Note to Self: Be Gentle…Be Kind…

Elise McMullen-Ciotti Galavant Girl

"Be gentle with yourself today. Be kind. Your light matters in this world. Be good to that light within you."

I've lost a number of people in my life—a number of friends. I lost them to depression, to addiction, to suicide. And I myself nearly lost "me" more than once along my journey. It may seem antithetical, but it took division of self to save myself. I had to learn that there was the "me within me" that had a job to do in this plane of existence. That the me on the outside—full of mind and body, struggling, fighting, full of sadness or anger or helplessness, was not the "me within me"but the car I was riding in. I had to learn to not judge the passenger when a tire blew out or the engine failed. I began to make changes. I began to be gentle with me, kind to me, good to me. But it was't all just peaches and sunshine.

Guilt came first. "How selfish of me to be good to me!" I had long arguments with this voice, but I finally silenced it.

Then fear came. "What if you're feeding a terrible animal? And it will wreak pain on everyone?” I had to slay that mind-dragon, which turned out to be all smoke and mirrors.

Then disappointment came and anger. “Gosh. You've wasted so much of your life. It’s too late to do anything. You suck.” I had to grieve and forgive and take responsibility. I thought I had my victory, but…worthlessness came. “What if this whole thing is meaningless anyway? What’s the point?” I began to think that all was lost and even all the work I had been doing to help “me” might have been worthless as well. But something extraordinary happened.

I had been on the journey a while now, and somehow, I had battled and overcome. I had chipped away at the noise, and by doing so, I began to hear another voice. I could hear the voice of the passenger—the “me within me"—and the voice was kind. It began comforting me. It told me, “I love you. I even love your faulty and broken mind. We’re together you and me. I’m always going to love you. And I’m never going to leave you.” It was then that the darkness lost its power. It was then that I turned to that passenger and said, "I love you back, and I'll help you do what you need to do here."

It has become my life mission to encourage others in their journey—encourage them to live fuller than they thought possible; encourage them to experience ALL of life with courage and curiosity. I’m also encouraging myself in this process. The echoes of old battles and voices do swing around from time to time and I try to swat them away to the best of my ability. I’m not a neuroscientist or expert of the mind. It will not be me who finds a way to heal these faulty cracks within the psyche. And maybe it’s silly to say “try this food” or “take this journey.” But that’s what the “me within me” is here to do—and I will never abandon her.

Elise McMullen-Ciotti, the Galavant Girl

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