the voice.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

i've been readin'. . .
'bout some stuff.
about THE voice.  our voice.
every self-help book i've found my way into, brings it up.
so i'm beginning to think, both based on what i've read
and personal experience, that this 'THING' is a big deal.
i'm not a psychologist, counselor, teacher or pastor.
far from it.
but i know in me is a little bit of each of these professions, although not certified, licensed or ordained,
implemented daily in the job of parenting, in being the 'other half' to someone else,
and in my work as a photographer.
and although the five-year-old in me wants to think she knows some things and can boss people around easily,
i really don't, nor should i.
so keep in mind, these are just my thoughts, a mother's thoughts,
a mother who's done some work, who believes to her core in some really important things.
the VOICE, being one of them.
i'm not talking about the voice we use to scream at our children, bicker with our spouses,
judge our neighbors and curse the jerk who just cut us off,
not the volume, tone or STRENGTH in which we bellow each day,
but another voice.
there's even a show about THE Voice.
a worldwide search and show dedicated to finding the best, the strongest,
the most beautiful of all voices.
(i don't watch the show, but i get the gist.)
and although i'd love to be the turkey in an adam levine and blake shelton sandwich,
that's not the voice i've taken interest in nor want to pursue.
it's our INNER voice that intrigues me.
the quiet but strong one that's always there,
maybe not so outspoken (yet,) but somehow,
often meddling and poking its way in to our business.
and for good reason.
what i understand and know from experience,
is that it's SO easy to ignore this little being within,
SO easy to drown it out with food, alcohol, busyness, gossip,
other people's drama.
and that's not sustainable living.  nor living authentically.  in fact, it's downright detrimental and dishonest.
but for so many of us, finding it and loving it and respecting it,
is SUCH hard work.
for some, it spends a life in hiding or isn't noticed until it's too late.
it's a lot of work, to harness it and sometimes scary to USE it,
but it's MORE work to fight it or pretend it doesn't exist,
it's so much easier and more joyful to live with it,
creating a more harmonious way of being, simply by LISTENING to it.
we can listen and hear it and respect it. . .that's not too hard.
but OWNING IT?
i'm still struggling with that.
i can so easily find my voice on paper,
openly and honestly replicating my thoughts and feelings in to words that you read,
but put me in front of a live human being?
and my voice cuts out a little, becomes static and scratchy,
needs some convincing, a little shove.
when looking in to a human face, the eyes and reaction of another in close contact,
i back track and retreat to old habits, old ways of thinking and being,
full of fear and doubt, wanting to please and not rock the boat,
instead of being myself, being confident and worthy.
there i am, not always saying what i believe.
i know women who do this beautifully.
and it comforts me to know, that even THEY, have had to practice,
that they weren't born this way and have spent some time nurturing and massaging that inner voice in to their own, to become a TRUE reflection of their beliefs and the person they want to be.
they have arrived.
they know WHO they are, LOVE who they are, trust themselves,
EMBRACE who they are (despite their weaknesses,)
know what they want and believe in it, yet also, remain open to the voice of others
and never stop the practice of allowing it to come forth in all that they do.
i love that. 
if you've been following my blog,
you know i've been on a journey of self-discovery,
trying to figure it all out, discover the REAL me, not just for me,
but in hopes that in knowing who i am and what i want,
will help me be a better wife, mother, friend and teacher.
and i'm getting there.  but haven't quite reached my destination yet.
despite my initial efforts to immerse myself in all the 'tools,' the books, the people,
the external sources of guidance i've HEARD can help harness that inner voice. . .
yoga, meditation, finding faith. . .or at least reading about them,
i've learned the solution is much easier than that.
it's right here.  within us.
in the beginning of this journey, so scared and unsure and easily influenced
and easily losing myself in the voice of others,
i started the work of regaining control over my life, but not my voice.
this voice, our intuition, our inner belief system that functions to guide ALL of us in every moment, whether stressful or peace-filled,
well, trusting it doesn't always come easy.  and CERTAINLY hasn't always for me.
my voice has seen better days.
in fact most days,
in the short years i've been a mother,
it hasn't always delivered for me, which is why, even recently, i've been afraid to use it.
my third eye (what yogi's and buddhist's alike, refer to as the space between our eyebrows,)
the seat of enlightenment and clarity,
well, for so long i thought mine was seriously malfunctioning.
or dead.  not even a bat of an eyelash, most days.
i imagined myself a sort of cyclops (like slough from the goonies, only much cuter,)
a huge eye in the middle of my real eyes.
but i envisioned myself standing before it, wrapping my knuckles against it. . .
