How familiar are you with Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”? When we take a minute, many of us probably think of Disney’s blonde Alice and her goofy Wonderland entourage or maybe you’re like me and Carol Channing comes to mind. It’s a classic story that now the Calm App* has added to their sleep story series. I checked it out the other night and really enjoyed returning to the original narrative.
But somewhere between active listening and much needed rest, my mind caught Alice’s line “I wish I could shut up like a telescope!”, said while trying to find the right size to fit out a door and into the garden, and something in my brain quickly clicked!
A lot of the therapeutic approach I use focuses on spending less time in our minds and more in our lives and so often the way our minds try to keep us inside is by telling us, “Shut up!”
Think through your own life, or maybe a week is more manageable! Are there places you’ve told yourself to not ask a question, avoid a risk, or back out of something that seems exciting but a little scary? Even if this is something a part of you really, really wanted?
Maybe this has become piece of your inner dialogue because it is or was your external reality at some point; there may have been a parent or a kid at school, a partner or a bullying “friend” who tried to shut you up and make you feel small.
“Shut up” is just one of the phrases our mind uses to keep us small. Unfortunately, and unlike Alice, most of the time getting small doesn’t help us in the end. It may keep us from discomfort in our immediate situation but in the long game, it keeps us stunted; again, unlike Alice, we don’t have a magic cake to help us grow and take up more space.
If you’re open to it, notice the places you’re telling yourself to shut up and get small. What would it be like to stay your size or even take up more space? Notice where others-individuals, communities, whole populations- are being told the same thing. What does it look like to not shrink away and instead to take up space for others?
You keep worrying you’re taking up too much space.
I wish you’d let yourself be the milky way.
* I am not compensated by Calm though I should be because I recommend it to everyone!
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