Friday, September 24, 2010

Finding my Voice in the Silence

It's ironic that in listening to the silence, I find my Voice.

I've been journaling and writing and leading classes on journal writing around this theme. But it just hit me this morning as I read this piece I copied from Heart of the Matter newsletter  by Mark Silver.

Silence is not the absence of noise, it is an active presence. If you listen with your heart, you can taste it. Take a moment now and listen for it in your heart.

Under the noise, behind, within the noise, there is a silent presence. It's palpable.
Don't try to grab it. Don't try to hold onto it. Instead, invite it in. Give it permission to take over everything within you, to push aside the noise, to fill you up.
Whatever noise is taking up your attention in this moment, kids, music, Twitter, notice it. Notice all the noise in your space. Take a minute to focus in on each one.
Next, in your heart say "No." If you like you can try the phrase "La ilaha illa'llah," which is pronounced pretty much like it reads. You're not resisting the noise, just acknowledging that all of that hubbub is not the truth.
Third, feel the longing in your heart for silence. Let the longing deepen.

Finally, ask in your heart for help in tasting the silence that is there and allowing it to flood in. Give permission to the silence to master you, to be your anchor.

Now, to some of you this  may seem counterintuitive, but this is how I get in touch with my inner voice, my own wisdom, and my real heart's longing to be whatever I can be. I listen to the silence.

I've spent the last year journalling about the direction I want my life to take, in terms of working with women on retreats or classes, writing and blogging, and this is what appeared finally from out of the void, as My Theme: Finding my Voice.

I can't say it's all that original, but when I look back at my life story, from early beginnings in a large family of eight, to singing like a shy little sparrow in grade school, hiding in my room to play guitar in my teens, coming out of the bedroom to sing for others in my twenties and even write my own songs, to meeting my husband as a new 'guitarist' who could play bar chords so I could sing the songs I loved, to singing to my children when they were little to calm them, entertain them or divert them, to singing in a duo with my husband occasionally today, and performing in public with a barbershop quartet and chorus by night....

I am finding my Voice.

Through writing poetry in my teens, keeping a diary of sorts since around the time I met Jacques 26 years ago, to first applying to a Creative writing program with a very sentimental manuscript of poems, to finally 10 years later publishing a book of poems and birth journal (part of my Master's thesis in Creative Writing), to recording a CD of poems and one with friend and cellist Kim Gosselin, to leading workshops on the Feminine, the Body, and now one called Charting your Journey, through publishing short stories and poems about my own journey and about meditation, menopause, teen sexuality, and every Taboo topic that my mind wants to keep silent and ashamed....I am Finding my Voice.

There, I think I've said it.

I have also been inspired by Janet Quinn's book I am A Woman Finding my Voice, and by Janet Connor's Writing down the Soul, to mention just a few books I love.

I am very excited about attending a workshop with Natalie Goldberg at Kripalu this November too, on Memoir writing, since the Voice keeps leading me back to my own stories.

And another wonderful on-line resource is for finding writing workshops and mentors.

So try practising letting the silence be your teacher, and let it help you find Your Voice.Then write, sing, dance it out into the World. Share your Voice, for the world would be a much too silent place if only the best song birds opened their throats and sang (paraphrased from a famous author).


Bask until the silence leaves. Rinse, repeat if desired.

Let the silence master you.

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