About a week ago, I lost my voice. This doesn’t happen often (some in my family might say it doesn’t happen often enough) as I tend not to get demonstrably sick beyond a runny nose.
Oh yeah, and cancer, but that’s beside the point.
I was coordinating a lectureship that was to take place on a Monday and Tuesday (luckly, I was not the speaker, just the one making arrangements), and on the previous Friday evening my voice disappeared. I could only manage a whisper as the event approached.
And I noticed something funny. As my voice became quieter, so did the voices of my family members. When one of us is not speaking loudly, others don’t have to either. Everyone is heard. Like magic!
As we all lowered the volume, I found myself less anxious about work. As I became quieter, it felt as though the world slowed down a bit too. Things felt a bit calmer.
This made me wonder how much I was adding to needless noise clutter at home…and how much I was responsible for driving the hectic state.
It also reminded me that even when things felt “out of control”, that was just an illusion. They were most definitely within my control. I could turn down the rush of anxiety. I just had to remain aware of what was happening and that I had a choice in the matter.
Now, none of this is a miraculous revelation. I’ve known this since before I started meditating. But knowing something is not the same as putting it into practice. And sometimes to put it into practice, you have to realize that even though you “knew” it, you didn’t truly believe that you could do it.
I need that reminder now and then. That’s the gift mindfulness has given me. And even then, I still might need a nudge.
And the lectureship? It came and went, a little hiccup here and there, but under the circumstances everything worked out well. No voice required. And more importantly, no anxiety required.
I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy to switch off anxiety. If I knew how to do that I would be living a carefree and very wealthy life. But just being aware that we have a crumb more control than we thought we did…brings us one step closer to a little more peace in our lives.