Even though I’ve grown up in a free country, I’ve spent most of my life behind bars imprisoned by a cruel and tyrannical dictator: My Mind.
Since childhood, the Voice In My Head has belittled, brainwashed, taunted and tricked me into believing I was “too” this and “not enough” that.
It has tortured me with a daily commentary of all the ways that so-and-so is prettier, thinner, calmer, younger, blonder, more normal, more accomplished, organized, athletic, socially-adept, tech-savvy and far less, frizzy, sensitive, clutzy and you-name-it than me.
By dredging up old stories, judgments and mental concepts of how things should look and ought to be, My Mind has sadistically burst the bubble of so many precious moments.
But no more.
I feel freer and lighter every time I choose to tune out the mean, bossy Voice in My Head. And tune in to the wise, compassionate Voice of My Heart.
Years ago, the Voice in My Head issued an edict that I “should marry someone taller and more successful” than me.
Thankfully, I said “yes” to the Voice of My Heart instead.
Or else I would have missed out on 27 mostly glorious years with my magical soul-mate husband. (Although Will’s shorter, I was the one who was shortsighted at first.)
More recently, My Mind has been torturing me with replays of my teenage son screaming: “I hate you!” and “I’ll never forgive you!”
If I’d continued listening to that racket in my head, I’d have missed the heart-warming moment last week when that same 18-year old kid invited me to go with him to get his first tattoo. (If you knew my son, you’d know how honored I feel.)
To me, freedom isn’t about jumping out of an airplane or going to live on a tropical island.
It’s about breaking away from our self-imposed Mind Control and freely choosing how to respond to each and every moment.
Saying “no” to the controlling Voice In Our Head. And “yes” to the more allowing, inspiring and uplifting Voice of Our Heart.
But trust me, some days are easier than others.
Lately, my Mind has been inflicting some cruel and unusual punishment. (Maybe you can relate to this.)
Every time I look in the mirror, that vicious Voice in my Head scrutinizes every single wrinkle, line and spot. (And there are plenty to scrutinize.)
My Mind is on a relentless campaign to render me a fearful, cowering Victim of Age. And I ‘m trying my hardest not to drink the Kool-Aid.
But it’s a challenge. Especially since this February, I’m going to be uh, well, um…..s-s-s-sixty.
Whoa, I can’t believe I just said that. And I didn’t just whisper it to a friend. I blasted it out into cyberspace. (Well, the topic is “freedom.”)
My Mind says, “Face it, you’re over the hill. Whatever you were going to do with your life should have been done by now.”
But My Heart says, “I’ve never felt younger, freer, more myself. And full of possibilities.”
“Here’s a possibility for you: get a rocking chair.”
“No, I told you. I’m starting the Dragonfly Movement to change the way we look at the rest of our lives.”
“Seriously, hundreds of red dragonflies showed up in my backyard just when I was wondering If I was too old to do something new. That was a sign.”
“Yeah, a sign of senility.”
“I’m not listening to you. Dragonflies spend most of their lives stuck in the muck, crawling around the bottom of a pond. They don’t get their wings til later in life. Like so many of us.”
“Ohhh-kaay. So, now you’re a Dragonfly?”
“Well, yeah. And I’m helping to liberate other dragonflies by creating a community of ageless, cageless soaring sages.”
“I GIVE UP!”
“Thanks, I’ve been waiting my whole life for you to say that.”
Now that I’m out on parole, here are some tips that just might help you break free from your Inner Warden:
The clearer you get on who’s voice is talking to you, the more freedom you’ll have in how you respond.
Hint: The Voice In Your Head is critical, diminishing and restrictive. It feeds on your fear (and may resemble a relative or the kind of teacher who would swat a kid with a ruler).
Conversely, The Voice of Your Heart is supportive, allowing and expansive. It’s the voice of a wise dear friend, who wants what is truly best for you. Trust this voice.
Take out the trash.
You know how it feels when you clean off your desk?
Imagine the exhilaration of dumping the old stories, judgments and beliefs into an imaginary trashcan.
So much of what’s in our heads is inherited from our ancestors and our culture. And doesn’t even belong to us.
When a thought comes up, ask “Is this true for me now?” If not, dump it. And create a new story.
Join the Dragonfly Movement.
What if everyone who’s getting older (who isn’t?) joined together and created a new paradigm of what that could look and feel like?
What if instead of fading into the background, we shared our truth, our wisdom, our passions, our gifts and our true colors with the world?
What if we were the wind beneath our wings?
Oh, and one more thing: Have you ever broken out of prison? We’d love to hear about it. (Your escape could help liberate the rest of us.)