15 April 2010


Here's the gist of an argument Transforming Jennifer and Resistant Jennifer have every morning around 5:30 a.m.

RJ:  [Stretching.] Let's stay in bed. Who cares about missing one day of Qigong practice? We can always do it again tomorrow.
TJ:  [Looking at the clock and getting out of bed.] No way. I'm getting up now. The exercises always give me energy and a positive outlook for the day.
RJ:  Aw c'mon! It's comfortable here and we can lay about reading the latest issue of [New Yorker, Vanity Fair, whatever].
TJ:  No! I can read later. If I don't start Qigong now there won't be enough time to shower before Noi comes at 8:45 (on Mon, Wed., Fri.). Besides the living room'll be too hot soon.
RJ:  Puh-lease! Who cares if we miss one measly day?
TJ:  I care. You don't notice all the positive changes in me since I started Qigong. It's only the best thing I've ever done for myself! I'm finally becoming mentally and physically healthy.
RJ:  Oh spare me! If you were so mentally healthy we wouldn't even be having this conversation! [Sighs.] Well as long as we're up, let's do something constructive like [showering, washing, nail clipping, hair cutting, going online, eating breakfast].
TJ:  Give it a rest! That's petty stuff I can do anytime. First comes Qigong. Now get your butt to the living room!

Internal tugs of war between opposing mindsets are longstanding and instinctual behaviors for me and, I imagine, for other people too. I'm not talking about multiple personalities (dissociative identity disorder in contemporary therapy parlance), but merely the incredible diversity that comprises each of us.

I learned something about the cast of characters inside my personality one Christmastime in Thailand during late 1990s. I was very depressed and contacted Ken Fox, a wonderful former therapist and friend in California who via email taught me a technique called Voice Dialogue. It's designed to bring the different aspects of our psyche into more balance. With Ken's caring online encouragement, I discovered The Writer, The Critic, Little Jennifer, Big Jennifer, etc. Each morning I'd sit down and hand write the "conversation" that took place between one of the characters and my Objective Self. (That's the subconscious me—or was it the über conscious me, I forget—that objectively understands the Real Jennifer.)

Voice Dialogue got me over that particular episode but I soon gave up doing it, like I abandoned all the other mind-centric therapies I've dabbled in over the years. I'd always feel better for a while until my non-stop worrywart mind found another opportunity to beat up on me again. I hated feeling like such a loser on the inside but like any other addiction it was a familiar and somehow comforting state. And it took far less effort to stay stuck in a rut than to change.

RJ:  My, my. Isn't this just fascinating. I bet everyone's absolutely enthralled with all your self-centered navel gazing.
TJ:  Jeez. Don't you ever give up? Why are you still hanging around yammering and trying to undermine my progress?
RJ:  I've grown accustomed to your face, you almost make my day begin.
TJ:  Until I started doing Qigong daily, I could never get past your mental chatter and learn how to love or accept myself.
RJ:  Well just cry me a river.
TJ:  Why am I arguing with you? I should be grateful. Every morning you give me yet another opportunity to overcome your relentless negativity and clear my mind using the Qigong movements and the breathing.
RJ:  Trust me, you'll abandon this too.
TJ:  Instead of spouting corny lyrics or making your standard doom and gloom prognostications, listen to the lyrics of DWBH. Sifu H recommended it back when you could still transform my every molehill into a mountain. You think it's easy to not worry and be happy? Why don't YOU try it then. Not worrying so much and being happier helps me transform your negativity into acceptance! If Ken Fox were still alive, he'd be cheering me on with one of his big gins and a heartfelt "Yippeeee!"

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Love your rant....