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Zaynab Bunsie listens to herself




Zaynab Bunsie, Project Manager of The Space To Come, does the Listening to Yourself exercise.


I started my first Listening to Ourselves conversation talking about patches of sun and patches of shade and by the end of the conversation I was talking to myself about shame. I know this sounds like a leap but that’s the thing with this exercise, you never know where it’s going to take you.


The sun was setting, which was beautiful but in spring that can often means being caught out in pockets of chilled air. I didn’t have anything particularly pressing to talk to myself about so my conversation started with chatting about what was around me; What I could see. A bit like small talk, but with myself. However, unlike being in small talk with a stranger or even a friend at times; I was able to move, very quickly into a deeper and more personal chat.


I noticed myself recoiling from the sudden chills of the shade and so I asked myself how I felt about shadows. At the same time, I could hear how my voice dipped in volume each time I walked past a stranger as I worried about whether they could hear what I was talking about or if they could just tell that I was talking to myself. Why did I think that was? I wondered. That led to questions about using my voice which led to a curiosity about any shame I might be experiencing.


I think that’s what was so great about talking to myself in this way. It allowed me to catch hold of and pull down offshoots of my thinking, be curious about them and follow new interesting questions. It feels different to both journaling and daydreaming as the pace is somewhere between the two and I imagine the thoughts that I stayed with were different. I also found that in talking aloud and asking myself questions, as opposed to just running with a thought, that I was gentler with myself than my inner voice tends to be.


Audio transcript


I actually find it quite awkward recording my voice erm on a voice memo or an audio especially thinking about somebody else listening to it, so I had a little chat about that today on my listening to ourselves walk, with the soundtrack which I love, it makes such a difference having that kind of sound in the background, makes me feel quite meditative and thoughtful and also it makes me stick to the 20 minutes erm which is nice, because then I’m just kind of giving myself time for things to come up. I guess I often talk about reflections on feelings and reactions and thoughts, I mean I’m training to be a psychotherapist so I almost treat myself like I might treat one of my clients. And I quite like that because it gets, it’s a bit different to just daydreaming or thinking something through or even journaling. Because it feels like I’m a bit more friendly with myself but I’m also getting specific about things and really asking for more detail about why I’m thinking or feeling something or what I think that’s related to or what something means to me. Yeah it just occurred to me, actually on the most recent one that I did, that you could use this for problem solving or for kind if working out ideas, I haven’t used it in that way yet. Yeah, I’ve just kind of been, today yeah, kind of having a little chat.