Having laryngitis is humbling and calls to mind this pearl of wisdom from Taoist philosopher Lao Tsu: “Silence is a source of great strength.” My family and friends are having a field day because they mistakenly perceive my silence as taking me as out of my power. I’m not. Yes, this experience has re-affirmed how I would never voluntarily take a vow of silence or run off to a monastery. For a lawyer and radio show host, this is hell! Yet, in my forced retreat, I understand why people seek out silence. Calmness and quiet are gained with surrender to being silent. Although I’m certainly out of my element, I’m not without power.
Reserving My Voice
I’m particularly tuned in to how my children are responding to my silence. Children are magic mirrors into our own inner world – they reflect us back to ourselves. I notice that although I’m quiet, my children are glowing. My son has been staring at me and breaking out into giant smiles.
While there’s much I want to say to my children, I reserve my voice for when it’s truly needed. When my son accidently choked my daughter as he hugged her, I hoarsely screamed “NO!” and then calmly and very quietly whispered, “Sweetie, just hug her around her body.” He responded with an “Oh” and gave his sister a bear hug.
My children understand me even when I don’t use my voice. The modern tendency is to be ultra reliant on words for expression. This results in so much pressure on what and how much our children say that it often results in a loss of other means of communication. In silence, I’ve had to quickly implement alternative means of communication, like eye contact and nonverbal cues. Even when we can speak, fortifying ourselves with multiple ways to communicate can enhance the messages we convey.
Moreover, in silence we’re forced to listen, which is off-putting for this momma bear, because what I hear are the distractions of my surroundings, which are suddenly amplified. In listening to and feeling out my surroundings in silence, I’m noticing more easily who and what screams for my attention. I’m surprised to discover that some of those “screams” from friends, lovers, and family are leading to overwhelming headaches. Being silent is apparently a good way to see whether or not I have a voice in a relationship and how the relationship is going.
Sometimes a relationship – whether personal or professional – is unwelcome noise. To determine whether or not this is so, check to see if you still have your voice in the relationship, as well as the strength and will to remain engaged. When you completely lose your voice in a relationship, you may only hear the noise of it. That may means it’s time to throw in the towel.
Maintain Individual Voice
Within any relationship, including a parent-child relationship, both people must maintain their individual voices in order to maintain a healthy relationship. If a child knows their voice is not being heard, they may not see the point of speaking. Often, in such a case, a child will repress their feelings, find a different way to cope, or rebel.
Think of a rule your parents imposed on you or a time they refused to listen to you when you were a child. How did you cope? Are you now perpetuating that same dynamic with your own child? If so, you may feel that if you had to deal with the imposition as a child, then your child will have to deal with it, too. In which case, it might be time to unlearn, to allow truer voices to be heard in the present.
Unlearning is hard, but not impossible. Learning to be conscious of unhealthy dynamics and to recognize the dying relationships in your life may require you to press the mute button.In silence, we can cancel out the white noise of life and uncover a deep well of inner strength and a heightened awareness of the external environment. So stop, look, and listen – or, as some Taoists say, “Sit in oblivion.”
For more insights into Conscious Co-Parenting, check out the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute at www.consciouscoparentinginstitute.com.
About the Author
Cynthia Litman is the author and creator of Mommas Pearls and proud momma of 2. The Mommas Pearls blog and talk radio show are forums for busy parents to string the beautiful pieces of life together. Cynthia is an entertainment
lawyer with a niche in spiritual entertainment and social enterprises and a
founding partner of the Spiritual Cinema Circle.