Time for our conversation to move on
MIND MOVES:I leave you now to allow other voices to be heard, writes TONY BATES
I HAVE been thinking out loud in these columns for over eight years and now it seems like the right time to stop. I hope that this exploration of how our minds move has given you some insight and pleasure.
Conversations about our inner world are critical. They are always privileged and personal. Understanding what makes us tick, how difficulties arise and how healing happens is liberating. When we stretch ourselves to pay attention to what opens our heart and what shuts us down, we discover who we really are.
When I first began to write these columns, back in February 2004, I appreciated the opportunity but genuinely believed that I would not last beyond six months. I felt afraid. I didn’t think that I had enough in me to sustain a bi-weekly column that would be of interest. I consoled myself with the thought that I definitely had two readers – my mother and my brother – who would cheer me on regardless of what I wrote. But having accepted the invitation and settled in, I found there was no end to where we could go.
So much of the time our attention is drawn outwards to what is disturbing. Daily reports of economic upheavals, war, the pervasiveness of crime, and the fragility of our planet, keep us on the edge of our seats. We can feel helpless in the face of the sheer unpredictability of the world around us.
We need to take time to look inside ourselves, not to avoid these difficult realities, but to find our own quiet courage to face them. We can’t control the ways some things are – no matter how much we may regret having allowed them to happen – but we can choose how we respond. To find that confidence and clarity we need to go quiet and to learn to trust the still small voice within.
There has hardly been a week in the past eight years where I knew what I wanted to say. I thought of subscribing to some learned journal, or buying some cutting edge book, so that at the very least I would have some content worth sharing. No doubt there would have been some value to the reader in such information, but that wasn’t the approach that felt right for me. It lacked an honesty and immediacy that I wanted to bring to this column. So I learned to sit with uncertainty, to open myself up to what was most real and compelling in any given week.