If you take care of birds, you take care of most of the environmental problems in the world.
~ Thomas Lovejoy, Biologist and Godfather of Biodiversity
The natural world in which we live is nothing short of entrancing — wondrous really. Personally, I take great joy in sharing a world with the shimmering variety of life on earth. Nor can I believe any of us really want a planet which is a lonely wasteland.
~ Thomas Lovejoy, Reith Lecture, Biodiversity, 2000
My word/theme of the year, as you may or may not recall, is simply Love. Lately I’ve been considering a monthly word or theme to go with it, something to explore in relation to love, but what’s come up for me this past week is a word that I am not sure how to connect to love. The word is Voice. It keeps showing up everywhere. Even when I looked up the Tufted Titmouse to see what meanings he might hold, I came across the word Voice:
Cheerful, bird of truth, mind mysteries, joy, heals/balances/opens perceptions, teaches about voicing impressions and expressions. Titmouse teaches to use our voice and the immense power of small things and with small ideas. Titmouse teaches courage and empowerment along with being bold with discernment. A natural curiosity awakens your senses and surroundings. Pay attention to social settings. He teaches the art of flexibility. Incubation for development is 6-8 weeks time. Are you sharing your thoughts and opinions right now? Titmouse can show how to express ideals with timing.
~ Animal Spirit Totems: Dictionary of Birds
Then I thought about my love of/for words. I’ve always loved reading, writing, and learning new words. I collect — if it can be called that — favorite words (ephemeral, serendipity, cultivate, nourish, to name a few). Words are one way we express our love whether it’s to others or in regards to things we enjoy doing. There are many other ways, of course, but words are one of the simplest.
With all that’s going on in the world and in this country I live in, I find my voice frozen at times. There are so many places to put it, so many issues coming up in which I am asked to call or write or otherwise express how I feel about a certain subject. When recently asked, “If you had to pick one political area to work on, what would it be?” my first thought, without hesitation, was the environment. My love of nature, of birds, of place, of this wondrous and beautiful world we live in, often gives me the courage to use my voice, to make the calls, to write the letters, to send the postcards, and to join marches or protests. It’s not that I don’t find a lot of the other issues important. I do. The fact that we’re faced with so much to choose from right now is a sad state of affairs. Our voices are important in many areas, but sometimes we have to set priorities or find ourselves going hoarse (literally and figuratively speaking) from overuse of the voice.
I am still very new to Kundalini Yoga, still having to learn via teachers on the internet (as far as I can determine, there are no Kundalini yoga classes or teachers on the Eastern Shore), and one of the things I’ve been studying has been the use of voice and sound through chanting and mantras. Mantras, in my experience so far, are often part of kriyas (kriyas are actions; kriyas usually include breath, movement, meditation, and chanting). Chanting opens up the voice, uses the breath, and like singing, releases endorphins (or maybe it’s oxytocin) so you feel good. I have been a little shy when it comes to chanting, even when I’m home alone. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I don’t do a lot of singing out loud. Perhaps all the messages about Voice are hints to open up and sing.
And then there is the Inner Voice. I don’t mean the inner critic who goes around judging everything. I mean the gut reaction, the intuition, the little whisper inside that tells you whether or not what you are about to do is a good idea. As I’ve grown older, I’ve been more inclined to trust my inner voice. I had a tendency to drown it out when I was younger. That seems to be typical of certain ages. Maybe that’s why older people are often thought to be wiser. They have learned to trust themselves and their inner voice (intuition).
In my typical meander style, I’m not really going anywhere with this subject. Just lightly touching on thoughts here and there. In an email I received this morning (Guru Singh’s Good Morning Prayer) which started with thoughts on “uncovering the seeds of reality” and the way many traditions create a kind of internal battle within us, a battle (or noise) between breaking down the barriers (of illusion, presumably) and maintaining the familiar, there was this:
Meditation is what exposes this noise and chanting is what sweeps it out the door . . . just like house cleaning. The human mouth has always been both a doorway to freedom, and the target of great restriction throughout time; it’s true power, as this portal to freedom, has been attacked for eons. Throughout history, this protectionism of holding on to tradition for familiar safety, rather than opening the voice portal to the quickening of decoding life, has been blocking the seeding of human reality. Just as the flower blooms at the end of a cycle, to seed and insure the continuation of life, your life has arrived at this time within time to insure that life is alive.
It is now — and our prayer is that you recognize the profound purpose for these seeds of inspiration inside you. Open the petals of your time into full bloom; allow your mouth to speak with words that break the codes of evolution; allow humanity to prosper in peace without the differences of tradition and be the light you know you were born to be.
~ Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur
One other thought on voice before I go. I was dusting this morning and stumbled across a book I bought several years ago but haven’t yet read. It’s Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.” One of my goals this year is to write more (which explains why I’ve been blogging so much this month, and looking over that novel I started in 2015 and never got around to finishing). RedRavine, a blog I have followed since the beginning of my WordPress days in 2007), has a page about writing practice as outlined in “Writing Down the Bones.” You can find it here, if interested. I’ll be reading “Writing Down the Bones” soon, and I think I’ll borrow some of the writing practice topics from RedRavine to help me get started with my own practice.
Thank you for stopping by today, and joining me on another meander. If it doesn’t cloud up completely, we might have an interesting sunset this evening. Let’s head out to the Point if it’s not too cloudy or already raining. Sunset is scheduled for 5:01 PM. I wonder if the ice on the river and sound has started to melt? It’s been above freezing today and we’ve had some sunshine so it probably has. That will create puddles on the top of the ice that will reflect the sunset colors and light in fascinating ways.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 516) Sunshine and above freezing temperatures. 517) The heating repair guys coming for a visit this morning. They were not able to fix the main unit. The part that was ordered and came in was the wrong part so it will have to be reordered. However, they did fix the emergency heat so that we were able to warm up the house to 68°F. What an improvement! 518) M being here when the repair guys got their truck stuck in the snow. He was able to tow them out with our car and the towing gear we had to buy in order to get a permit to drive on the beach. 519) Cross-country skiing. I haven’t done it in almost five years, but I haven’t forgotten how. 520) Muscle memory. It’s amazing what the body remembers even when the brain thinks it has forgotten.