Friday, April 24, 2009

A Tiny Voice

She barely spoke above a whisper, and when she did, it was difficult to make out anything that Melissa said. Her voice, unused for many years, had become tiny. It had started out as full-throated and supported by a strong sense of her own presence, but over many lifetimes it had become smaller through a sense that she carried of self-invalidation.

This constriction of voice was not only psychological. Her actual vocal chords and the mechanism by which she breathed to support her speech had changed as well. Once, she had been examined for nodes on her vocal chords to see if these could be interfering with her speaking, but there was nothing there. Nor were there any other anomalies that could be diagnosed.

Melissa's tiny voice reflected a constriction of breath, but it also reflected a constriction of life-force. When I met her, she had not yet decided that she really wanted to be alive.

Many people spend a good portion of their lives making this decision, most without awareness that this is the case. Some never firmly commit to being here in a body, but opt for a state of passive withdrawal in order to make an exit from the requirements of physical life. Melissa would not have acknowledged having these thoughts, but they were there on a sub-conscious level, preventing her from taking her place in the world.

When I met her, she was not in great distress. In fact, she had gotten used to being small. It was a matter of finding within herself the desire to live again with fullness, to speak with presence, to say out loud: "I am here." After some time spent reflecting on this decision, she said to me one day, "You know, if I am here, I don't really know if I have anything to say." The rest of her embodied life would be spent finding out about that.

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