“Wear your ego like a loose fitting garment.” – Buddha
We all have Covid (mild, thankfully) and are on day 99 (feels like) of quarantine. The one household member that doesn’t have Covid, the cat, is on a diet because a recent trip to the vet for her check-up revealed that she’d gained a lot of weight under all that fluffy fur. On top of that, she has to put up with us all home and as you can see in featured photo, my daughter trying to shoot her with a water gun. So, I think it’s fair to say that we’re all a little grumpy.
In the midst of this, I’ve noticed something interesting. We do pretty well until right around 6pm. Then it turns into a scrum unless I can find a way to redirect the energy.
What I find fascinating is that corresponds with about the same time of day that the voice in my head turns self-critical. The other night I was getting ready for bed and thinking about a proposal that I needed to do the next day when my inner narrator popped up with “There’s no value you can add for them that they can’t already do themselves.”
What?? The voice was talking about what I have done for 20 years that I do day in and day out and I know based on my track record of doing it for happy clients that keep me employed that I do it very well.
This reminds me of the preface to Dan Harris’ book 10 Percent Happier in which he said the working title for his book was “The Voice in My Head is an Asshole.” My voice doesn’t usually stoop to that level until after about 6pm. And then it is always a JERK!
I am a congenital optimist. For example, when I gain weight, it usually makes me think, “Well, at least I don’t have one of those hard-to-detect cases on cancer where the primary symptom is unexpected weight loss.” There is nothing I have knowingly done to foster this optimism but life has largely worked out for me – or maybe it hasn’t and I just think it has because I’m an optimist?
That’s the problem with the voices in our heads, right? They are completely subjective, often influenced by food and sleep and given how much they change in a day, totally unreliable. But I like my optimistic voice, just not the self-critical voice that kicks in for the evenings.
This is where meditation has saved me by creating an awareness that these voices are not me. That if I sit with ideas, actions and my path for a little while, a way that rises above the fickle swings presents itself. As the quote from Buddha above suggests, wearing the ego like a loose fitting garment helps remove it more easily. Just a moment’s space between thought and speaking or action can allow peace to prevail.
This gives me an idea for the rest of our quarantine. Maybe tonight I’ll try to get the kids to sit and meditate with me after dinner and we’ll have a completely peaceful and cooperative transition to bed. As you can probably tell, I’m writing this in the morning when my optimist voice is strong…. 🙂