Putting all of my time in learning to care

Putting all of my time
In learning to care
And a bucket of rhymes
I threw up somewhere
Want a locket of who
Made me lose my perfunctory view
Of all that is around
And of all that I do

Rufus Wainwright, “I Don’t Know What It Is”

Lately I have been putting all of my time in learning to care about my deeper desires for life. Away from work. Away from distractions as much as possible. Just like when you listen to another person, you want to be able to focus, you have to work immensely harder to listen to what it is you are saying to yourself. This is not the mark of insanity — we all have our own little voice inside. It’s part of human nature.

Recently I caused myself a tremendous amount of pain by (figuratively) yelling at that little voice. Of course, I had my reasons. After all, the voice was distracting me. It was sabotaging me. It seemed like I was blindsided by one thing after another in life, and you cannot bob and weave when you don’t even know what it is you’re dodging. My response was to turn into a disciplinarian…after all, inner children are to be neither seen nor heard.

Thanks to some caring people in my life, I learned that yelling at the voice to be quiet was not productive. It only made things worse. I was more distracted. Instead, I had to sit back and listen to it. I had to care about it. What was it telling me?

Unfortunately that little voice does not typically use words, so it can be very hard to interpret. It’s sort of like figuring out why a baby is crying. The baby cannot tell you in words, so you have to use a process of elimination. Does its diaper need to be changed? Is it hungry? Does it just want to be picked up and held?

Just as some parents intuitively know what their child wants, some people are in touch with themselves to a degree of pinpointing their deepest desires in an instant. They act on their gut feelings, and they usually get their needs met. Anyone who knows me well will agree that I am not one of those intuitive people…and, in fact, all of this seemed like hippie psychobabble to me at first.

So I am putting in some time now. Everything is on the table. There are no sacred cows in my life.

I really have never made time for this process before. I always had to get on to the next challenge or the next paycheck. I never took a moment to breathe. The irony of this is that not committing to my deep desires has been quite costly to me over time. Repress that little voice for long enough, and it starts acting out.

So…maybe I need a locket with a mirror so I can see exactly “who made me lose my perfunctory view.”

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