The critters in your attic are just a mirror of the critics in your mind.
It's 5:33am and I have been up since 3am, again. Somehow, the critters that had been bothering my apartment neighbors, Megan and Brett, have made their way above my bedroom ceiling this past week. The constant movement, scratching and Cirque de Soleil antics of these nocturnal beings have become quite an irritant that disrupts my sleep. Why in the world can't they be in the living room side instead?
I dealt with this at my parent's house. I would sit outside on the swing watching the squirrels enter the attic from slits in the air vents on the roof. I even captured a photo of their tail sticking out as they wiggled their body into the small opening. All night long, I'd hear them jumping from item to item my parents' had stashed in the attic. I'd bang on my bedroom ceiling to get them to stop their antics but to no avail. It wasn't until my older brother got my parents new insulation and placed a screen on the inside of the attic to prohibit them from entering did all of that cease.
Laying in bed feeling exhausted and frustrated beyond measure since I am also dealing with the incessant noise of another dysfunctional refrigerator, I am stunned that I am having this experience again. I could not help but make the association of how the critters in the attic or space between apartments is a perfect mirror of my mind.
Many people suffer from the severity of the inner critic, that aspect of the mind that takes wisdom and uses it as a weapon of self-destruction instead of being a Lao-Tzu kind of mentor like the Inner Advisor. A constant assault of should have, could have, would have or "Who do you think you are?," the voice of a stern parent or authoritarian in their negative approach, is the shadow side of the psyche that spins out of control unless we take charge of our mind and thought patterns. There is inherent wisdom in the message but the approach is brutal and ineffective. I'm grateful that aspect of my mind has been subdued into submission to my Higher Self. I am not harassed by such thoughts as, "You are stupid. No one is ever going to love you. You are not an artist. Who do you think you are?" They do not enter my inner sphere although I do catch some more subtle bullies trying to trip me.
Rumination haunts me. Just like the critters in the attic going back and forth, my mind replays a challenging situation that left me in grief for two years. The preoccupation of that incident took precedence in my inner life during this pandemic. The intensity of the energy was palpable as if in a constant lightning storm. Although it has diffused immensely, I find myself repeatedly saying out loud, as I watch the same thought patterns sneak up for attention whenever I am feeling tired or overwhelmed, "Watch your Mind. Let it GO." Just like the critters, it is annoying, frustrating and energetically depleting. Unlike the critters, I can take charge of my thoughts, consciously choosing where I place my attention.
Bringing my awareness to the present moment through the 5-4-3-2-1 Sensory Awareness practice (see below), I am able to gain mastery over the energy by becoming fully present. I can meet my mind with compassion by redirecting my thoughts. I can gleam the wisdom with renewing energies.
I get up from my bed and make my coffee. Then I practice.
Try this with me.
Take a moment and look around your space. Name five things you SEE.
I see the emerald loveseat, the glowing, sherbet orange Himalayan salt lamp, the royal purple sari I bought at the Hare Krishna temple once worn by a devotee that now hangs over one window like a beautiful curtain, the ripe, luscious, red tomato in the green and white bowl on my kitchen counter.
Pause, listen, list four things you HEAR.
I hear the loud cycle of the refrigerator, the traffic on Buckner boulevard, my upstairs neighbor walking around and the birds singing their sunrise hymns.
Take a moment to pick up some items and list three things you FEEL.
I feel the softness of the fuzzy filter for my Yeti microphone, the coolness of my Love Rock on my desk and the sharp points of the amber colored, Citrine crystal.
What are two things you can SMELL?
I smell the sweetness of the Song of India temple incense and the putrid scent of something in the trash that will be taken out into the bin this morning.
If possible, get something to snack on and what is the one TASTE you are experiencing?
The remnants of the banana are present as taste.
Centering in the moment with my senses, I stop the rumination and the hamster in the wheel mental movement. I am taking charge of my mind in the moment.
We are limited only by our thoughts and beliefs. As the energy diffuses, I shift my attention on the life I desire and deserve. I see where my energy has been channeled and redirect my awareness to what is in the moment. Mindfulness at it's finest. Seeding my intentions by aligning in expectations verses frustrations is where my life begins to shift. I use my spiritual practices to align in my Good.
Notice the critters. What are you letting into your mind to take up residence like a squatter? Where do you need to place a filter - a screen - from the annoying patterns and false beliefs who are critics instead of cheerleaders? Bear witness to them but choose healthy, positive affirmations to re-groove your mind. How can you consciously transmute the energy with love and kindness? When necessary, get up and walk to move the energy or write, like I am doing right now.
Find one way today to anchor in the present moment and meet your mind with compassion. As far as the critters, there is plenty of beautiful places for them to go live by the lake. Until then, I keep watching my mind.