Listen and Translate
I am fascinated with languages. I am an auditory learner; I can mimic just about any accent that I hear with something close to precision. Just by listening to someone talk, I can guess with maybe about 80 percent accuracy which of the four surrounding counties in my area they come from.
But while I am a bit of an amateur linguist, what I am really interested in is the language of the subconscious.
Everyone has their own language.
Your subconscious mind is capable of infinitely more than you could ever consciously imagine. (I would recommend the book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell to find out in greater detail just how much more.) Its chief goal, of course, is to show you both who you really are and who you have the potential to become —essentially the process that Abraham Maslow called self-actualization.
It is through your own subconscious language that you can achieve this goal.
The subconscious mind speaks to us primarily through stories.
You know how you can listen to a certain song and it feels like it was written specifically for you? I have quite a few like that; they speak in a dialect I understand on an instinctual level, often using archetypes that resonate with me.
We understand ourselves and the world around us through narratives.
Why do you think Twilight was so popular? It narrated an experience that so many people can relate to —that of an impossible romance, a forbidden love. When any artistic work strikes a chord within your soul, you know that it is vibrating in tune with the language of your own subconscious.
While your subconscious mind can, and often does, talk to you through things that someone else created, you can only begin to understand the absolute uniqueness of your own subconscious language through your own creations.
The language of my subconscious is told in parables of dollbabies and Aliens, vampires and Wolves. It is simply how I have learned to see the world, and to make sense of the things that have happened in it.
Jester is a collector of memories and experiences; one of the ways his subconscious speaks to him is through the curation of minute details. There is meaning in every one of those details. Snake is a musician; he translates emotions into rhythm and sound. My friend the Thomasine finds keys hidden in plain sight; his subconscious shows him meaning that most people can’t see. Some people understand themselves through art; some, through the act of taking something old, dirty, and broken and making it new again.
The subconscious speaks in metaphors.
It would be lovely if we could just sit down to write a story and find ourself writing everything we need to know about ourself. Dear Misty, you felt a sense of abandonment when your father left you as a child that made it difficult for you to trust the feeling of love. That’s why you wouldn’t let Snake love you years ago, and now you want to go back and have a second chance.
But of course it isn’t that easy. I found myself writing a story about a woman who had run away from the love of her life many years ago and was now haunted by his ghost; her daughter, who struck up a platonic relationship with a descendant of her mother’s lover; and the great -granddaughter, who met and fell in love with the great-grandson of her great-grandmother’s lover, essentially giving the two of them a ‘second chance’. It was up to me to decipher the message.
Your inner voice prompts you to create things that will deliver the message you need to hear to heal, grow, and become the most whole version of yourself.
Even something as simple as a spontaneous selfie can serve as a reminder from your subconscious that you are worth looking at, you are worth being seen, you are beautiful.
The people we connect with can also speak our subconscious language.
I read about the idea of projection several years ago. Simply put, a projection is when you take an idea, an emotion, a belief, and you project that onto another person as if it belonged to them.
Jester might ask me, for example, why I wasn’t able to finish the laundry that day when he gets home. I often become immediately defensive at such a question, thinking that he is upset with me, when really he just wants to know about my day. I am projecting my expectations of his behavior onto him.
Your mere opinion of a person, in fact, can serve as a projection, and not always in a bad way. When you admire someone for being confident, creative, or open-minded, for example, you are projecting the admiration for those traits that you yourself already possess. Similarly, when someone’s insecurity or self condemnation gets under your skin, that is your subconscious showing you a mirror of those things that you dislike about yourself.
Every person that you meet, while on their own unique journey, has a role to play in your journey.
Showing you the things that you admire about yourself, as well as the things you need to work on, is one of those roles.
More than anything, the subconscious speaks to us through feelings.
Just from my observation, there seems to be two different mainstream beliefs about feelings. One is that your feelings hinder you, and your decisions should be based on either logic or law. The other is that your feelings are a direct line of communication from your Higher Power, and they should be trusted without question.
Why don’t we meet in the middle with this? Your feelings are your subconscious mind speaking to you —and your subconscious is, in essence, your direct line to the Universe —but while they might be telling you something you need to know about yourself, they aren’t always telling you what you should do.
My ex-father-in-law, the Wolf, was a man who hated homosexuality. Passionately. When Atlas was a boy, the Wolf would tell him that “gays need to be lined up and shot.” That hatred is clearly not a feeling that should be acted on.
It can, however, tell the Wolf something about himself, if he chose to look at it with an open mind and a great deal of humility. The Wolf is the embodiment of toxic Christian masculinity; he won’t even admit that a man must have a feminine side. It would be weak to say that his hatred of the LGBTQ+ community is solely a reflection of his fear of owning his own feminine side, because there are surely more factors at play than just that; but the entire crutch of toxic masculinity rests on male fragility, and their fear of appearing as anything less than pure man. And hatred stems from fear.
(I do feel compelled to add that since his wife left him a few years ago, the Wolf has become marginally more tolerant. But he is still a Wolf.)
So some feelings should be examined but not acted on. Some feelings should be acted on in their proper time, while still others require only an acceptance of the feeling and nothing more.
Either way, your subconscious mind will lead you in the right direction if you just listen.
Whatever the story, metaphor, or feeling, we must heed the message of the subconscious before we can move on in our spiritual journey.
The very first Tarot card I ever drew for myself was the Eight of Swords. It depicts a girl tied and blindfolded, unable to move. Stuck. It was a year before I would finally leave my husband, and that image was the visual expression of the way I felt. Stuck.
I had already done a lot of growing and soul-searching by that point, but there was one message that my subconscious was practically screaming at me that I was afraid to listen to: Get out!! It wasn’t until I finally listened to that message that I began to feel like I could move again.
Your subconscious mind always knows what is best for you. It knows better than your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your husband or wife, your best friend, your Facebook friends, even your mother.
If you are stuck in a pattern of verbally abusive bosses, lazy boyfriends, fair-weather friends, whatever it might be — listen to what the voice of your subconscious is telling you about yourself, your intentions, and your core beliefs.
Only then can you break the cycles and begin to generate real change in your life.