Battles With My Gremlins

There’s a battle going on inside me, between the forces of Good and Evil.

Given how snowy it is outside, I am very forcibly reminded of one of my favourite books, The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, as the new, child-like version of me tries to stand firm against the onslaught of all the old evils inside.

They’re not really Evil, obviously, they are my Gremlins and I know they’re trying to help but it doesn’t always feel like that and the effect they have when they get their own way is insidious.

Changing to become a better version of ourselves – or, if you like, to become closer to who we really are – is not easy and a big part of us will always want to stay as we are/have been, regardless of how useful that way of being is to us now or will be in the future.

It takes a concentrated effort of will to grow and develop, and to continue with that growth and development through the tough times. I am no exception to that rule and there are times when it’s difficult to remember why I want to change.

Here’s what’s been going on inside my head of late:

Me: OK, I want to stop DOING and start BEING.

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: Woohoo! Time to slob out. You can stay in bed all day, eat crap food, watch daytime TV, marvellous!

Me: Er, hang on….

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: That’s right, off you go. Back into the Land of the Lazy. I knew you would, you’re the laziest person on the planet and you’ll never amount to anything.

Little Miss It’s Too Scary Gremlin: She’s not lazy it’s just all so BIG and SCARY and I don’t know where to START and I CAN’T change and I need someone to tell me what to DO and…but…and…now I’m going to CRY

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: there we go,whining again. Pull your socks up for goodness’ sake and stop feeling sorry for yourself. You ought to get out there and find a proper job instead of sitting here whining. At least make a list of all the things you should be doing and start doing some of it!!

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: oh God I hate lists, I don’t want to do any of those things, not even the stuff I enjoy. Why can’t we just sit here and do nothing? I like that best. Where’s the TV remote gone? OOOOH!! Look what’s on!

Me: Er, look guys, I know you’re trying to help but actually all you’re doing is making me feel bad about myself…

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: La la la la la la la not listening…

Little Miss It’s Too Scary Gremlin: oh nooooooooo, now you’re cross and it’s all even MORE horrid and that nasty Mr Can’t Be Arsed has got me in his grip and I can’t get away boo hoo hoo…

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: That’s it, make excuses, it’s all OUR fault of course, nothing to do with you being lazy and useless!

Me: Oh crap – where’s the remote?

The Universe: Hello all, how are we?

Gremlins: Watch out, Hippie Alert!! You’re not going to listen to all of his hippie-dippie-woo-woo crap are you?

The Universe: I’m non-gender specific actually…

Gremlins: ooooh, get her

The Universe:…and I just popped in to ask if I could help in any way?

Me: Am I glad you’re here! And now that you are here, you’ve reminded me that rather than being cross with these lovely Gremlins and myself, it would be much more useful for all of us if I was to be gentle with them and ask them what they’re afraid of…

Gremlins: oh crap, I hate it when she’s nice to us, it makes me feel really uncomfortable…

Me: oh don’t be uncomfortable. Come and sit here and tell me what’s bothering you. Please?

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: well, you said you wanted less DOING and more BEING so I’m helping you to do nothing and she (pointing at Ms You’re No Good) keeps throwing it back in my face!

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: there’s a difference between learning to sit back and just BE, and turning into a complete no-good-low-moral-fibre-slacker, which is what you’re making her into!! If she carries on like this, before you know it she’ll be broke and homeless! Will you pleased with yourself then, eh? Hm? HMMM?!

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: OK, OK, chill out, blimey – I just want her to have a rest and look after herself and not burn out or get in her own way by doing too much. Sheesh!

Little Miss It’s Too Scary Gremlin: oh don’t fight, I HATE it when you fight!I just want her to be happy and I know all this trying to change stuff is really difficult and it’s easier for her when it’s not difficult…if you see what I mean…so I thought it would be better for her if she didn’t keep trying to change and then we can all carry on as we are and we’ll all be happy and comfy, won’t we? Won’t we?

Me: Ah, OK. So actually you all want me to be happy and healthy?

Gremlins: yes, of course we do!

Me: and you all have different ideas about what being happy and healthy looks like for me?

Gremlins: er….

Me: well, one of you wants me to have so much of a rest that I don’t do anything, one of you is trying to make sure I don’t turn into a moral degenerate and one of you is trying to stop me from being scared.

Gremlins: Yes! What’s wrong with that?!

Me: Well it’s lovely that you’re so keen to help, but I think I really need to explain what’s going on more clearly, so that you can really help me…how would that be?

Gremlins: (suspiciously) Riiiiiight…go on then…

Me: The thing is, I don’t want to stay doing the same things I always did. I want to try new things and I want to explore what I’m capable of, and I want to learn what “being” instead of “doing” means. I want to explore my spirituality and what it means for me and for the work I do – there’s a growing spiritual force within me and I want you to help me put aside my fears of it and about it, and learn to truly embrace it. I want you to help me to become ever more mindful, and to settle into a new way of being that doesn’t automatically give up and fall into a slump whenever things start to look a bit tricky, and I want you to remind me in a healthy way when I’m in danger of slumping, rather than beating me over the head about being lazy.

Gremlins: oh.

Me: Oh?

Gremlins: Yes. Well. So maybe, when you’re “being” not “doing”, we could try a bit of “being” as well?

Me: That would be interesting – how might you do what?

Gremlins: well…we could suggest you meditate or read one of your growing pile of hippy-dippy Mind, Body, Spirit books or go for a walk or  even…..or….no never mind

Me: no, go on, I’m interested…

Gremlins: (muttering) …or even talk to the Universe….

The Universe: my work here is done (for now)

So here we all are today, in unison, setting out once more in harmony on the Great Adventure that is life. We will have many more conversations like this one as I go along my Journey, my Gremlins and I, and there will be days when the forward momentum stops and we have to regroup.

But we won’t turn around and we won’t stop all together.

And The Universe will keep us all safe.

The Universe: oh yes 🙂

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