Friday, May 25, 2012

My inner voice whispers

I like to think and I like to write with my inner voice. There's a soft, retrospective and introspective side of me that I know well, trust, and appreciate. I don't always freely share that inner voice with others, but writing provides me with that outlet, so through this blog I've been sharing some of that with you.

I also like writing with my louder "outside" voice. That's an important part of who I am that I won't deny. That is the voice that most who know me in my personal life know well, mostly because that's what I let people see.

You read my outside voice when I tell you about my passion for travel, adventure, and Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door Tours. My outside voice shouts when I write about my love of food and all things Trader Joe's, and my fearless penchant for dancing like no one is watching. And I share the silliness of my outside voice when I recount my challenges purging a lifetime of belongings, my love of hiking, or why I'm happy to be weird.

But writing with my quieter, inner voice is also quite satisfying. You witness my inner voice when I share the little things that make me happy, my ruminations during a long commute home from work, my ideas on positive thinking and happiness, or my thoughts on spirituality.

We all have an inner voice. We all talk to ourselves silently through the day. We think through situations and work through challenges. We revisit memories and dream about possibilities.

Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am." If we think, we exist. His philosophy only proved, though, that our mind existed, not our human body.

Whatever I believe, I know I exist since I think. In the midst of my normal life, with the same hectic, busy schedule that many have, I've enjoyed thinking about these ideas and the concept of an inner voice for weeks now.

Chatting with my inner voice is a rewarding way to decompress, a way to spend some of my quiet time in the shower, on my commute, or on a walk. It's a productive way to spend some downtime when I'm not so tired I can only just sit in front of mind-numbing TV.

Poor Homer. Doesn't know
which voice to listen to.
My inner voice talks to me about everything. No topic is off-limits. But I'm no different from all the rest. We all have a little voice in our heads. And since our days of childhood, we've all watched cartoons that personified the little voice inside each of us.

Actually, voices. You know, the "good" and the "bad" voices. The angel on your right shoulder and the devil on your left, both whispering in your ears to convince you that their way is best.

Some call those "angel" and "devil" voices their conscience; others feel it's just pure gut instinct, since they literally feel things in their stomach when they know the voice is telling them something they should heed or avoid.

No matter what we call it, our inner voice is a driving force shaping who we are and the actions we take. Our ability to think and reason with our inner voice and listen to our conscience separates us from other more animalistic animals in the kingdom, if you will, even within our own species.

On a recent walk through the neighborhood at dusk, with only the sound of chirpy birds and the rustle of deer, rabbit, and foxes in the bushes, I clearly heard my inner voice and had a nice conversation with myself. I thought about my life, who I am, who I am becoming, how I got here, and where I want to go. I thought about my parents, how I observed them through all my life, and how I see them today.

Watching my mom speak with others, animated and chatting happily. I am my mom.

Watching my dad shyly, politely interacting with others, this same dad who can be animated, loud, and dynamic at home. I am my dad.

How can I be so like them and yet so different? How can I even have so many different sides of me? How can I think the thoughts I do? How do I know what to do with my thoughts? How did I even evolve to be me? The universe doesn't present all the answers, but my inner voice poses interesting questions for me to thoughtfully consider. I'm never bored when I have so much to think about. I am lucky to hear my inner voice, to think and exist.

Recently I saw someone I hadn't seen in years. We hugged and exchanged small talk. Then I received a surprise apology for something that was said to me maybe five or ten years ago, something I didn't even remember. This person certainly didn't have to bring this up because it was apparent I wasn't bearing any ill will, but it was obvious this person wanted to clean the slate.

I usually describe myself as someone who forgives but doesn't forget transgressions. In this case, I certainly had forgotten. When prompted with the memory, however, I vaguely recalled a situation at an event where I had questioned why someone, as an adult, felt the need to say something so unnecessary--I even recall mentioning something to my husband--but today I couldn't have remembered who or what was said at that time if I had been paid a large sum.

Your inner voice whispers.
So when this person apologized for saying something nasty and acknowledged that it wasn't necessary to say what was said, it meant a lot to me. I let this person know that none of that mattered today and offered my thanks and appreciation for the apology.

And I sincerely meant that. What that person did was not easy. Time had passed, but she hadn't forgotten, even though I had. It was a major indication of her character and who she had become...and a confirmation of the existence of her whispering inner voice.

Our inner voice serves many purposes through our lives and if we take the time to listen and act on the daily dialogue we have with ourselves, we can only evolve and grow. Trusting our inner voice, though, is key to it all.

Since I am always seeking, I enjoy finding and reading good quotes that share a perspective I'm considering in my journey. Here are a few I'd like to share with you:

“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”
— Helen Keller, American author and speaker, 1880–1968

“All that lies before us and all that lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer, philosopher, and poet, 1803-1882

Both quotes from amazing people who shared enlightened perspectives. These quotes advise us to look within to seek the truth and what is important. I like that.

My inner voice whispers. And yours does too. We'll only benefit if we take some time to listen when we can. What have you heard lately? Pass it on.

Until next time, yours in thinking and listening to the whispers...Therese


  1. Excellent, Therese! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who has & heeds those inner voices...I prefer to think of what some refer to as instinct, as my spirit guide. Over many years of trying experiences, I truly believe that I DO have a spirit guide & I practice paying attention to him. I was told many years ago, by a complete stranger that I HAD a spirit guide standing behind my rt shoulder. This guide wanted me to know that he had been conceived with the intention of becoming my spirit guide...never with the intention of actually being born. This complete stranger had no way of knowing that I had suffered an ectopic pregnancy 4 mos earlier!Some call him my guardian angel, but I know he is my son.

    1. Oh, that gives me chills, Anonymous! Very interesting and an amazing opportunity for connection to your inner self and introspection! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Therese, interesting post! I also like to turn an idea over in my head. Think about it, think about it, think about it. Then, when I am ready to do something, it flies right out of me. XX, Holly

    1. Thanks, Holly. I love watching your creativity "fly out." Yes, the creative process is quite interesting, unique to each of us, yet with some commonalities. I watched Oprah interview Lady Gaga the other night (DVRed) and LG noted that she holes herself away during her creative process and "goes down a hallway to open doors" as part of her journey. She admitted she struggles, but then when she opens the door she is seeking, she breaks through and it all flies right out of her. She is released, free, and happy again. It was nice to hear her discuss the not so glamorous aspects of creativity.

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