When trying to keep my crazy projections of doom and gloom in check, I have found it's helpful to ask myself, "Am I being attacked by a Lion?" If not then I probably have nothing to fear. So when I read Martha Beck's question of, "Are you currently being attacked by a Velociraptor?" I chuckled to myself and thought, "Hey, I like the way this lady thinks."
For those of you who have never heard of Martha Beck or read any of her work, she is an amazingly funny, wickedly smart woman who has written several books as well as regular articles for Oprah's magazine and websites. (And y'all know how much I like Oprah!)
In Steering By Starlight, Beck talks about "your inner lizard," the old-school, reptilian part of your brain, that thinks of nothing else but "lack and attack." It's this part of my brain that is always coming up with thoughts such as....
"YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE EVERYTHING AND BE HOMELESS AND HAVE TO EAT OUT OF DUMPSTERS OR EAT WORMS AND WEAR TREE BARK TO SURVIVE!! PREPARE FOR THE END!!!" or......
"EVERYBODY YOU KNOW IS ANGRY WITH YOU AND IS CONSTANTLY ON THE VERGE OF CALLING YOU VERY BAD NAMES AND BLAMING YOU FOR EVERY BAD THING THAT'S EVER GONE WRONG IN THEIR LIVES INCLUDING SHIT THAT HAPPENED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN!!! PREPARE TO BE STONED!!!"
Beck advises that it is helpful to recognize your inner lizard, in fact give it a name, visualize it, so that when you have these crazy "what-if or I am under attack!" thoughts, you can imagine patting your lizard on the head whilst telling it to calm down. I would say to my lizard "there, there, you crazy F*&^ing lizard, have some fruit and shut your word hole." Which brings me too........
This is what my lizard "Dementia" looks like. She's always tense, and edgy, and never has enough time, not even to fart or scratch her back (Given that she doesn't even have tiny, little, arms, she obviously cannot scratch her back which could partly explain why she is so edgy)
She thinks of nothing all day besides imminent attack, like this.....
It is Dementia who comes up with all kinds of imaginary problems and scenarios that never come to pass. It is Dementia who wakes me up in the middle of the night and wont let me return to sleep because she is sitting by my bedside screeching "YOUR HOUSE OF CARDS IS ABOUT TO COME TUMBLING DOWN YOU SILLY, SLEEPING FOOL!, GET UP, GET UP, YOU MUST BUILD A BOMB SHELTER OR FIGURE OUT HOW TO WIN THE LOTTERY AT 1 AM, GET UP, GET UP"
I hate her.
I understand the effect that a person's ego can have on their thought process, their personality and their movement through everyday life, and once you recognize the ego in you, it becomes much easier to stand back from your fearful thoughts and see them for what they are.......nothing of real materiality. Worry, stress, fear, anger, etc. are all just shadows of ghosts.........images of things that do not really exist, not in this moment anyway.
I love the "Inner Lizard" analogy, which is why I felt so compelled to share it.
There are a great deal of people I know out there right now, dealing with all sorts of situations, and I hope you do not think in any way that I would ever be making light of anything you are going through. However, there is a great difference between a problem that is RIGHT NOW (like being under attack by a Lion or a Velociraptor or a Hawk) and a "problem" that may or may not come to pass and that even if it does, will likely not leave you behind as a homeless snack for a dinosaur...chances are, in one way or another, you're going to go on, and life will be just fine.
"Everything comes to pass, and everything is already okay."
People......take a deep breath, tell your inner lizard to shut the hell up, and then give it some fruit. (Mine likes avocados). It's not going to go away (as it's firmly attached to your brain stem) but you'll likely find, as I have with Dementia, that you can recognize it for what it is, have a laugh at yourself and carry on.
And for anybondy who read my last blog post, I think it's fairly obvious......I finally got a good night's sleep :)