2005-03-11 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

by Marilyn Gelfand

This column is about the word “or” and the word “and.”  Because we use the word “or” so much in our thoughts we start dividing up life into boxes or categories: Is it this or that? Is it cold or hot, good or bad, left or right? 

It is important to ask myself, “Do I think in boxes?” Do I constantly classify to have to make everything fit into my ordered thinking of reality?  If we think this way, then we are distorting the reality to fit into our way of perceiving life. It may or may not be tied into what is genuinely happening. 

So much of what happens, what we feel, what must be explained is “and.”  Do I feel happy or sad? Well, I could feel happy and sad at the same time and that is perfectly as it should be.  I can be happy that in ill person is freed from pain and suffering, yet feel terrible over my loss of this person. When people tell us how we should feel, it can cause great discomfort. The most important thing to do is to acknowledge how I actually do feel. I must spend time with myself and realize what I am experiencing. It is so important for my own peace of mind to say to myself this is what I feel. When I am ready, I can choose my actions from clarity. 

Sometimes, what I feel can be selfish, childish or embarrassing if I told it to someone else. You don’t have to share what makes you feel uncomfortable.  The key is to know yourself what it is.  Soon, you can even laugh about it.  But if these feelings are left to just build up, you can feel discomfort, anger, pain and then it may come out totally inappropriately. You may say I don’t even know why I said that. The key is that as I live, I pay attention to my own reactions to things and get to know myself as best as I can. I may be feeling several things at once, and that is fine. 

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