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Taking stock of our inner journey: tips and tricks

We are at the end of 2021, twelve months for many to forget, in general lived subdued and in tension. Usually, in this period, on the media, on social networks, in televised debates, in editorials, there is a lot of talk about year-end budgets. To come to terms with the past year, it is said that it is necessary to draw conclusions. This December is particularly devoted to such operations, I think as a form of superstition, or to believing that we can control such enormous events as the pandemic, or the financial crisis, or the deaths we know nothing about.

Such a profusion of thoughts did not leave me unscathed. I too wondered if it was appropriate to take stock.

I have always found this way of expressing oneself with limited and perfectionist mathematical metaphors to be a method that always wants to find a ratio, a reason (from Latin) to package the results well so that they can be used and disseminated, perhaps looking also to suggest more or less “brilliant” and “successful” methods. This way of thinking always yields accounting results: 2 + 2 equals 4.

From experience, however, I know that sometimes we get 5, and other times the result is 3. In this type of operation (Western culture loves mathematics!) I have never found a perfect calculation.

Despite having taken all precautions and following all the advice (plus, or pros, or positive column; minus, or cons, or negative column), there was something that always escaped, and still escapes. One column is disproportionately different from the other, and none can contain everything. Some elements go outside the margins, or above, or extend from one column to another, or are written with the reference of asterisks. In short, we do not understand anything.

The conclusion that I have drawn is that, when we must or want to face this type of situation, it is vital to use a different classification meter (!).

I’ve never been a big fan of these budgets because, as a person, I don’t feel like taking measures. In any sense, I prefer to reflect on the processes, and not at predetermined times, but at those appropriate to me.

This year, however, is different (and I hope it will vanish to give way to a year that is at least different), and it is perhaps the case that I clash with my mathematics, because I find myself at one of the many crossroads of my life, with the characteristic, however, that this comes when a lot of life has been lived, and therefore it is full of anxiety, and at stake is my happiness and that of those I love.

Today I have become aware that if I decide to make the jump, it is better that I have a parachute. Even a life jacket-duck is fine; doing it without any protection has deeply destabilized me; therefore, this time I would like to take a smoother and more comfortable road. That’s why I’m here with my budget: I hope to put a safety net between me and the bank that I must, and I want to land.

In the registers of income and expenses, there are no boxes for feelings, inner growth or defeats, the conquests and losses faced by our soul, the appearance of a new and clearer awareness, the decisions we make about our behaviour, the new priorities, joy, pain, sadness, exaltation, the mystique of abandonment.

So, I don’t want to call it a budget. The measurements, the evaluations (can you suggest other non-mathematical terms? They don’t exist. We are afraid of our irrationality!), and the measurements, therefore, are too personal and subjective. So, what now?Dialogue with myself? Introjection? Reflection

It’s not worth spending too much energy on a label. Let’s just do it, each in their own way, each with their own goals.

It could be a good guiding principle. Another basic rule is precisely democratic: three faculties come into play in our cognitive and decision-making processes: the mind (logic), the heart (feelings) and the stomach (instincts). You must listen to all three to understand what they think of a certain decision, and then accept what the majority has: two against one, in any combination. If all three are at odds, the question is still not clear to us.

To act, I look for a quiet place, not necessarily physical, and I go calmly backwards, at the beginning of 2021. I then try to understand what I have brought with me that is useless, what I have let go of this year and what I have collected and stored with care. It is a long process, not only because it is intrinsically complex, but also because we tend to tell lies, falsify reality, and reshape it according to our narcissistic and egotistic needs, on the wave of pride, based on our prejudices, on the judgments of others, or those judgments that we constantly hear, but don’t know how they ended up in our heads, which are really, very persistent. This is the first fog to evaporate and we have a clear vision of our reality in front of us. Listen to yourselves. That voice inside of you always knows when you lie.

A further step is not to be afraid of the dark and silence (at least this was the case for me), and instead get on the alert to grab thoughts and sensations that cross the mind and soul.

Then there is another difficulty to overcome, at least that I had to overcome: the fear of discovering, in absolute terms, or with an object, the ugly parts of ourselves, of not being at all that talented person we thought we were, but also discovering that you are good, intelligent, geniuses, artists. This too can scare me. It scares me. We are afraid of hurting others, of making them feel inadequate, of appearing presumptuous, but with a little training, we can proceed.

I don’t always want to write my reflections; sometimes I take note of intuitions, but I am so poorly organized when I travel with my mind that I can write anywhere: on a slip of paper, in a notebook, in the margin of a book, on a smartphone, everywhere; therefore, it is as if I wrote them in the sand. I think I understand why I do it: it is a bit like what monks do, who, by creating mandalas, show us an important lesson: everything is impermanent; consequently, it is useless to write an intuition today and use it in, say, two months. In the meantime, the water or the wind has already blown everything away. Let it settle so that it finds its place.

It’s better to go with the flow, have the courage to face it, not resist it, and see what happens.

This year I came out skinned. I hit adversity, suffering as big as boulders. I felt bumped among the stones, like when one is caught by a wave, and the flow was so furious that it swept me, rolling me heedless of brambles, differences in height, holes. And as I came out of a ravine, it was time to take a breath, and I was already at the entrance of another harsh tunnel.

But anyhow, I got this far, at the fateful end of December. The atmosphere of slowdown and celebration that exists these days allows me to curl up on myself, so I try to find a fixed point or two in the flow of life.

Unfortunately, I discover that 1. there can be no fixed point and 2. I cannot measure, let alone describe, the most significant successes, but can only feel them on the skin, in the stomach, in the mind, and in the heart.

It is only after this troubled period of observation that I feel like writing, and I do it in freedom, like automatic writing, a sort of interior monologue intended only for myself, which manifests itself when I write it and communicates in this way to my most intimate and hidden part, without the need for me to teach him. Everything comes together in harmony by itself, and it does not require me to notice it since, as I write, I have already changed, the decision has already formed within me, and I already know how much richer I am and how much poorer I am. So, I tell myself that what I lost along the way was no longer needed; it was superfluous, so I don’t worry about recovering it. What I have gained are new aspects of myself that have finally decided to reveal themselves. I look at the deep losses, and I feel that nothing has disappeared, but everything has been kept safe in my heart.

We can also record a voice diary; whichever method suits us best is fine.

What can I prove? In this matter, I can show you, as I hope I have done, the ways to proceed, from which you can start, but the blank sheet to fill in is up to you.

I am convinced that the relationship with our interiority cannot be taught, but only shown, helped to find, and, if anything, to give as many answers as possible.

So, no mathematics, indeed, we never lose sight of those all-wrong sums.

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