want or need to hear, so that I back-off feeling myself, thinking for myself, or enjoying myself. My success in getting around Neville is fleeting, but becomes more of a reality each day I remember to feel myself first.
The moment I feel first (both me and the rest of the world), I know what is true and what is part of his game.
From time to time, these characters and their games still catch me out. After all, they are aspects of me that I created and have chosen to live with – in the strange belief they were somehow there to help me. The cleverest trick of these internal bullies is their ability to make it seem that they are more powerful than me – but all they ever had over me is my own choice to play the game they were offering. All they have had over me is a mis-held belief that life is better when you’re locked in some kind of internal struggle.
Everything I have ever needed to set myself free from this struggle has always been inside of me. It is the deepest truth I have ever felt – my own love – and my own willingness to live that love, and the joy that comes with it in a world where people are battling their own versions of Tiny, Bruiser and Neville.