I lost my voice Thanksgiving Day. I lose it every couple of years, a scratchy or throaty rasp sometimes not even accompanied by a sniffle… but this year I completely lost it. I am on day three of no voice, barely a whisper since Thanksgiving. I have a friend who always asks when an ailment occurs, ‘what do you think the Universe is trying to tell you?’ She literally texted me after I sent her call to voicemail and messaged her, ‘I have no voice’…. ‘Scared to speak your truth??’
I will say that having no voice does give you time to be thoughtful and observe and respond to those around you less reflexively. I am a queen of multi-tasking, and I am also very quick to reply. In person and via text. I mean, lets be real, I CAN talk…its just a whisper and it hurts so it is better not to and unless you’re real close to me there is no point because you won’t be able to hear me.
I had to sub out my classes this weekend, which means giving up income as the holidays approach. I guess for me the lesson here is to trust that it will all work out. I love teaching, and I love talking (so much) but I am letting go of how I thought my weekend would be and instead being fully present in how it ended up.
I had dinner with my girls last night, we got take-out Thai/sushi and planned to decorate the house for Christmas. It was nice, and honestly, they probably loved my lack of verbal ability because I observed more and ‘told how’ less. (insert laughing tears emoji) I am a bossy pants and instead last night was simply an active and equal participant. While we were having dinner, we got into a discussion about something and had a difference of opinion. While differing opinions is not an oddity, the way it all played out was for sure, and it was a nice change. I couldn’t immediately jump in and be defensive or lay out the why’s that my way of thinking was justified. Instead, I took a pause and asked them to tell me more. I stopped to listen and hear where they were coming from and why they felt the way they did. It wasn’t an earth-shattering subject, but it was a good lesson in empathy and understanding. I still had the opportunity to say (whisper) my thought process but taking the time to really hear them out and to understand their impression of my view, opened my eyes. So, to my friend who looks for the reason behind the ailments, I think I lost my voice so I could find my ears. My presence. See the forest through the trees, so to speak.
When I did my 230-hour yoga teach training 10 years ago, one of the weekends we were asked to take a vow of silence. We practiced asana at the end of a Saturday, leaving at 6pm and the teacher asked that we not speak to anyone from that moment until we returned to class the next day at 8am. My children were 8 and 10 then and I really didn’t think I could do it. I also didn’t really get the point, until I did it. Our lives are constantly busy, filled with noise and schedules, that we barely have time to think a unique thought. It was only 14 hours, but I can remember feeling this peace and ease inside me that I hadn’t felt for a very long time.
I love to talk, I enjoy deep conversations more than small talk but in whatever way I can connect to another human, I really do. I think it makes me a happier more productive person. I like to teach, to sing (in private), to ask questions, to say hello/goodbye, heck, even my full-time gig requires me to be able to talk to people and to connect and understand what it is they need. I couldn’t do without my voice, but I am taking note of what I need while I am out of service. It’s weird because even though I still have access to my phone which mostly does not require me to use my voice, I have been opting to also do less texting and social media surfing, etc. I think in this busy time of our lives, all these new ways to be connected are good and productive, as long as we don’t overuse them.
Connecting is good for your health
In the book, “Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, he talks about a study that was done on a small town in PA, made up of immigrants from an Italian town called Roseto. Basically, the study was researching why the people of this town had a ridiculously low percentage of disease, in particular, no coronary artery disease in anyone under the age of 55. After looking at tendencies of exercise, diet, smokers, etc. in the folks of this town, also named Roseto, it turned out that the one thing that they had that the other towns across the united states did not have was community and extended families living together. They found that people walked the streets, stopped and talked to one another, cared for the whole more than the parts. They didn’t simply wave or nod at each other, but they stopped and interacted and showed care and connection for and to one another. This was in the 1960’s, before the electronic age. Do these towns even exist out there somewhere now? How do we find ways to disconnect from the chaos and look each other in the eye and really see and hear one another? How do you disconnect? Can we give curfews to our devices and instill required face to face connection certain hours of every day?