We fight our inner demons every day.
Some days we win, and some days they win the battle.
You might not feel as if you are waving your righteous sword to rid yourself of your demon adversary; you might only feel your fist raising in frustration or fury. (Though some days you might not even notice the battle.)
Demons? The demons that we are talking about here are our internal demons. We don’t see them when we look in the mirror, but we might hear them whispering in our ears.
The first peoples of America have a story about Two Wolves: One wolf sits on your shoulder and tells you about all the goodness in you. The other tells you all the ways that you are not worthy to receive any goodness. The moral of the story is this question, which wolf do you feed? Every day on our journey to becoming our best selves, we have a choice about which demon (wolf) to heed. Do you want to feed the encouraging wolf or the discouraging wolf?
During the time of the coronavirus shelter-in-place orders, many of us had more time to attend to projects that we usually don’t have time for, or to something that has been beckoning us. For example, painting, making music, designing clothes, starting a new project, or to putting your house in order.
As time went on, did you tend to some of those projects, and if so, did you save the best for last? Or did you find you started to make excuses for not going towards one project that you would just love to complete? As you keep avoiding what you desire, do you notice you start to berate yourself about not being or doing enough? Self-judgment can make us feel like our own worst enemy.
Procrastination is a demon.
Extreme self-criticism is a demon.
Waiting for the perfect moment is a demon.
We have all been conditioned to do what we are “supposed” to do. We are not always encouraged to do what we love. And, if we are brave enough to try and get close to making a leap of faith, zap! Here come your inner demons. You might feel nauseous, distracted, may hear “You suck.” You might buy the defeatist message, “I don’t believe I can do this.”
The result is that you avoid doing what you love or, in the extreme, you might declare that you will never, never, EVER allow that desire to float to the surface again. The novelist or screen-play writer burns all her notes, the artist sells all her supplies. Yet, you notice a tell-tale ache in your heart when you think about that one thing, painstaking, raw, and tender as if your heart is broken.
Sometimes the limiting story that gets your inner demon up-in-arms is a story that you were told as a child.
A story so buried that you don’t even realize it has you shackled. My family story was, “don’t stand out, because you will get hurt.” So, when I try to stand up and out, my Inner Demon rages against me. I find myself sobbing, “I can’t do this. I will never be good enough.”
At first, I would ignore the message from my heart and run. I would change careers or relationships, I would relocate; I would do anything to get away from the conflict between my heart-centered longing and the demon voice telling me that I was unworthy of realizing my dreams. Then I would go to a self-growth retreat because I felt so stuck! Who did I meet when I got there? My two wolves, waiting to be fed.
Being stuck makes your life force slow to a trickle and stop. Energetically, your Heart-Mind-Spirit begins to shrivel.
Your inner demon thrives best in the realm of fear. Fear can show up in stories that your inner demon tells you to keep you from leaving what’s safe; the path that you already know. Fear, like any unacknowledged emotion or awareness that lurks in the background of your psyche, can show up as terror. More commonly, it shows up as a distraction, moodiness, chronic pain in your body, or a persistent emotion that haunts you.
At other times, your inner demons want you to run away and escape, rather than accessing your soul’s truth and magnificence by staying put. Self-awareness allows you to recognize that this impulse does not serve you at this time, that your best option is to stay the course, for now.
You don’t have to slay your inner demons, just begin to recognize how they try to steer you.
To awaken to your true self, it is essential to be clear on which wolf is whispering to you so that you can redirect it if your inner demon is running the show.
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