Pushin’ Up… Pushin’ In… Pushin’ Out…

Good work has come from a variety of different folks from last week’s post “I’d Never, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever…. dealing with the committee that meets inside our heads and votes against us. A number of people have contacted me off-line with a list of their committee members and the negative self-talk they’ve internalized from those inner critics. As we exchanged emails, I inquired of one person how she might give loving guidance to some of her committee members. She responded that she had named a new chair to the committee who would be Jesus Christ to whom “all voices will be taken captive.” The new chair set about giving compassionate direction to the critical committee members. My favorite was the directive to give one of the members, named Old Coach, a decent burial. 

But this person’s good work also had an influence on the women at The Lighthouse, who were working this week on discovering the grain of truth in their negative self-talk and giving it new direction. It’s important to me that they know they are impacting others through the results of their therapeutic art during their year-long residential recovery program dealing with substance abuse.  So I shared with them the naming of a new chair to my friend’s committee and the respectful request that a committee member be given a decent burial. That directive resonated with Amy whose artwork and quote “I never, ever, ever, ever… was the focus of last week’s post. She decided to give her committee an artistic decent burial.  She is standing respectfully, but resolutely, before the committee’s gravestone and they’re pushin’ up, not daisies, but golden poppies. We’re in California, after all. The ocean and islands beyond are a horizon of hope for her.

Last week, Elizabeth drew a brain filled with her negative self-talk. This week  she brainstormed with her table mates and me the grain of truth in her negative self-talk, and then identified different ways to rewrite those old internal condemnations. This week, she’s filling her brain with more accurate observations about her past, present and future. “I am a flaw to society” has become “I’ve made some bad choices” or “I want to do good”  or “Soon I will succeed in something.” Elizabeth hasn’t replaced her old negative self-talk with grandiose self-talk. These new affirmations surround words like happy, joyful, and I’m trying. Her new internal voices are more gentle, encouraging, and realistic.    


What I especially appreciated about Elizabeth’s picture this week was that she had included some of the ousted committee members who were still trying to push in the old negative self-talk. That’s a pretty accurate image of what we all deal with. We may work hard to dis-empower those old critical voices, but they have a way of elbowing their way back into our minds when life gets crowded. We don’t always seeing them coming, but we feel the bruises of their bony elbows when they poke us. Elizabeth is working hard to push them out by filling her head with more positive and accurate self-talk. Me too. I got elbowed last week and felt bruised for awhile. It never hurts to reflect on the grain of truth hidden among the muck. Just make sure you dispose of the muck appropriately. It is bio-hazardous to your health.

Do you have committee members who are beyond responding to loving guidance and need to be given a decent burial? Are there ousted committee members who haven’t realized their term has expired and keep trying to attend meetings? What grain of truth would you like to sprout into a bit of constructive feedback for your soul? What new self-talk will bloom as a result?  As Brother Tom said in a comment last week, he also has a support team in his head. Who’s on yours?

I’m lovin’ our dialogue. You’re given me lots to think and write about!

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4 comments to Pushin’ Up… Pushin’ In… Pushin’ Out…

  • Sterling Chen

    Thanks for sharing about the progress at Lighthouse — esp. the nuance in redirecting the grain of truth. Makes me think of the accusations in Zechariah 3 — perhaps another metaphor to try is making, wearing and taking off stained garments/rags (even more sewn with personal totems) and then being given and being dressed in the new clothes. I think it’s important to notice the time and labor it takes to take off the old clothes and to put on the new.

  • I love to see the effectiveness of art in helping people express their emotions and understand themselves. This is a great example of that.

  • Love the image of a good burial…I’ve got some memorial services to attend to this week. So, folks who that need a memorial:

    1) Work O. Holic
    2) The Scared 7 year old.
    3) Mr. Power Less 2 Choose

    Folks that are now at the table:

    1) Mr. Seventh Day
    2) Ms. Love Her
    3) Mr. Power 2 Choose (aka Mr. Freedman)

    Now, how to celebrate the memorial…I think I’ll write the first three names on some toilet paper and give them a memorial to sea. I’ve already welcomed in the new board members but I’ll need to find a way to visualize those in my office and place them new my computer. My support team is already in favor of these motions.

    Thanks Lynn!

  • Helen

    Love this post – the battle to defeat the committee in my head is ongoing and pretty constant but slowly, slowly change comes.
    Thought this might resonate – I wrote it a while ago when the awful realisation dawned that the only change I could make was in me! Luckily the standard has been raised and I am not alone in the fight!

    This is how I do it
    This is the way I am
    The futility strikes me anew
    If this is how I do it
    If this is the way I am
    And it doesn’t work
    Then I need to do it another way
    The season for futility is past
    The season for change is here
    The battle lines are drawn
    Futility through fear versus Change through grace
    The old battle lines are weary and sad
    Fleeting Contact; run down and useless
    Brave Face; scarred and repellent
    Coping Strategy; worn out and defenceless
    I’m Fine; revealed as a fraud
    The new battle lines seem young and inexperienced
    Ask for Help; embarrassed and needy
    Turn to Jesus; shy and full of doubt
    Stand Alone; scared and exposed
    Beloved Child; newly named, seeks reassurance
    As the battle rages your banner is raised
    Your warriors rally to my side
    New ways press forward to win the day at last!

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