The inner protector who protects too much

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Photo by Jason Briscoe


Life says yes,

but something inside me says no

and the dance is cut off

before it begins.

The no is swift and involuntary,

like a guillotine falling

and chopping off my own head

Yet it is also subtle

because it is often undetectable

in the moment of activation.

After 30 plus years of saying these yes no’s,

I wonder what life would be like without the no.

Would I still wish I said no

because there is something familiar and soothing

in the pull back of this inner movement?

Or would I just glide over each new edge with abandon,

freed from the security guard within

that wants to protect

but unwittingly chains me?

We all have protective parts that operate in our psyches. I have an inner manager inside me that at times wants to fiercely keep me on the straight and narrow. She doesn’t like it when I want to explore or do anything she deems impractical. She can be a hard task master who wants to keep me within the boundaries of her known world that she believes is safe. As soon as I start to make a move on the advice of my intuitive self, my inner protective manager cuts in and tries to pull me back with what often seem like logical reasons for not moving forward until they are investigated. Her other tactic is to use fear.

When I contemplated walking the whole Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, my inner protector objected very loudly with logic and fear:


You didn’t save any money this year, and you didn’t save for this. It’s expensive.

It’s a long walk.

It is summer, so it will be too hot.

Everyone goes on holidays in August. You won’t be able to find any accommodation.

What if something happens to you?

You don’t know anything about hiking. What if you can’t finish it? What a waste of money that would be.

But the loudest objection I heard was the question of why on earth would I want to walk 2000 kilometres. What was the point of that?

Fortunately at the time, my inner wise self also spoke up, reminding me that where there’s a will there’s a way and if not now, when? I had just been made redundant and I had the time to do the whole walk in one go (it takes around 3 months). What if I never had this freedom again?

Through my personal psychotherapy and healing, as well as my counselling studies and mindfulness practices, I have developed awareness of my inner parts and when they start running the show, although sometimes they can still be slippery and quick acting and go under the radar.

When a protective part of you speaks up, there is no need to shame it, argue with it or make it wrong. There’s also no need to try and get rid of it. Instead, we listen to it and make it more consciously known to us. It can hold valuable information you need to know. The key is to become curious and always be compassionate towards yourself.

With love and courage,


PS If you’re feeling stuck and unable to move towards something that you’re really longing for, it could be that your inner protector is at work whether known or unbeknown to you. Email me or get in touch if you would like some support.

On the edge of aliveness, not fear.

Photo by Nathan Anderson

Photo by Nathan Anderson

Sometimes when we are scared, we stop at naming it as fear rather than feeling through it and experiencing it fully.

I wrote this poem after a morning meditation where I journeyed to the edge of my known and unknown world. Fear arose but I sat at the edge and this is what was revealed to me...


Take me to the edge of the edge

of this life that I know

and let me breathe here for a while

looking at the cosmos

of possibility before me

constantly rearranging itself.

I may say that I want to leap

and free fall through it all

but we both know that’s not true.

So let me sit here for a while

attuning to the beginning

of what’s to come

while celebrating what has been

and where I am

on this vast frontier called life.

Like a child, I may return home

to my safe haven

and the comfort of what is known

before coming to the edge

to explore again.

This coming, this going

is the pulse of life.

Sit at the edge long enough

and you will become one

with aliveness.

You will know

that anything is possible

and that nothing is as well.

You will know

that falling is not failing,

they are different words,

and failing does not matter,

it never mattered,

but aliveness does.

Stay in your comfort zone

and you will live

a life of atrophy.

To live while you’re alive

is always to be on the edge

of great failure

and great success.

In the end there is only one

and it doesn’t matter what you call it.

What you think is fear

is not.

What you feel as fear

is not necessarily what you think it is.

Feel into it further than just naming it

and you will know

that fear was only ever the edge

of this,

of being alive.

Stay with the aliveness

and all the noises

of fear and self-doubt

will calm down.

Your judgment of good and bad,

right and wrong,

success and failure

are getting in your way.

Remove them

and there is no barrier,

only endless creativity,

exploration and experience.

Isn’t that what you’re really here for?


With love and courage,