If you haven’t noticed, I am learning how to express myself lately. Maybe for the first time in my life. To really let it rip. My truth. My vulnerability. My guts.
Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been loud and proud for most of my life; an extrovert from the moment I was born (so my mother tells me). But what I’ve discovered about myself over the last few months is how careful I have been with my words. How much I hold back for fear of being misunderstood or worse, judged. I think I believed that by revealing my insides, my deepest truths, I’d once and for all be exposed. I’d be unacceptable. I’d be rejected.
But cautious comes at a cost. All the words unspoken. All the truths unheard. All the ways I’ve denied my needs and hid my emotions. It has been lodged in my throat and stuck in my body for as long as I can recall.
And so I’ve been practicing speaking…and by “practice” I mean clumsy words, messy shares, emotional rants and fire-y proclamations. It has been a full and fierce process and while scary and uncomfortable (excruciating) at times (all the time), it has also been cathartic and healing and helpful to me and so many of whom have been walking with me on this journey. Of that I am certain.
But I woke up this weekend tired of talking. Tired of processing, excavating, working it out, trying to understand, revealing and exposing.
And so I stopped. I stopped moving. I stopped leaning in. I stopped doing it all. And immediately, I remembered what I had forgotten in this process. That on the other side of sound is silence…and that silence can be as revealing and powerful as words spoken and truths exposed. And so I have let the silence become the speaker and what is emerging is a new kind of communication. One that is more magical and subtle I think that any word spoken thus far.
So I am going to shut up now and return to my practice of silence. And my invitation to YOU on this holiday is to find a space of stillness, a place of quiet, a pose of non-doing and just be there. Let go of the words unsaid and things undone for just a moment and be in a space that is uncontained, that is limitless, that is without answers and just dwell there. And what you will find, amidst the nothingness is perhaps everything.
When I am silent, I fall into the place where everything is music. - Rumi
Silence is a source of great strength. - Lao Tzu
Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence. - Leonardo da Vinci
Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact. - George Eliot, Impressions of Theophrastus Such
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Silence is a true friend who never betrays. - Confucius
Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom. - Francis Bacon
Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer. - Muhammad Ali
Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln
He who does not know how to be silent will not know how to speak. -Ausonius
There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub. - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
I have found out in the course of a long public life that the things I did not say never hurt me. - Calvin Coolidge
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
The saying is true "The empty vessel makes the greatest sound." - William Shakespeare, Henry V (Act IV, scene 4)
There are times when silence is the best way to yell at the top of your voice. - O. A. Battista
Speech is of time, silence is of eternity. - Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus