I felt full……infact, stuffed, like an old, over – plump mattress. I leaned on the wall, overlooking the beautiful, early evening beach – scene, and took in a huge breath, as if trying to make room inside myself……and then released it, almost forcefully, attempting to eject some of the stuff that was causing the incredibly uncomfortable, internal over – crowding.
But then I realised that I couldn’t. Everything I was aware of within me, that was stretching the sides, so to speak, was part of my inner world…..the echoes and ghosts of a million people, situations, experiences, and perceptions. Tears, laughs, words, songs, conversations……..hopes, needs, desires, fears and frustrations. And suddenly I didn’t want to get rid of any of it………it ALL mattered, in its own way.
And you know, we all have an inner world that is completely elastic. Like the universe, our inner world is expanding…….rapidly for some, slowly for others, dependent upon how they observe, think and respond……upon where their attention habitually goes. And I believe that although our outer world fades away when we die, our inner world remains intact for eternity. Nothing that resides within our inner world is ever gone. We may not consciously bring it all to mind (unless something stirs and reminds us), but once there, it never leaves. Some may say “Well, what you are referring to is your sub/un – conscious mind”, and I would say that that is the filing system of our inner world. Our inner world is real, alive and kicking, every single second of every single day we are alive on planet Earth…..and beyond.
There are old, beloved friends with whom I have parted company. There are old enemies with whom I still argue, and there are strangers with whom I shared a second or a moment in time. There are people I have never met, and will never do so…..the people who have inspired, encouraged and educated me. And there are the people whose stories scarred me. Like the young woman who has been so awfully brutalised by other human beings, she spends her time showering and cleaning her teeth, attempting to rid herself of the taste and feeling of horror and disgust. I re – visit her often, weeping with her, and holding her in my arms, wanting to soothe and heal her. I will never abandon her.
My inner world houses great joy and the celebration of victory. It houses shame and embarrassment, and regret. It is home to every day of my children’s lives, and all of the animals who honoured me with their presence. And in my inner world resides motorbike rallies and the scent of leather, hot metal and rubber, rock music and a hundred crazy conversations. And countless summer days and walks through the wood and along the beach. And every last one of my customers, their stories, their struggles, their resistances and their realisations…….still there, living alongside every other resident of my personal inner world. I may not bring each and every one to conscious mind, but I can still feel their echoes, every second of every day.
Is it possible that if we are to validate our existence, following our physical death, it is the depth and width and content of our inner world that will be offered as evidence? I don’t know. And why does our inner world periodically threaten to break through, the echoes becoming so loud they drown out our outer world? Maybe to remind us that nothing is lost, that everything counts, and that by being brave enough to allow ourselves to embrace and absorb every experience, by not demanding perfection and smooth edges, by not deliberately and consciously shutting the world out (to protect ourselves from hurting), that we are doing the very thing we were born for. Every now and then we need our inner world to turn the volume down a touch……on the occasions it is threatening to spill out, like two fighting cowboys tumbling through saloon doors, onto the dusty street. But we never want to shut it down, or become completely closed to it. We shouldn’t be afraid of those who reside in our inner world…….good, bad and indifferent, they are all a part of our personal story. And if we didn’t have villains lurking around in there, we wouldn’t have heroes, either. One cannot exist without the other, and what would life……existence…..be, without heroes?