The Inner Critic

During my first trip to Japan, Saraswati Devi taught me to ask myself where my thoughts were coming from, to recognize when they were rational and when they weren’t. At the time, this helped greatly with the problems caused by my extremely open head. I could and did get random drop-ins from “visitors” who were not good guests. Being able to spot the patterns in my own brain helped me know when to tell an intruder to kindly fuck off.

I’m pretty sure I need to reapply these methods, as I’ve been sitting with a lot of heavy feelings regarding my spirituality lately. I’ve tried to untangle the knot of ugly thoughts in my mind, but I only seem to end up more tightly bound in them than before. I fret endlessly over whether I’m “good enough” or “doing things the right way.” It’s a cycle of self-doubt that I’ve acknowledged repeatedly, but can’t ever seem to break.

I think it’s time to reapply these methods to my inner critic. Who are these thoughts serving, and are they really helpful? I’ve struggled with negative self-talk my entire life. It’s an intruder in my mind and I’m about to tell it to fuck off. Unkindly.

An Anecdote

Have you ever played with a spirit board? You know, like one of those Ouija things that Parker Brothers sells. When I was a child, they were incredibly popular! Well, at least among my little circle of friends…

Now, I was probably the only child in our neighborhood who ever played with a Ouija board without ever trying to “cheat” on my friends to scare them. I swear this to you on Sarasvati, and on my vows as an Upashika. I never faked a Ouija reading. My friends were rarely so pure-hearted. I had a babysitter once produce a reading that said I would marry the neighbor boy I always hung out with. Of course, she also gave me the nickname “Anus,” so there is that…

Then there was the one time I actually managed to get something on the “other end,” so to speak.

My friend and I were alone upstairs in the aforementioned Anus-nicknaming Babysitter’s house. It was very, very quiet. We’d done a couple of “readings.” (My friend pushing the planchette, I’m sure). This time, there was something…different…about the way the planchette was moving.

My friend stared at me. Her eyes were wide. She was startled. Terrified. I smiled at her. Why not? I was still having lots of fun. Why was she looking at me like that?

Stop pushing it! she gasped.

I looked down at the planchette. It kept moving. I looked up and furrowed my brows. “You stop pushing it,” I said, certain she was trying to play a trick on me. But when I looked back up, she was still staring, wide eyed. Uh…no. She was scared.

Then she started screaming her head off.

What else was I to do? I began screaming as well, and we both ran out of the room and down the stairs looking for Anus Babysitter, convinced that some horrible evil spirit was chasing us.

And for what it’s worth, the spirit had actually been quite friendly.