To get right to the point.
Prapanca (pronounced Pra-punch-a, which is important because it’s fun to say)
– useless narrative
– borrowing pain from the future
– anxiety spiral (that’s my definition)
I came across this awesome word in my meditation book: 10% Happier. Finally, a name for all that negative, anxiety-filled, egoist self talk. Prapanca.
We all have that voice in our head that we think has our best interest at heart. Until it doesn’t. That voice (bear with me, I’m not crazy. But that’s what crazy people say, so maybe I am) in our heads, our conscience, ego, said can get very loud and annoying. I know mine does.
Her name is Penelope. She’s a bitch, that Penelope. Always being the “devil’s advocate” to all of my awesome ideas. Side note: Can we please stop starting speeches with “I hate to be the devil’s advocate” when we’re about to say something really negative and bitchy? Just stop. Don’t be the devil’s advocate. We know you don’t reaaaaallly hate it. Besides, I’m pretty sure all devil’s advocates go to hell. Something to think about.
Anyhooooo… Penelope tells me that I’m a fraud. That I shouldn’t ask for a promotion because I probably don’t deserve it… or who do I think I am? She’s responsible for forboding joy, perfectionism, and self-doubt. All the things I despise about myself.
Penelope is prone to prapanca. If, I give her too much power. In other words, if I listen, humor her, believe her, enable her.
My goal with meditation is to quiet the prapanca. Recognizing that the conversations I’m having with myself (er, hm, Penelope) are useless narrative that’s prone to become and anxiety spiral. And, we don’t want that.
Here’s how I will be doing this.
Danielle: I think I’ll go for a run.
Penelope: What if people see you doing pushups like that? I think they think you’re stupid. You look too fit. A fitness fanatic. Crazy. Obsessed.
Danielle: STFU Penelope. I’m trying to run here!
Penelope: <Repeats phrases over and over but louder this time to compete with all the yelling.>
Danielle: Breathing. Stepping. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Focus. Breathe.
Penelope: but I—
Danielle: Nope, bringing attention back to breath. Legs moving. Running. Breathing.
Pretty soon that bitch Penelope is dead. Died of boredom. And I prevail.
Ok, she won’t be dead completely, but the idea is that if I recognize that the prapanca narrative in my head cannot be proven true or false and it’s simply useless, I can change Penelope into someone more like a Poppy. Who is healthy, beautiful, bright, confident and… POSITIVE!