“Giving voice to what is inner is essential to surviving what is outer.”
That quote is from today’s reading in “The Book of Awakening.” (affiliate link) A wonderful friend sent me this daily dose of wisdom, written by cancer survivor Mark Nepo, shortly after I received my diagnosis. It’s been a balm, frequently calming my frenzied soul and informing my morning scribblings. These readings are often eerily appropriate to what I’m experiencing. For example, December 29th opens with this:
As long as we sing,
the pain of the world
cannot claim our lives.
Words are my music, and when I write my thoughts, I am singing my song. This is how I process what’s happening. “Process” is such an inadequate word. It doesn’t contain the transformation I experience when I sit down and work through my trauma and joy through words. Even if I begin with anger, fear, self-pity, and sadness, which has happened pretty frequently in the last several months, simply by writing what I’m feeling I can see it, recognize it, change it. I always, and I do mean always, come out in a better place. I’ve done this for years, and I attribute my (relative) sanity through some terrible times to my practice of giving voice to my inner.
For much of my life that very personal song has been private. It’s only been recently that I’ve grabbed a microphone. When people, especially those close to me, wonder with a breath of concern why I am so open and transparent about everything that I’m going through, I explain that it’s because I know I’m not the only one, and if my music resonates, then others can sing with me, even if it’s under their breath or by themselves in their metaphorical showers. Pain and fear is personal, but it’s not solitary. Nobody needs to go through this – whatever their “this” is – alone. Together, we create a chorus of empathy. Compassion. Love. And hopefully, we can get to joy.
Here I am talking about joy, again, while the world is in pain and I reel from the effects of chemotherapy. I blame the curls. I’ve often joked that my curly hair was just the crazy coming out. Well, this wig may sit on top of my head instead of spring from it, but putting it on is permission to be a kid again. In a twist on today’s reading, I’m using the outer to amplify the inner.
A playground seemed the perfect spot for today’s photos. As we moved from one spot to another, I kept thinking of my mom’s impish grin as she swings her arms like a conductor and declares “I won’t grow up! I won’t grow up!”
She’s an inspiration.
Mom, even now, maintains a childlike sense of wonder and to hear her giggle is to be reminded that age is what we make it. She inspires me to sing.
There is so much good in this world, so much kindness, so much fun. Yes, even now! Give voice to your inner and survive the outer. Be like Mom. Be like Jim, because we all know he marches to the beat of his own drum.