Thursday, February 19, 2009

Voice Moderations

“Contemplation is the response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet who speaks in everything that is, and Who most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: for we ourselves are words of His.” --Thomas Merton

The last couple of days have contained a really interesting focus around finding my voice. Finding it AND losing it. The cool, amazing and terrifying thing about encouraging others to grow and become more authentic is that I am called to do the same thing for myself. Over and over again. Growth is a really great thing and sometimes I am stunned by how much there still is for me to do. It can be disheartening, but mostly it is exciting. As long as I am growing and changing then I am alive. Once I know everything – game over!

Working with my supervisor on Tuesday, I asked her how she thought I was doing. She responded with pretty quick accolades which are great to hear, but not necessarily helpful. Then she paused and said, “Do you really want to know what I see?” Yes, I responded. No! I thought. “Well there is this thing you do when you have something really great to say. You start out strong and then you let your voice slow down and kind of trail off so that you end up losing the impact of what you are offering.” Damn! I had heard this before but not quite as concisely as this.

We continued the conversation and she said, “You’re like a little kid who is passionate about something…” And then it hit me, Oh shit! That’s exactly it. I am a child stopped by a withering stare or a “hush, not now” in my head or both. My voice not welcomed. My excitement – my passion – squelched. My voice trails off – gets quieter – until I speak no more. While I am familiar with this and have spent lots of time in therapy and contemplation, it still makes me sad to know how the effects of childhood linger into my womanhood. AND…that’s the great thing about awareness. Now, I can do something about it while I learn to catch myself before I let my voice fade away.

Yesterday morning after doing some journaling on this topic, the above quote from Merton was waiting for me. And, throughout the day I had ample chance to consider standing strong in my voice. The Universe even offered up some withering stares and a presence very reminiscent of my past with which to practice. Fun, huh? I was very grateful for my morning yoga class and my daily intention of kindness for myself and others!

So, where do you get stuck in old patterns? What do you think about the thought “Once I know everything – game over”? As always, I’d love to hear your voice!! Namaste.

18 comments:

Tess said...

I think it was my former coach who said to me that we are often drawn to teach what we need to learn.
In your case, teaching and growing in growth itself.

I laughed out loud when I read your "...Yes, I responded. No! I thought..." Exactly so. I've made a series of presentations over the past couple of weeks which were videod. Today I was asked if I wanted to see the tapes. My reaction was exactly the same! (Haven't seen 'em yet.)

Sometimes we seem to need to learn the same old thing again and again, and I get downhearted. But I was just thinking that it's like weaving (which I don't do, but I try never to let the facts stand in the way of a good analogy!). We may be weaving the same piece for a long time, and it feels as if we'll never finish, but there are small parts of the pattern that are interesting and beautiful and that soothe us, which we can look back at to give us courage.

Abbey of the Arts said...

lucy, I love the way you illuminated the interior process of your awareness. You have such gifts to share and I would love to hear your voice strong! Your supervisor offered you such a gift, I never noticed that before consciously, but when I read those words I thought, I have seen you do that on occasion and now I want to support you fully in reversing that pattern! Love you, C

Abbey of the Arts said...

PS -- I hit "publish" and then realized that I didn't answer your questions myself. I think I haven't consciously seen this pattern in you because I struggle with those same issues. Gulp, more growth. :-) I love always being in process, but sometimes it does feel a bit daunting!

lucy said...

tess-- i am basking in the presence of your "voice" even though it is across the ocean. i say "watch the tapes." it may be painful. it may be wonderful. it will probably be BOTH!

C--she did indeed give me a gift. i wrote the same words for myself. i also knew that i took a risk in illuminating it for others (like you) to see, but that's the way we grow - by taking risks, right?

so glad to have you both as vocal coaches :-)

lucy said...

C--at least we're in it together! xoxo

RipGurl said...

Lucy,
I have been following your blog for awhile and am thrilled by today's post. Life does seem overwhelming with the possibilities. As Barack Obama put it in The Audacity of Hope, "it can be like drinking water from a fire hose." While this was in reference to his beginnings in the Senate, how true to life. As you said, if we are continually growing, then we are living.

Barbara said...

I don't think I could bear seeing my teaching videotaped! I am too much the perfectionist. However, I love it when I am imitated or quoted by my students. Eccentricities are what make a teacher and, perhaps, [I don't know] a counselor.
My once mentor, Father Richard, advised me to "bell the cat." Be on the watch for those times when childhood-rooted behaviours raise their heads and stare them down. For what it is worth ...

Barbara said...

P.S., I recall a colleague describing me as never complacent. On that score, I am jumpier than the average cat! So the need to keep on striving and learning is well ingrained in me, as well. We should never get to the state of knowing it all.

lucy said...

ripgurl--i am always thrilled to hear a new (or rarely heard) voice here! i love the fire hose analogy...it is one of my husband's favorites...and yes, so true of life!

barbara - are you a virgo? i have never heard the term "bell the cat" before, but i love the idea of staring down those old behaviors that aren't serving us well.

i ran into a professor in the hall yesterday who i had not before met. i mentioned having had a rough session with a student who really didn't want to hear what i had to offer. the prof said, "sometimes you just have to put the skunk on the table." :-) the truth does get pretty stinky sometimes!!!...but i always did like pepe le peu as a child...

p.s. ripgurl--i need to get "the audacity of hope" onto my reading list!

SUNRISE SISTER said...

I like the post and especially like your supportive audience chiming in with their support - not with their platitudes but with TRUE support and that's what you get from me today also!

The more you learn about your childhood and the parts of it you find objectionable the more opportunity you have to shelve those issues and move on into the "stream from the fire hose" because you definitely have that stream of positives flowing in your life now. All who love and support you are cheering you on and since we weren't truly, or even remotely, present for the childhood, we're eager for the ebullient woman to continue in her extraordinary bloom of creativity and achievement!

xoxoxoxo

Barbara said...

No, lucy, I am not a virgo. I am embarrassed to say I am a taurus, but in the Chinese horoscope, I am monkey!
I like that phrase about putting the skunk on the table. I never heard that one before. I do like to talk about giving people "the skunk eye" though. I think I got that from Letterman.

Beth P. said...

Lucy--
Here's letting some light and air into the process! Thanks for this--

The quote 'once I know everything--game over' is profound. It could mean that we don't need to be on the planet anymore. It could mean that knowing everything means that the ego has finally won. It could mean that it's all just a game and how we win by acknowledging that we knew it all, all along.

Just some random thoughts, without knowing a damn thing.

I like the skunk on the table metaphor, to talk about the elephant in the living room one...

Thanks again for your vulnerability and grace!

Endlessly restless said...

Lucy

This entry strikes a chord with me in a couple of ways (at least!). Firstly, there's a question of where we go once we have the insight/awareness. There's a loose connection with my entry for today - I think.

The second, which I'll blog about sometime soon, is how we respond to messages that we don't want to hear. It's certainly a test of our character and integrity.

lucy said...

thanks, beth. i am still trying to figure out how to navigate the tea house, but i like what i see there :-)

ER--there's that dance of what do we do with the awareness for sure. and i love your second point...i may have to blog about it too. i have found myself a lot lately in both the place of receiving and giving messages that don't necessarily want to be heard...but feel important nonetheless!

Val said...

Lucy,
Your post reminded me of something I wrote just the other day:

"Can we ever really "master" anything? I don't want to get too deep but, let me say this: If you ever see or hear of me proclaiming to master ANYTHING, you have my permission to hunt me down and slap some sense into me.

I'll try, and I'll do good, and I'll mess up, and I'll always keep going, and sometimes I may even do something wonderful, but master something? Nope. There's ALWAYS room for growth."

Thanks for the reminder.
Val

BrettRam said...

Lucy,

I loved this post and can certainly relate to it in my present reality. I find myself in a similar search for my voice and have been for year. I am a hard case. What i've been asking myself this morning is "what if all of life is an expression of joyfulness that i have mislabeled as something else?" Your words speak to me encouraging me to be more gentle with myself. I have found my mind makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master. My voice has been muzzled by my own paralysis of analysis. And i am trying to love myself for doing that to me. Thanks for letting me know i am not alone.

Pax

Brett

lucy said...

brett--i smiled when i read this since while you were writing it, i was typing my current few words. check it out :-)

lucy said...

val--i love what you wrote here and have been pondering it off and on for several days. i need to go back and look, but i think it reminds me of a post i wrote on "mystery or mastery." finding that balance between moving towards mastery rather than floating aimlessly about AND knowing that there is ALWAYS room for growth!

i hope you'll stop by and comment again. i loved reading what you have to say!!! peace.