I woke with my own voice ringing in my ears. I was wishing I had listened more and said less in several conversations yesterday.
As this morning’s page flowed, I found relief in acknowleding my own regret. Sure, I could ask someone else to reassure me: ‘Don’t worry, no-one’s perfect, why should you stay silent?’. It wouldn’t satisfy me. I’m wanting to learn with honest self-compassion, because there are other precious needs that weren’t met by using so many words.
My own heart knows it’s own regrets. And I’m glad to be free to learn. There’s tenderness for the needs was trying to meet. Was I wanting to be understood? Connection? To matter? Belonging? Clarity? Ahhhh – yes, that’s a big one. Deep breath there. I was seeking clarity …
I was longing for the clarity that can come from speaking in the presence of someone who is listening willingly, because the conversation is in enriching them too. But did I give them choice? And was I really in the presence of the understanding I wanted? Were they enjoying this?
I’m sad that I didn’t ask first. And that I didn’t pause at the point where I became aware I was saying more than I was enjoying, that I wanted to stop and get clear. That I wanted them to have choice.
I’m relieved to feel sad about the needs I didn’t meet: connection with others, my peace of mind, effectiveness, efficiency, contentment within myself.
Relief. Joy. A new leaf. The request that’s emerged on this page is: my darling, you are free to stay silent for as long as you like. You are safe to quietly breathe, and there is all the time in the world to silently inquire inwards. Breathe for as long as you like. Take as long as you need. If the conversation moves on, that’s okay. Clarity and effectiveness in being heard is what’s important to you. What is your intent? What needs are you aware of in this moment?
As I drew, I remembered a tip that I heard from a man who facilitates men’s circles. One of the guidelines for their group was to express any questions or comments silently first, 3 times, directed at the facilitator. I’m feeling a zing of excitement about trying that out today: before saying anything aloud, silently express your question or comment three times. See if someone else says it, or if the intention is met, or the urge to say it passes.
Wow, now I feel my heart beat faster. There’s some anxiety. What if I miss out? What if I forget? What if I’m not heard? Also get a bodily sense of the clamour of being a small child, one of four girls and hearing my mum talking. I wanted to say something. I wanted to be heard. I learned the habit of speaking quickly, before I forgot.
Now, an empowered adult, I am free to choose. I no longer depend on being understood by people who hold power over love, understanding, food and safety. All of those are within my reach now. I am an adult. I have power in my world. I am free to choose peace of mind, contentment, gentle trust. Free to breathe, to listen deeply to my own body, to let as much time pass as it needs until the fire in my tight chest drope into a compassionate warmth in my belly. I’m safe to silently explore needs and try out a clear request within myself. I don’t have to have anyone else’s answers. I don’t even have to rush my own. They will flow.
I think of this picture as “the freedom of silent intent”. Something about inviting myself into the freedom to remain compassionately, curiously, contentedly silent and aware. Trusting that when words are truly worthy speaking, when they will be a gift to others as well as myself, I’ll know.
Hey, look who’s come along purring. A cat called Joy. Someone who knows a thing or two about wordless communication, inquisitive self-acceptance and perpetually moving towards contentment. Look where her paws landed …