It is dark and quiet in Lowell.
There’s something strange and wonderful about being up this early. I woke up long before lifting lids and setting words to the page. Two hours of tossing and turning, and I finally gave up. Better to channel the activity of the monkey mind in a creative way than to struggle with it in the dark.
My cats are perplexed. They keep looking at me with questioning eyes.
“Why are you up?”
The look my female tabby, Arwen, keeps giving me would more appropriately be worded, “Why am I up? Turn off the damn light! Go back to sleep, so I can snuggle with you.”
I tried. I really did try. Okay, maybe not that hard. I periodically followed the one lesson I can recall from a book about meditation and focused on the press moving in and out of my nose.
Should I give this necklace to my mom?
Do I need to keep that sweater? It makes me feel frumpy when I wear it. But it has such a cool design on the back. Maybe I should hang onto it. Maybe, I will wear it… someday.
Breath goes in. Breath goes out. Breath comes in. Breath goes
I really don’t think I’m going to wear that sweater. Maybe, I should look for my jewelry tour and give more things away.
And so on, and so forth it went until I got out of bed, took said items out of drawers and cabinets, and set them aside. Relieved, I turned up the heat, began heating water for coffee, and settled in to write about my inner world of identity.
I imagine that we each have one. Mine can get pretty wild at times. It all depends on which voice is taking center stage.
I can just hear the caller now:
“And the inner critic takes the stage. Look at it go, so bold, so threatening. No one can touch it. It is all-powerful. But wait. The inner creative voice looks to the thinking about joining. Yes, I do believe I see a tentative foot being placed right on the edge. Will it climb up and take on the critic?”
And so on, and so forth it goes.
The focus of my dissertation is the chapter of my life these past few years. I have spent many hours with these voices, learning to hear them, understand them, and recognize when to listen and when to tell them to simmer down.
Even as I near the end of my time as a doctoral student, the rivalry among these voices carries on. They are a part of me and I them.
At least, I can’t complain of being lonely.