Self criticism as a default setting : laying my soul bare

I seem to be able to punish myself no end when I get stuck in my own head, that said there is also a great sense of loneliness that so often seems to dog me from deep down within my soul. It is not something that I find it easy to articulate however I watched a very interesting short film on Sunday on the ABC programme Compass which was about a man who suffered the loss of his brother when he was only 2 years old and of course the death had a huge impact on his mother. She said of the period following her loss that she “was so lost that she felt like a robot”.

The man whose name was Peter later in life struggles from anxiety, depression and social phobia however he turned his sense of isolation towards a good purpose by building himself a robot costume which he uses to go out into the community as a street performer. Out in every day society he engages with the elderly, little ones and the general public through humour and using as much validation as he can in his connective performances. The man’s name is Peter “Tubby” Cooper as Tubby is the name he gave to his alter ego robot personality.

When Peter was speaking of his isolation in an early part of the programme that is what most resonated with me. He said that often he sleeps in the car or out in nature as he feels so much anxiety if he just stays inside at home. He also shared that he often feels set apart through the wound of separation that he carried. I sensed that in the climate of grief surrounding his brother’s death it was not easy for him to be seen or related to, I had a sense that he had been left all alone with the confusing feelings not really having anyone much to help him make sense of them when he was young. Part of me felt sad that in his connective ‘performances’ none of this painful truth came out, but that said he helps to make others laugh and smile with his performances and brings some joy to their days.

I noticed today that I struggled a lot following my final therapy with my fill in therapist yesterday. I noticed in the absence of my usual therapist, Kat how my fill in therapist was working with me more on the level of my body and feelings. When I was with her I could connect to my pain and work with my pain in the body to find soothing for the distress, she also told me of a really great book to help work with the pain of early childhood invalidation which I will share below. In the session yesterday, Marion was helping me to connect inwardly to my body in the sessions in such a way that the pain of my body symptoms does not overwhelm me quiet as much, or if they do she helped give me techniques to soothe the sore and hurting feelings. It was my last session with her yesterday and in many ways I think this may have sparked some pain for me today. I am bit anxious about Kat coming back next week. I don’t fully understand what is going down with me right now.

Today I took myself off to town for lunch, because I was sick of making every single meal. I was feeling very isolated today and there was so much self criticism going down in my head. I listened to an interview with a woman who left her city life and job behind to go on long walks in nature and when she returned to the city she notice how much advertising there was, how much drama and turmoil people were involved in and how much ‘stuff’ she had. I think after she returned to the city she ended up selling the majority of her stuff, throwing her high intensity job and walking more in nature. She got work then as travel writer and completely changed her life. Well for some reason this just tapped into all my feelings of shame and guilt about how much ‘stuff’ I have accumulated since moving into my house and the amount of shopping and bower birding I have done in these past eight years. I am always collecting stuff on our walks, whether its rocks or stone, or lost and found items, like kids toys we find close to the play park, books, jewellery, clothing or other trinkets all of this ‘stuff’ finds its way to my house which is an eclectic mix of all kinds of found items.

Someone who visited my house this year actually said how much she loved my house as each room is full of soul. She was from out of state and when we met by chance because she was looking for a neighbour she came in and asked if she could do a ‘tour’ of my place because she is an artist with a love of birds like me and she was intrigued by all the bird related bric a brac I had, which includes a turquoise lamp with peacock designs, a matching glass plate that I found years later at the charity shop, two glass blown birds inherited from my mother, bird sculptures and statues including a metal lamp with four candle holders featuring birds in flight, a pottery owl and a wooden piece of art work with birds carved out and reverse painted in cream to make the wooden carved out portions of oak stand out.

When I come back home and see that I have been in a beat up earlier I am in a better position to see that for me all my so called ‘stuff’ is comprised of soul energy and has meaning, its not just empty to me, then the criticism I suffered and struggle with earlier dies down, that said I often wish that I had been relating to people more over these past years than just isolating and collecting stuff. and even as I struggle to type this I see at times my head and thoughts and thinking and judgements get carried away…….I get into a beat up on myself and before I know it the inner critic is spinning me out and I am getting a headache. I also started boxing up some of my things to give to charity as I felt so guilty for having them…. maybe I do need to do a bit of clearing out but as I have shared before sometimes I regret getting rid of ‘stuff’, that said I don’t want to be possessed by all of my soul called possessions.

Today I practiced some time of just doing breathing and resting in my heart as an antidote to all of this head chatter/judgement. I struggle with managing the cascade of anxiety symptoms I get in my body especially around lunch time. I practice in meditation today after I ate a big lunch and found myself a bit overwhelmed. I decided to send love to my body and pain and I came up with the following meditation which seemed to help.

Healing love radiates through every cell of my body.

I am safe.

Healing and forgiveness pour into my hurting places and I show myself and all living beings compassion knowing how difficult life often is.

I hold every pain, disappointment or sorrow tenderly with compassion, love and forgiveness.

I am safe. I am held. I am loved.

I wanted to just share how I struggle on my blog this afternoon. I seem to get myself into a difficult judgemental head space a lot. I am always seeking new ways to soothe myself and my anxiety and I am not always successful, I want my blog to be a positive space and I want to nurture the positive but laying my soul bare here is also my primary purpose in writing and sharing.

The book my therapist recommended and I read through parts of which were SO HELPFUL IS :

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