Nobody sounds like Billy Holiday. And nobody “sounds” like Toni Morrison or William Shakespeare. It is because they have a voice, a spectacular, unique voice. A voice is what makes you sound like yourself.
When I wrote my book, The Messenger, I struggled, as writers do, to find my voice, that thing that makes your writing clean and truthful. My Spirit Guide, Lukhamen, had his own voice. When you read our stories side by side, the difference in what you “hear” is stark and undeniable.
We all have a voice. But we must get away from the noise of life to coax it forward. That is what I did last week when I followed the suggestion of the teacher, whose name by the way, is David G. Mercier. Following acupuncture, he had asked me if I knew how to “do nothing.” He knew, as I did not, that if I were still enough, I might find my voice, and it might whisper some small truth.
I spent a day, most of it in bed, doing nothing. It was the first time I could recall staying in bed without being sick. I slept some. I read. I was quiet, and thanks to the teacher who gave me permission to do it, not consumed with guilt. When I resumed my normal active life, I assumed that nothing had happened beside rest. I was wrong. Apparently, I had created some kind of space for my voice to come through.
When weather permits, I walk along a river road. It’s quiet. the only sounds are those of geese and the lapping of waves against the shore. Even the occasional car is quiet. Nobody hurries along this road. It was here that my voice whispered some truths I had buried, long, long ago. The details aren’t important; we all have buried treasures. What was important was the insight, the rising to the surface of things I had stored away, like keepsakes in an attic that are never brought down, dusted off, and examined.
Walking along the river road, I realized that I had to seek the forgiveness of someone I knew a lifetime ago. I saw his suffering, and knew that the old pain and loss that I thought was mine alone, was not. I wrote the letter that was long overdue.
I also understood why it was that I was always driven to strive, why rest was never an option, why sleep was never deep, why there was always another mountain to climb, why I had never given myself permission to do nothing. Insight is a wonderful thing.
Children know how to do nothing. Animals know how to do nothing. And we, in a natural, uncontrolled, uncontrived state, also know how to do nothing. Doing nothing gives us pause, the space where we can sound like ourselves, our real, true, best selves. I practice doing nothing now for a little while every day.
And sometimes I think about Billy Holiday. I imagine her standing before a microphone, eyes closed. She takes a deep breath, and for one magnificent split second, does nothing.
For more about David G. Mercier, acupuncturist and counselor, and his wonderful book, A Beautiful Medicine, visit his web site at http://www.davidgmercier.com.
Look for The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney at http://www.amazon.com. The Messenger is also available at the News Center in Easton, MD, 218 Washington Street.