Agreeing Selves

When a person tries to practice mindfulness, I think it mostly means to pay attention to what is going on in your mind or your body, at that moment, and not thinking about the past or fretting over the future, just being one with “what is,” at this time.  Some mornings I awake & feel like I’m the most kind and most loving woman on this earth, or at least in my town, or at least on my street.  Some mornings I wake up angry, and while I can’t say exactly what I feel mad about, I feel like I’m the harshest critic and least compassionate woman on this earth, or at least in my town, or at least on my street.  Some mornings I rise up feeling so excited, with the enthusiasm of a small child on Christmas morning, for the new day ahead of me and all that wondering of what good I might do, or what good might come my way, or what good might happen to somebody I love, and I start those days with the innocence of a person who has yet to be hardened by the realities of life, and I feel like I am the luckiest woman on this earth, or at least in my town, and absolutely on my street.  BUT the funny thing is that some mornings all of these women wake up with me…I am all of these selves under one skin, and that sometimes makes life a little bit complicated.

If I am to practice mindfulness on those days, when I’m all these women at once, what I am mostly mindful of is that my brain wants to go several directions at one time…forward/backward/now…and it’s chaotic and loud and unsettling in there, it’s SO very unsettling.   When I was young I sometimes hid behind the humidifier in the hallway of our house to look at the tv in the living room without my parents knowing.  I once watched my parents watching a movie that frightened me near to death called Sybil.  I don’t remember too much about it but that it was about a woman who had multiple personalities, and she could BE any one of many different people at any given time.  It scared me as a kid and it still scares me now as an adult, how very many of me live here in my head, as recently as right this second!   I wonder, now that I am growing older, that this is maybe not such an unusual condition after all.  It is perhaps far more pervasive than we imagine.  The more women I meet and get to know, the more I start to think that we all are playing too many different characters on any given day, and mindfulness becomes a little bit perplexing and certainly ambiguous when there are so many women to account for.   Some days I feel like I am many different people all rolled up into one; and some mornings I am not sure which one will greet me when I open my eyes to get on with my day, and if I am not sure that I like my morning me, well, there are hours ahead for changes, and I have all day to play my own mind game I sometimes call, “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?!”agreeing-selves One of my favorite prints by an artist whose work I collect, man from Iowa called Brian Andreas, is called “Selves to Agree.”  I bought this particular one in 1998 and no matter what day I look at it, currently hanging in my living room above my bar, I am reminded why I love it…  “I think my life would be easier, she said, if I could just get my selves to agree on something.”   I could have bought it in 1988, or yesterday for that matter, it always speaks to me.  There are some things that parts of me tolerate or wholly accept, which the other parts of me totally abhor.  Some moments have my brain thinking loathsome thoughts and making sweeping conclusions about what must be done and when and why…Boom-Boom-Boom inside my brain, BIG thoughts and BIG decisions…but in a split second, there are other parts of me that pay no mind to any of it, and the Boom-Boom noise and intense energy falls on the deaf ears of the peaceful mellow parts of me…the one who is always having a joyful mind frolic on the dunes, and getting through most of her day without a care in the world.

That these parts of me all reside in between my ears is sometimes problematic, in that, like many women, it takes only one cog in the wheel or pebble in the shoe to throw me off the deep end and unable to sort them all out and find balance.  I don’t know if everybody suffers this way, or if it is just women, or maybe just me, but sometimes I just want to sleep for days until they sort it all out among themselves.  In a Rip Van Winkle-esque way, I wonder sometimes what it would be like to just wake up one day and find it’s all settled, and all those nagging words from all those different voices are quiet.

Yesterday morning I got on with my day with a zip in my step and super positive vibes from a job well done the day before, but before it was even noon, I felt super angry about a situation that came totally unexpected into my life.  Like turning on or off a light switch, just one emotion to the other, flipping from euphoric girl to sorrowful wretch, BOOM!  that fast…BUT this morning awoke in a rather blissful state, as if yesterday’s upset didn’t even happen.  It’s funny, how much like the weather, today is balmy and mild, while tomorrow it’s expected to be bitter cold, dreary gray and snowy, we too can be completely different from day to day…our attitude, our thoughts, our demeanor, our tones of voice, our goals, our expectations…ALL of it can change day to day or even hour to hour…So love yourself, I guess that is the message for today, whichever SELF you woke up with this morning, just love her, and take comfort in knowing that even if she isn’t the one you like best, somebody else might be around by dinner…

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