Because the majority of my work is voice based my voice is often tired. I talk and talk and talk and talk – I tell stories, I boss students about how to move their bodies, and I hold my clients hands when I tell them the honest and hard truth. Sometimes, I will literally speak for eight hours straight. Those days I am so tired of hearing myself that when I have the luxury I stay quiet. I don’t call my friends or family, I don’t seek out dinner companions, instead I sit still and in silence, usually in the bathtub, probably with the lights out.
Like a singer, this last week I injured my voice. My big powerful beautiful projectable voice is currently muted. I can speak but it is not suppose to be above a whisper and in truth it is not suppose to be at all. As soon as my doctor told me that I had to shut-up I realized that I had so much I wanted to say pretty much to everyone – especially those I love. Yet this time silence is not a luxury. Silence is not a gift to myself. Silence is now both my practice and my healer. Freaking silence.
So I am practicing remembering to remember to be silent. To say the least it is hard, it requires effort, it makes me uncomfortable – if I were in front of a yoga room right now I would say that this serves a purpose. That this discomfort will agitate me to grow. Maybe it will but right now when I am out and about I feel down right rude. After all, I was raised to greet people, to say please and thank you, to speak when spoken to – so I made a number of note cards and flash them at strangers.
Recently I lost a very dear family friend, Arthur. To say that he was a beautiful fine man is not even the half of it. My parents loved him, my brother loved him, and I loved him. Last year Arthur went for a run, in his yard upon his return he screamed that he was having a stroke and a moment later was irrevocably Locked-in.
Locked-in is a specific term, caused by a brain stem stroke (which is very, very, very rare) that basically means that his brain worked but not one bit of his surface did. He couldn’t move – not one muscle - or speak. All he could do was blink his eyes. It was through blinking and an alphabet key that he took the decision from his family and decided his own fate. He left this world several weeks after his stroke.
So this week, each time I want to speak out, I remain silent. Each time, I have a thought I keep it in. I look at people deeply when they speak to me – to show I am present – and flash them a card. I think about Arthur, I think about how much he probably wanted to say and couldn’t. I think about those things and I hold silence.
So to you my readers I have this to say: “Speak the fuck up.” Don’t hold your truth in. Tell those that you love that you love them. Tell those that have hurt you that you are hurt. Let it out, no matter how uncomfortable, for you never ever know when you might not actually have a voice.
Life is fleeting. Pay attention. Be awake. Speak your truth.