I’m chatty by nature.
When I was in fourth grade, my morning mantra was, “I’m not going to talk today, I’m not going to talk today, …” By the time I got to school, that mantra evaporated into the ether and all of the events since the day before came flooding out. This chatty trend extended into Junior High School where I was ostracized from the circle of desks in my English class for lack of a location that would silence me. My desk was moved outside the circle, next to the door.
It’s my nature.
I not only like to talk, but I love words. I love finding the right word to describe a feeling that is otherwise indescribable. I love the poetry of the world around me and must share it in various ways. Reading, writing, acting (early in my life), teaching, sharing ideas, experiences and perceptions all factor into a passion for expression which continues to evolve.
A couple of years ago, I went on my first silent retreat and LOVED it! It had a profound effect on my nature, reminding me that silence is the other side of the chatty coin. My meditation practice teaches me that in small daily doses, but three days of silent communication, softened my voice and opened my ears. The discipline of being silent yielded to the art of listening revealing a nature long ignored.
Like all insights resulting from an intentional experience, they fade and require periodic booster shots to remain potent. The Universe has many ways to administer said shots and not all are our choice.
Nearly a week ago I was silenced, not intentionally, but by a raging sore throat unlike anything I’ve ever experienced (and I’ve known my share of sore throats). Red and swollen, swallowing became torturous and sleep, a dream. Expecting the normal remedies to work (gargling with salt water, local honey, warm honey & lemon water, chicken soup, neti pot, etc.), I endured. Four days later, I succumbed and went to the doctor. A cursory examination left me with a prescription for Amoxicillin and no definitive diagnosis. More than 48 hours after my first dose, my relief is minimal but gratitude is rising around me.
Unable to meet my calendar commitments, including teaching yoga (one of the absolute joys of my life) and caring for my children (another absolute joy), I was forced inside literally and figuratively. The message was clear ~ slow down. But how? It’s not just my list that needs tending. Striking a daily balance is challenging; my pendulum tends to swing in extremes throughout the day in order to get everything taken care of; when it’s all done and day has morphed into night, it barely swings in my appeal to chill out. Somewhere in between is a balance resembling the Holy Grail (and just as elusive).
Here is a glimpse of the power of being silenced:
- Moments when I might raise my voice are tempered by my pain.
- Moments I might speak over others to make my point come second to listening first.
- Moments of creativity flow through my fingers rather than the vibrations of my voice.
- Moments I think of as monumental must-do’s are not so big when viewed through the lens of honoring my body.
- Moments previously focused on the computer turn to well-needed rest & connection.
- Moments of conversation use fewer words.
- Moments of hugging loved ones are never overrated!
- Moments are life’s beads and gratitude is the cord upon which they are strung.
So much more has been logged in my storehouse of memory and meaning than listed here. Knowing that these bullet points will soon fade into memory as my voice returns, I take this moment to ponder. Perhaps these are not just bullet points but mantras to practice with to balance my excessive Vissudha Chakra (throat chakra).
That the discomfort is another way to wake up to here and now is not lost on me. While I hope the pain subsides soon, I sit in the muck of now knowing its impermanence is what I must remember to fully take this seat. I won’t pretend that it’s easy, only that it is.
I bow deeply to the unseen forces that work on my behalf, reminding me to pay attention and do the work. Being silenced does not feel so much like losing my voice, but recognizing its power and accepting my nature as part of the ebb & flow. Identifying as chatty is accurate, but it is equally true that I embrace the quiet space between words.
It’s my nature.