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October 27, 2020

How Maitri Opened the Space for me to Begin Using my Voice.

My body beckons, reminding me of the familiarity of a defining hard lump sitting in the middle of my throat.

What is it I need to speak? What is it that needs to be heard?

It was more a declaration than an inquisition. Rather, it was a harsh command.

This story has been going on since I was a child.

I’d become familiar with its “reappearing act”—that place which was hurtful. The looming, strangling, hard, stuck glob that finds distinct, repetitive placement in my windpipe. As soon as the grip becomes tightened around my larynx, I mentally change course with my thoughts, almost like to a beat, and its grip would seemingly dissipate. I’d will it away. That was a coping mechanism.

But I grew tired of this relationship. It had become my shadow work for the past 10 years.

Growing up in the 50s, I was raised in an emotionally unhealthy household. My mother’s gig was a non-verbal, moody dialogue. My father’s was a disappearing act. I learned early on to hear and see the signs and developed my own survival techniques. At age 18, I knew, inherently, that my time was up. I moved to an island 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in the early 70s. I created an aspiring career, a beautiful home, community involvement, friendships, two lovely and mature daughters, and a few failed relationships with men—no surprise there.

My high anxiety, and my abandonment and betrayal issues, created self-defeat, rendering my person invisible.

The pain of the recurring knot in my larynx is most pronounced when I am up against the world, and it reminds me that no one is here to protect me. My courage in standing up for myself and studying nonviolent communication and interpersonal communication at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and the Kane Intentional Communication Institute was to create a knowledge base and a safe platform with a skill set that benefits myself and my allies today.

The practice of maitri, of befriending and cultivating compassion toward myself, is endearingly releasing my burden of holding on to the pages of others’ gaslighting, grandstanding, scapegoating, lies, and betrayals. Dimming my light for far too long, I have heightened my awareness for using rightful speech and am now being seen and heard in my daily choice of living more fearlessly. I am nurtured by the learned lessons of boundaries, while detaching from suffering.

I have been journaling since the tender age of 10, and the words and pages have become a part of my being. I even taught myself to visually memorize the words from the pages; my closest allies became the words that were intimately associated with dread. My throat befriended my writing tool, bearing down each day on the emotional injustice and the ensuing regret of remaining silent. If I were to speak up, it would be aimless. I was not heard. I was a hostage to my own unmet needs. The only salvation were my words, hand-written in a closed notebook; they held the ache like a knife ready for vengeance of its prey. They were my sword.

Here is where I have lived for most of my life. Here is where my heart is poured out with no one to witness or to share.

There was, and is, no reconciliation with those lifetime perpetrators. Likened to that of a muffled bass chord from a neighbor’s speakers reverberating across air waves and barely recognizable, my screams went unheard, awaiting the clamorous music to stop playing. I cleared my throat to a relaxing tempo and regained footing in my other body parts. But because these feelings were not fully integrated or healed, the savage words remained affixed in my craw—for eons and lifetimes.

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.’’ ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today, free from poor choices and scribing my own new story, I have run out of old words. The journals are smoldering on the forest floor where I have dropped my sword; for I remember now, who I am becoming. I am writing my own voice to be sung to the world freely. Befriending myself with deep tenderness, a concerto of my arrival on a new shore where all the narcissists are no longer a magnet for my truth. This brings sweet justice, deep peace, and resolution of my soul for acceptance and deepening love of myself. I am in a new classroom of life.

Today, with continued and honest inner work, a meditation practice, and a variety of healers along my path, I have come to deepen my sight for understanding the woman I am today and how unique I am. I use my creative, core gifts, which are connecting me to a rewardingly new craft for my voice, to be both seen and heard by me out into the world.

My brave truth teller sees and hears how the ones I was depending on for love and intimacy could not ever fulfill my need. The beauty of a loving-kindness practice is using my own power to blazon a new script with a new direction for my love relationships and career. I can see and hear my own voice as I have been writing a legacy with my family.

~

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