When I lived by myself, I would spend hours without speaking. I've never been one to talk out loud to myself, since my mind chatters like a book club after the third bottle of wine all the time. Why add an actual voice to the mix?
My friend Michelle calls it noise, and she's right. So much of my interior monologue is noise, and often noise that does not serve me. When Paul is late coming home from work, my mind asks, "What if this is the day? The day he's hit by a car, and disappears from this world forever?" I drift down on the Good Ship Mindfuck---where would I live? Where would I find work? What men could possibly serve as role models for my boys? How would I get out of bed? How? How? Just as I find my eyes tearing up, I hear the click in the door, and all is right again.
I had a good extended weekend with Paul's family. The rain came on Christmas Eve, and the green grass appeared, fresh and verdant, much like the newborn Christ Child. Others want a White Christmas, but I was happy to see the colors return, saying: We're still here. We endure.
We did what families do---eat, talk, wrap ourselves in the blankets of old stories and familiar laughter. It felt good. And yet---when Owen had his meltdowns, the noise returned. Why does his act this way? Am I too lenient? Do I give him too many chances? What do they think of him? Of me?
I felt like I was on a stage, flapping my arms like a drunken crone, and the audience was wincing, murmuring, wondering, "Who ever told her she could do this?"
I know this is noise. I know that it is dark, and that it does not serve me. Yet, I indulge these fears, these discouragements, these insidious questions. I pick at them, like a jagged edge of a hangnail.
It has taken me almost thirty-five years to recognize when I'm in this state, and I'm working on the really hard part now----acknowledging the thoughts, and letting them fly away.
When I practiced yoga, I felt like I was training my mind to do exactly that. During Savasana, I considered my mantra---often it was "Thank You," or "Let Go," but most of the time it was my baby's name--"Owen." Over and over again, I would think of my son, and my love for him would glow inside me, and I swear that glow was real. As I closed my eyes and listened to my breath, thinking the name of my beloved little boy---here and there, in transcendent miracle moments---the voices stopped.
I want to make this happen more often. For 2010, I want to live with more intention, and less noise. Some call it prayer, some call it the Holy Spirit, and some people have other names for it. I'm not especially concerned about the names, as much as the end goal: to seek moments of gratitude, to stop living in my fears, and to consciously ask God to silence the voices that no longer serve me.