Writing my book has opened up doors for me. One of those doors belongs to a woman who I had the great fortune to have taken a Corporeal writing class with, Chloé Dyckmans. We found a friend in each other and Chloé asked me to write for her blog my thoughts about 'having a voice'. More specifically, she gave me the prompt of this picture. Chloé makes these amazingly expressive and inspiring line drawings...She has an illustrated book of these drawings and her meditations on the body called Bedmonk .
So, taking this prompt and my conversations with Chloé over the Internets (she is in Belgium) I wrote for her the following. It is about listening and being heard which can be the actual beginning to giving voice and presence to who we really are.
Listen to the World
I am fond of animal rescue stories. They come up on my social media platform and when they do I will often sink into a video witnessing some human being extending a great warmth towards a helpless animal in need. All kinds of animals! Cute ones and old mangy ones and even seemingly unlovable, stinky, scaly, winged and swimming, finned ones. People tenderly bond with these creatures and bring them to healing with their care. I’ll tell you why I like these stories. They speak directly to my story. They are about making a decision to help and extending the heart into reality to make it happen.
My adult life had shown up like a wounded animal that crossed my path. All those unsaid and unfelt things were like festering boils; not so unlike those wildly angry, traumatized and run-ragged beasts, with burnt paws and thirsty mouths. There came a time in my life when I had to decide to pick myself up or leave myself behind. It was too painful, scary, and despicable to stay where I was. Mine was not unlike the suffering that chased these little animals down. I was chased down and kicked to the curb so I could decide. Do I help myself or drive on down the road ignoring that I care?
I had to decide to save myself. Once I decided to care, I had to learn how to care. I had to work to reach beyond the protective firewall I had designed to help me maintain this unhealthy way of being. I had to reach beyond myself to embrace the insecurity, vulnerability and the fear in desperation to stop hurting myself and others. All those carefully curated coping mechanisms designed to hold me still and protected me needed to be carefully deactivated. It was time consuming and required focus… like disarming a bomb that only I could liberate. I had to win trust and assure, assure, and assure again through kindness and tenderness…skills I did not possess but had to learn…Also there was blind belief – a belief that never existed before I insisted that I was entitled to it by choosing; a belief that I was worth it. Once I bent down to pick myself up, I made that commitment just as these rescuers in these videos. No! I cannot let this little being suffer if there is something I can do to help! This decision is where it begins. With a type of kindness, sympathy and empathy that is beyond all the kinds of ideas of who we think we are. We have ideas of our identity that is spoken over us by family and society as we’ve have grown into our lives. It is often well meaning and often false to the truth of ourselves.
It is a gift to find these stories that resonate deeply with a person. One must listen to recognize and name how and why the story is speaking to us so personally. We must re-frame how we are witnessing it and listen to the world like it is speaking directly to us.
Contrary to popular belief, we were not born to exist or be spectators; we were born to engage, heal, and thrive…we are born to be disruptive and to mess up; to make sometimes unwise decisions and to learn to withstand all weathers as a result. True peace is not comfort or calm. True peace is achieved in being strong enough to embrace all the tempestuous variables of love and the tumultuous passions that it procures. Peace is to know the true self; to know when to listen and when to speak; to know how to read the wind and all the elements and to understand our life’s navigation. Peace is realizing that we are standing in the middle of things that are too big to know fully and to know that we are in a loving relationship with these things without fear. Peace takes courage.
It takes a long time and a lot of help to brave that triumphant, protective, coping mechanism with its overwhelming resolve to maintain the status quo. Life within us that is wild and of the earth; it wants to cultivate and grow. This is why we are feeling so miserable and exhausted most times. It is because we wrestle nature out of our way to bid our will. It is a habit seeded in centuries of conquest and survival. Time and patience is required to rescue a body from this and to allow space for the sovereignty necessary to take root and be present. The body, like all things wild – both wounded and well - lives in the third dimension and requires the seasons and cycles of life grounded into the earth to be fully present in time and space. The mind can travel in the ether of thoughts and dreams but it can be irreverent and controlling over the sensual experience. The mind will try but it must not rule a body. The wild nature that a soul requires to thrive needs a sanctuary in our bodies. Our minds must be invited to respect and co-create with our nature in a divine marriage.
Our disenfranchised bodies are the abandoned children or the wounded animals. When rescued, a body needs time and focus to relearn how to be in the world. Each yoga pose, each lap in the pool, each meditation, each love making is a salve and an encouragement to stay; to play…to be safe and sovereign; to express and to be seen and heard.
This is the voice within us we want to hear. For a full life, one must be open to the courage and compassion necessary to be able to honor peace. Through communication, the vitality of consciously choosing and nurturing is what supports and rewards a person with love in an abundant and fulfilling life.
Here is a video that I think clearly illustrates how the conversation goes within a human being between the coping and protective mind and the often hostile and unexpressed feelings in a body. There is the suppressed, enraged and misunderstood wild in the black leopard. In the communicator, a willingness to extend a resolution that exists for all who allow it through intuition, an invitation extended to connect to these scary, suppressed feelings. Then there is the proprietor, the doubting, broken hearted, and provisional protector who really wants to have his kindness manifested into the comfort of the wild leopard who is rejecting it. He must suspend his disbelief for the healing to transpire. We each have these parts…and all the parts want the same thing: Love, respect, peace. There is required a type of courage for this healing and a sincere openness and unconditional desire for love to be in the world - not just for ourselves, but for everyone. It must be present for this kind of healing medicine to flow where it is needed. To listen to the world, we must understand how the world is talking to us. To talk to the world, we must first believe that it is possible.
Visit Chloe's website .