By Christopher Tydeman
Over the next few weeks, I will be vulnerably sharing works of art that I have created that reflect my inner world. In SoulFullHeart, our inner world is comprised of a tapestry of emotionality, which is held by what we call a “part” of us. These parts live in different emotional terrain, such as hurt, anxiety, control, depression, rage, and shame. When we courageously venture inward, we feel this terrain with our parts to feel and heal woundings that have been been stuck for many years, many lifetimes. As a creative soul, I desire to help my parts heal through images, words, and music. I also desire to serve others with the same passion of healing and creativity. I do not have a plan other than to be as transparent as I can and see where the road takes me. Check out my previous blog entries, An Artist, His Muse, and His Inner Critic, and Healing Art to Heal Your Heart to find out more about this series.
We have all heard the term “inner critic”. The voice inside us that showers us with a litany of reasons why we can’t do this or that. Why we are not good enough, talented enough, skilled enough, or attractive enough to be or have the things in life that bring us joy and passion. It is the buzz kill, the saboteur, that knocks us off our cloud nine. This part of me has been with me a long time. As I have slowly become more conscious of him, I have experienced the voice at almost every minute of my day. It is enough to drive you mad if you let it…and I have come close. Even as I write this, I can feel something around me, watching me, checking to see if I am being clear, using proper grammar and spelling, or wondering if I am just wasting my time.
Another part of me begins to wonder if he is right. “Maybe this is a waste of time. Who really cares about this? Am I really qualified to be doing something like this? Will I just be laughed at and be considered crazy?” Those questions are being fed to inner sensitive parts of me that have had no protection against the chaos of criticism…until now. Through the SoulFullHeart healing process, I am beginning to create a space between my inner critic and my inner sensitives. The art that is made helps bring much needed relief to the holding of this critical energy, which can be quite potent when left unfelt by me as the centered self.
This critical voice can begin as a small judgment from something I would normally consider routine such as making coffee. But if that part is up, a simple act, such as spilling, can turn into a bite or a lashing out. “You idiot! Can’t you do anything right?” Ouch. If I don’t hold this and be with that kick, my other parts get kicked. The energy stirs up rage, hurt, anxiety, shame, control, and depression. It is like a rolling snowball. The criticism is left unabated, and it permeates my being. Inside I am a torrent of critical chaos. This is what my drawing above represents. This is what my emotional terrain feels like to my parts when I am not home amidst the storm. This picture was a call for help from my parts. “We don’t know how to handle this part of you, Christopher. We need you!” is what it tells me. Now, in the moment I made the picture I didn’t really feel that. I was just expressing what it felt like in my emotional body at the time. I didn’t have the image in my mind when I started it. It evolved and presented itself. I just let my hand and heart do the work. I later was able to digest this with my facilitators, Jillian and Wayne, and they were able to feel what was happening because they were outside it and could feel it with their clear hearts. This is the power of facilitation.
So there is this “Ah-ha!” moment. I could see and feel what was being brought to me. A reflection of myself back to me. But that is only the beginning. I don’t want this violence inside me to continue. I don’t want my parts to get thrown into the blender again. It is not to say it may not happen again, but if I am not engaging in feeling the pain of my inner critic, it will persist indefinitely. I can try a heavy dose of positive thinking reframes and rewiring strategies, but that is still ignoring this part of me and will only lead to hurting him even more. The next part of the process is to dialogue with this part of me to feel the pain behind the energy. Giving him the space to be heard and felt by me, a safe container, not a mortal enemy. If I come at this part with the energy of exorcising him, he will only dig in more and tell me to go fuck myself. I wouldn’t blame him. But at the same time, I must be challenging as well as loving.
I feel parts of me not sure where this will go, but there is a real need and desire for them to feel my presence with this inner critic. Taking the “heat”, so to speak. I could only do this once I felt more separated from the feeling of despair that arose out of the criticism. The first step was to create, even amidst the heaviness. I would say especially in the midst of the heaviness. The next step was to be felt by another heart-opened other to feel me and my parts and give reflection and guidance. Now is the step of what is called differentiation, where I and the energy of the part are not fused together, but have a bit more separation. I can feel some resistance from this part of me and will need to negotiate any sharing of journaling that would arise out of this artwork. As with any new, unknown adventure what happens next is a mystery until it isn’t. Stay tuned….
Christopher Tydeman has been embracing the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life since August, 2010. He is a SoulFullHeart facilitator-in-training, author on this blog, and he hosted the SoulFullHeart Experience Radio Show. For more information about the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life, visit soulfullheart.com.