"hello?  anybody there?  yoohoo!  where you at, girl?!"
or hovering below it with a bottle of windex and a squeegee.
cleaning the years of dirt and grime off of it, so it would work and show me all i'd been missing. . .show me the way. . .be my voice.
show me enhanced clarity and allow me to see inside myself a little better.
whether there's a third eye there or not,
whether it sits strongly in our forehead, our gut, maybe even our heart,
i have found, over time, that it exists.
that it is there for the taking.  that no noise, no shouting from the ground floor up
or cleaning products need to be used.
we just have to be quiet for a minute.  to REALLY hear it and see what it is trying to show us.
separate ourselves, often, daily if we can, from the chatter in our minds and the incessant noise in our homes.
i believe we ALL have an intuition ingrained at the core of our being.
but so many of us, like myself, haven't worked to keep it open.
we get lazy.  we put everyone else first.  we hide and deny because we don't want to know.
we love the bliss found in naivete.  it's easy.  and seemingly painless to avoid and ignore.
(or so we think.)
but what is the MOST painful, is years in to life,
realizing we have no idea who we are anymore.
buried under years of self doubt, fear, food, fat, maybe anger, resentment, a devastated self-esteem. . .
having not trusted our voice or embraced it or accepted its presence.
i can easily call to mind all the times my intuition or my gut was trying to tell me something,
my third eye in a knock down drag out staring contest with the challenge at hand, 
kicking it's ass, and saying to me, "DUDE!  WAKE UP!  the answer's right there!"
(my eye is cheeky.)
but i went against it, ignoring the voice, despite it's strength and clarity.
whether to make someone else happy, impress someone,
lean heavily in to the status quo instead of questioning it or pushing back.
and then after, ALWAYS after,
upset with myself.  "i KNEW i should'nt have done that.  i KNEW that wasn't the right choice.  but i did it anyway."
so wake up, third eye.
and how DO we wake it up?  dust it off?  but also clear the throat that's been bogged down with sediment from all we've held in, bit our tongue about, neglected to share.
how do we find a functioning inner-self amidst the chaos of life?  
in the middle of trying to parent our children, work our jobs, clean our houses and find time to get restful sleep.
how do we begin to find and use OUR voice, in the midst of selfless living and giving?
in the thick of cub scout meetings, late night feedings, freezing hockey arena's when your butt's frozen to the bench, dance studio lobby's, doctors' waiting rooms, the drivers' side of your car, which seems to forever be in motion, schlepping kids from place to place.
let's be honest.  it seems an impossible feat, most days.
but i am proof, that it can be done.
it IS possible to live our OWN lives, develop and grow our OWN voices, and be AUTHENTIC dwellers of this space, living a purposeful life.
not ONLY devoted to our families, our children and our careers,
but ourselves.
by simply listening.
carving out quiet in our day.
(now, those of you that know me, will say, 'well.  this is easy for HER to say.  she stays at home.  she has great babysitters that she calls on.  she has a husband who busts his a** and provides well and is beyond helpful and understanding of her ME time.)
that's true.  i do.  i have time to write, create, build and live out my life's passions and breathe.
partly in thanks to my amazing husband.
my two oldest are in school all day, my youngest is half of the week.
i have time to give back to myself.  
but not because i can and it's easy,
because i REQUIRE it.
because it's my top priority.  not the cleanliness of my house, the organization of my closets, creating meaningful and mindblowing moments for my kids every second of the day.
but because i MAKE the time.
i set my timer.
