Monday, April 6, 2015

The Prison In My Mind: Part 3, The Voice

 So, uhm, it's been a while, things at work have been busy and I moved at the end of last year and there's been a few teething issues, I think for the time being I might reduce my posting schedule to once a month to keep everything in balance.

In the last part of this series we looked at shackles and how they limit movement, in this part we're going to look at the voice. You know, that one, the one that always tells you that you can't escape. The one that knocks you down a few pegs... Or more.

I used to think I was crazy to have a part of me that always second guesses me, always drags me down and I thought it was abnormal. I have however since learned that a lot of us, if not all of us, seem to have this part of us that always seems to whisper "What if you're wrong?", or "Are you really sure you can do this?".

It really drives me crazy and it happens a lot, in some pointless things as well as serious things.

For instance at work, I've been working on a huge project and I've taken a particular approach which was considered a bit unorthodox, but after all my initial testing the whole thing ran painfully slow. I then tested my code relentlessly until I could find no reason for the slowdown, I then on a whim deleted some other... Not strictly required code, wouldn't you know it, it ran blisteringly fast?

Yet, my first reaction was that it was my fault the whole thing had slowed down. Even when confronted with previous experiments that showed my code was fast, I assumed it was my fault.

I like to think of it as the cell mate or guy in the cell next to you, the faceless insubstantial voice that talks at you and tells you that you're crazy when you talk of your hopes and dreams and what you will achieve when you get out.

I can imagine it now "Haha! You think you're ever going to get out of here? That's hilarious! Face it, you're locked in here with the rest of us."

Now, perception is a funny thing, everything in that sentence is a lie and frankly, this is my mind and I'll do what I want inside it and if I want change, the voice has to realise something...

With that in mind, my voice, which for the purposes of this blog I'm going to call "Harvey", why? I'm glad you (didn't ask). I watch a lot of cult tv, and I thought I'd discussed of one of my heroes in 'Who do you want to be?' but apparently not.

Context: Farscape is a sci-fi show created by Rockne S. O'Bannon and in partnership with the Jim Henson company, basically, after a rather long and complicated series of events the protagonist ends up with another consciousness in his brain. It often manipulates him and keeps him down, he refers to this entity as Harvey. Once he wrests control of his mind back from Harvey he frequently keeps the unwanted 'guest' in a trash can in his mind...

Look, just watch it and it'll make sense, OK?

It’s a nice comparison, because Harvey is an invasive series of thoughts and words. Isn’t it also true that many of our issues didn’t come from within ourselves, they’re usually the result of someone saying or doing something that hurts us and we keep with us?

When I have that overwhelming sinking feeling of being totally inadequate due to all the stuff I’ve accumulated in my mind over the years, that’s Harvey. A big ball of stuff can’t be addressed, it’s just... There. It is what it is and how do you deal with it?

Given a name, give it form (at least in the show) but more practically, give it limitations, and I can hear myself be self deprecating and I know I am not living and feeling a free life, like I’m supposed to. Yet I can think to myself ‘Shut up Harvey’ and know fine well that I’m not what was spoken over me, or I’m not what I came to believe about myself. It is just the echoes of the past bleeding into the present.

Harvey represents the wrong attitude, part history, part doubt. Harvey is all that crap that accumulates over the years that was never supposed to lived with, the stuff that was supposed to have been let go years ago and just couldn’t be. Harvey and what he says represents that horrible twisted comfortable pained place where one could retreat and just feel like crap, because it was my crap and I knew how to deal with it.

Harvey is all the stuff I need to as a person, deal with and let go of. He is just a metaphor, a way to visualize all that stuff that I know I need to deal with and classify and label as ‘stuff that hurts and holds me back’. I found it difficult to tackle each issue individually and some of my stuff is interlinked such that one thing triggers another thing and my mind has some crazy cascading melt down and one word from a person can set off a chain reaction of hurt that shouldn’t have happened.

Life shouldn’t be like that.

It just wasn’t working for me to have an unnameable, formless void of stuff that seemed so insurmountable that there was no point trying. I mean, why is it that it was easier to believe that my God was finite, but my stuff is infinite. I clearly had it the wrong way around.

Today I’m choosing to, in my own crazy way, place limitations on my stuff and let God have the infinite place in my life.

I don't believe there's an actual person in my head, but I do believe that certainly an ongoing battle for the ownership of my mind and the sooner I admit that there's action I need to take to ensure I don't lose the battle the better. When second Corinthians 10 talks of holding every thought captive I like to think that this is what it means, a full on occupation with armed guards at every synapse. Cos, I’m not trapped in here with my thoughts…

Til next time.

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