November rain fell slowly but steadily on to the windscreen of his car as Brendan drove through the city streets that were slowly being transformed by the dark of night. Where do I go from here, he wondered, smiling wryly, for he knew he could not care less. Driving around aimlessly helped him to relax a little and distance himself from his muddled thoughts. It helped him to view his life from a different perspective. His life? Good question. Right now, it felt as if he was living other people’s lives.
“How did it get to this?” he asked himself out loud.
Jay Z ft. Justin Timberlake – Holy Grail
The swishing of the windscreen wipers provoked him to look deep down for an answer. Of course Brendan knew what had caused him to become trapped in unhealthy relationships in which he constantly adapted to other people and their needs. The clarity with which he now viewed his life sharply contrasted the way his throat and lungs felt. As long as he could remember, his lungs had always been wheezy and his voice croaky. The way in which his breathing was hampered, reflected his sense of powerlessness. Power was something that lay out of reach, in the outside world. His decisions and actions were externally motivated and his internal impulses were rarely ever considered by others or by himself.
Still, he knew that he himself was responsible for his life, not the voices that dictated his every thought, feeling and action. The voices that had found their way into his head many years ago. Thirty-five to be precise. They drowned out his inner voice and told him what was expected of him, causing him to ignore his own needs and desires. And so, Brendan found himself in between a rock and a hard place. If he ignored the voices, he would be punished by people taking their pain-drenched emotions out on him. However, ignoring his own voice meant not living his life to the full. And that hurt, Brendan realized with tears welling up in his eyes and pouring down his cheeks.
The Police – Voices Inside My Head
Faces, so many faces appeared before his inner eye and forced the floodgates that had contained his pain for so long to open, making Brendan roar:
“AAARGH … !!!”
Simultaneously, he yanked at the steering wheel, causing the car to swerve to the left and mount the curb. From then on, everything around him speeded up and flashed by as if he were entering another dimension. It made his head spin and before he was able to do anything about it, he lost consciousness. He was no longer aware of what was going on around him. It forced him to venture deep inside. As if in a dream, he saw himself walking along a track in the Cornwall countryside at the height of summer. Fields of sun-dappled wildflowers sprawled out on either side of the track and a brook babbled merrily some ten paces to his right. Then, to his surprise, he heard himself say the strangest words he had ever spoken:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.”
He knew them to be biblical, even though he had never touched a bible in his life, let alone read one. What’s more, he had no idea whatsoever why he of all people had just quoted this excerpt. Or maybe he did. Instantly, he understood that he needed to look beyond the words to discover the message that they conveyed. Something deep down began to tug at his thoughts, demanding his full attention. Then a voice inside sounded tenderly yet firmly:
“I am your inner voice. Listen to me and you shall listen to yourself.”
Level 42 – Are You Hearing What I Hear
This sudden interruption of his thoughts shook Brendan so much that he stopped walking and found himself looking around furtively, as if he was afraid someone had heard his inner voice speak. He laughed nervously and began walking again. He knew full well that his inner voice was right. And he could not remember when he had last listened to himself and his desires properly. All the other voices had been shouting for so long now. He felt how far apart he and his inner voice were. In fact, they had become strangers.
“STOP! Stop right now!” a male voice in front of him said.
It stopped Brendan dead in his tracks. While his heart pounded with fear, he looked down and came face to face with a very large badger. It waited until he calmed down and then looked at him with a kind and understanding look in his eye.
“Do you know why you are here?” the badger asked.
Brendan gave the question some thought.
“I am being guided,” he answered, and to his surprise, he felt his heart twitch.
“Yes, exactly. You are here to be guided, so that you may find reconciliation with yourself.”
Brendan arched his eyebrows in curiosity.
“That’s right,” the badger continued. “Once you re-establish a harmonious relationship with yourself, you will be true to yourself and discover what your own truth is.”
What the badger was telling him, began to make sense. It even sounded familiar. Suddenly, Brendan felt his heart beginning to glow. A warm sensation reverberated throughout his entire body, making him smile like he did as a young boy.
“Ahh, you can feel it can’t you?” the badger asked, smiling.
Brendan simply nodded.
“Now you can feel it, you must speak your own truth. Stand up for yourself and you will be amazed what this will bring about.”
The badger had barely spoken when he vanished into thin air, leaving a startled Brendan behind on the track.
Just as Brendan began to figure out what had just taken place, the scenery around him became blurry. He squinted and rubbed his eyes. Unnecessarily, as it seemed, because everything became clear again, except now the landscape had changed. He laughed when he discovered that he was standing on a beach.
“Hiya Brendan!” a woman’s voice called cheerfully behind him.
A big smile appeared on his face as he turned around to see an old classmate standing a few metres away up to her ankles in the surf that gently lapped the shore.
“Faye, is that you?”
“Yep, welcome to Kernow!” Faye answered with a smile. “Come and walk with me.”
Without hesitating, Brendan took off his socks and shoes and joined Faye in the surf. The water felt nice and cool. It helped him to relax and recall what Faye had been like back in the day, when they were in their last year of school. Kind was the first characteristic that came to mind. And also that she was respected by friend and foe alike.
“A strange thing happened before I arrived here,” he said.
Faye remained silent as she listened attentively. Brendan sensed that she already knew what he was about to tell her.
“Someone told me to stand up for myself.”
“Oh, you mean the badger?”
“Yeah,” Brendan replied with a hint of curiosity in his voice. “He reminded me of you, actually.”
“Thanks for the compliment,” Faye said, laughing.
“You stood up for yourself,” he explained. “You were always kind to me and accepted me the way I was. I want to thank you for that.”
“We all have our strengths and weaknesses, Brendan. I’m glad you’re starting to listen to your own needs first.”
“Me too,” Brendan agreed.
“Do you know what I like about you?” Faye asked.
Brendan shook his head.
“There’s something about you that I rarely see in other people. You have eyes that see and ears that hear.”
Brendan hung on to every word that Faye spoke.
“What I mean is, you can see and hear clearly what others can’t. You can feel the deeper meaning of what is and what isn’t being said.”
Faye’s words made Brendan’s heart glow. Then, to his surprise, she kissed him softly on both cheeks, making them glow as well.
In the blink of an eye, Faye vanished in the same way that the badger had and Brendan opened his eyes to see the rays of the morning sun flooding into his bedroom. Tears of joy rolled down his face as he said out loud to himself:
“Thank you. I can see clearly now.”
Jimmy Cliff – I Can See Clearly Now
Symbolism badger: Standing your ground, perseverance, determination
‘Rain’ by Public Domain Pictures on Pixabay
‘Wildflowers’ by LUM3N on Pixabay
‘Badger’ by Andy Ballard on Pixabay
‘Kynance Cove 2’ by Steve Knight on Freeimages.com
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