20 minutes.  and i breathe.
i don't pray, i don't think.
i get distracted.  but i always work to call myself back to my breath,
the best place to find answers, peace, comfort and your voice. 
i want my kids to see a mom and a woman who had balance.  who loved THEM with her whole heart, but loved herself too.

in a short 7 years (which you can read in past posts,)
i QUICKLY lost myself in fear and parenting and trying to survive in a bubble of protection, 
that really, was a facade.
and it took everything out of me.
once you've had a taste of emotional and physical freedom, you crave more.
you learn there's MORE to life than your thoughts and your confinement in them
and what your mind tells you.
so how do we know we're living authentically and using our TRUE voice? we find our breath.  and through doing that, we find clarity in each moment, truth, 
which over time and with practice, will be reflected in our voice.
relying on the one thing in our crazy lives, that is constant, controllable and can guide us through ANY situation and any decision.
can you go to bed at night, feeling like you did everything in tune with what you believe?
in each moment. . .talking with a friend, dealing with my children, reacting to your spouse.
did i react honestly?  speak from the heart in true alignment with how i actually felt?
sometimes this is hard. . .even impossible.
i don't do it gracefully.  more often than not, i fall dangerously short.
threateningly close to throwing my own self under the bus.
but i've learned not to judge myself or my practice of living authentically,
trusting that eventually, i will find a home in it.
allowing that SOMEtimes, my meditation becomes a bowl of icecream before bed, 
in front of the t.v.,
losing myself in the catty lives of REAL Housewives (oh YES, i watch that sh**.) 
permitting myself the break and guilty pleasure away from the heavy lifting that soul-searching is.
but always bringing myself back, to what's real.
not kim or nene or kyle's life,
but my own.
sometimes, in watching their ridiculous and scripted lives unfold, i feel better.
the way they behave like teenage girls, makes ME feel like an enlightened adult.
a grown up living a REAL life off air, that i'm in control of, 
simply by living authentically and truthfully, 
without drama and hair pulling and fake nails, fake boobs, fake hair, fake lips.
learning to embrace my mini-van-driving life and the role i play in it,
unabashedly living up to the stay-at-home mom stereotype, bra-less, totally at home in sweatpants, no make up and a jacked-up ponytail.
it works for me.  and i'm ok with it.  in THAT way, i'm living authentically.
(do i still pray some days i don't run in to anyone i know at target?  yep.)
part of the struggle against finding our voice, is wanting to be perceived as something more, to measure up in the cutthroat biz of being a damn good and RECOGNIZED mom.
with the looks, personality and talent to go with it.
give a mom a voice and a new perspective, and she'll want some boots to go with it.

the truth is, the only person we have to prove ANYTHING to, is ourselves.
prove that we can be so much more, 
that we can buck the system, ignore the voice of doubt in our brain, 
and continue forward with what WE know to be true for ourselves.
our voice steps in when we need to challenge ourselves. . .take that trip, trust our instincts, 
or simply listen to our bodies when they say they're full.
the voice we are born with, that carries us through childhood, is so easily lost in life from experiences, neglectful parenting, fake friendships, or simply never learning to develop it  properly or allow it the freedom to flourish.
but NOW is the time.
we CAN reclaim it.  i know this to be true.
it takes time.  quiet.  patience.  listening and living each moment as truthfully as possible.
like luring a stray puppy out of the woods, to feed it, nurture it, care for it and own it, lovingly again, after years of being gone.
you've experienced in your life, moments of pure delight, peace and happiness, no matter what you've been through.
and it's been there, your voice.  so you KNOW, deep down, you are a force to be reckoned with.  one that can't be named, judged, attacked or ruined.
operating in this awareness, daily, in small bits,
will help to separate you from the you, you THINK you are, bring you closer to the you you're SUPPOSED to be,
"Understanding that you are more than your stories, more than your personality, and that no situation is unworkable, ever."   -geneen roth.
including finding your voice.  your truth, 
and all from one, centered place, your breath.






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