David Robert Jones, MS LPC

Inner Voices (2)

Written By :

Category :


Posted On :

Share This :

I forgot about this part when I began this new project of writing and publishing each day. 

The first time I was aware of what we might call the ever-present-constantly-talking narrator, I was in my pre-teens and on a long-haul trip with my uncle Mike, an audiobook-loving truck driver affectionately known as “Tigger.” I had never listened to an audiobook before and as we made our way across hundreds of miles of landscape, I found incredible delight in being enraptured by All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott.  

I also noticed that something quite strange was happening. 

At some time after the third or fourth hour of listening, I noticed a voice in my head.

It wasn’t a voice I was familiar with.

It was the narrator’s voice from James Herriott’s audiobook!

Cadence. Accent. Tone. Syntax. Diction. Grammar. 

Not mine.

Not mine, but this voice was now narrating everything and I was watching and listening. In awe.  I remember observing this all as if I were in some kind of wonderful dream. A new friend had come to visit me and he was showing me the world from a whole new perspective. 

After awhile, awe slowly turned into awful. “Okay, that’s enough. I’d like to get back to experiencing life without constant narration. Can you leave me alone? Do you really need to keep talking while I’m going to the bathroom? Eating? Sleeping? Can I shut you off? Where is the switch?”

Since then, many voices have visited and taken part in narrating life as they/we/I see it. And  I have learned to be somewhat discerning about what I let in the doors of my senses by way of literature, film, art, and the company I keep  because I am not always a huge fan of the narrators.

Something about hearing other narrators really turns up the volume on my own inner narrator who is also quite the chameleon - or maybe parrot is a better reference - and thinks it’s fun to take on the voice of whatever and whoever I have been present with.

Which brings me to this morning. And the voice that got all activated and excited and observant and reflective as soon as it found out about this writing project. Throughout the night, in the places between fully awake and dreamless sleep, this voice was expounding upon, deliberating with, connecting to, and giving lengthy exposition about every thought, breath, movement, and moment. Mix in the narrative styles of several movies I watched last night, and it has been quite a scene in here! 

Story upon story upon story.

To be honest, when I awoke at 4 a.m. this morning, I realized that I had also awakened something else and that this challenge may be more difficult than the ice baths. The last time I was this engaged with this uber-narrator-friend, it wore me out and I just stopped telling and writing stories altogether. I got so caught up and lost in the stories that I began feeling like I was only half-present in life…that life was just story fodder and that if it couldn’t be retold and expressed then it might not really matter all that much. 

I realize I’ve gone quite meta here. And that is quite the point. 

The difference at this point in my life, though, is that I know how to relate to the narrator in ways I didn’t before.

I arose from bed this morning, put on my swim trunks for the ice bath, and sat in silence for 10 minutes. 

The narrator was frantically writing it all down and then re-telling it. Yeeesh! I thought. This is going to be fun!

And, it was. I began to breath in and out, feeling the breath. Then I began the mantra: Breathing in, I calm myself; breathing out, I smile. Breathing in, I calm myself; breathing out, I smile.  Over and over. Breathing. Smiling.

Soon. I noticed how quiet it had gotten inside. Very still. 

As soon as I noticed, the narrator came online and said, “Oooooohh! This is such good stuff! I’ve got to write this down so I can share it!”

Hahahahaha! So good. So fun!

I chuckled and then went back to feeling the breath and dissolving into the senses. 

We can’t think and feel at the same time. I learned this as a way to deal with chronic pain in the worst of the TBI years. I’m lucky because I had to practice these practices to stay alive. Here, now, when I am much more regulated and stabilized, these practices are getting honed and used to more fully engage with life as it is as I am. To engage with the narrator as much as I like, and to experience deep spaciousness, rest, quietude, and silence as I come to my senses and follow the breath.

These practices can seem trite from afar. But, up close and from firsthand experience, they are one of the doors into our true nature of unchanging loving awareness in which the ever-changing flow of life arises.

I can enjoy the narrator and I can shift my awareness so that there is just silence.

I can come to my senses. I can get in an ice bath. I can feel and follow my breath. I can move my body and hike and watch a sunrise with people I love. And I can watch the narrator writing and telling stories. 

Some of them, I’ll listen to and maybe write down and tell you.

Ready to take the next step?

I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via social media or at [email protected].