1. What is the sound of your own voice?
2. Letting go: For next year, I’m letting go of…
1. In browsing through a few other blogs, I see that some have interpreted this prompt very literally, as in 'what do you sound like'? I have a good speaking voice -- clear, moderately pitched, from the diaphragm rather than the throat, and I enunciate well -- all those speech classes, I suppose, and the acting. I can project -- or used to be able to -- to the back of a sizeable room -- unfortunately, it also took a long time to learn how NOT to project and to lower the volume when I was talking in a group or to a friend.
But I think this prompt asks us more to listen to who we are, the authentic person within. When we speak, who is talking? The good daughter or wife or mother who does what she is expected to do, but not necessarily what she wants to do? The employee who is careful not to express opinions too different from those of her peers (even though she has some strong opinions that may differ wildly from those of others)? The friend who is aware that she is perhaps being taken advantage of, but doesn't want to cause the friendship to crash and burn -- for a lot of reasons? The volunteer who is burned out because nobody else seems to step up to the plate?
Each has its own voice, but when we utter the words, we learn a little more about who we want to be in addition to who we are.
As I have aged, all those other voices have melded -- or are melding -- into one voice: who I really am and what I really think. Mostly. What I have learned is to keep my counsel a little more carefully, too. I still don't want to offend, but I have learned that saying nothing is often the most powerful statement. I have learned that those who are truly my friends will hear me loud and clear, and that I have nothing to fear by allowing them to do so -- in fact, it deepens and ripens a friendship. I no longer have to please an employer. And I pretty much do as I like, with little regard for what anyone expects me to do!
Speak your truth. Be who you are. Be kind, but be honest. That is the sound of your own voice.
2. Let it go, let it gooooooo....
Like most everyone else, I loved and related to Elsa's song in "Frozen" and have actively worked on letting stuff go for decades now, long before the song was a note in someone's brain.
And for decades I have worked to let go of the self-criticism, the judgement I heap on myself, and the people-pleaser part of me that worries about whether I'm fitting in or saying the right things or doing the right things so that others will judge me favorably. Yeah.Yuk.
I've come a really long way with that. I probably will never be there completely, but I care a whole lot less about it than I used to, and I'm way more gentle with myself. This year I have actively started to work on the almost subconscious judgement towards others: the part that says "doesn't that woman look in a mirror before she goes out like that?" Or "look at those filthy pants, and down around his knees! Yuk! I can see his boxers!" Or "those kids are totally out of control and there is no one in sight -- who DOES that!" Or "geeze, that tattoo is so offensive! Why would someone do that?"
And so on. It is so ingrained in me -- and I suspect in most of us -- that I have to consciously stop the train of thought, and I have started to say a little prayer for the person as soon as I notice the judgement. I don't know what their lives are like. I don't know what kind of parents they had or why they do what they do.
Most importantly, it is NOT MY LIFE TO MANAGE.
So I'll continue letting such judgement go in 2015 -- the judgement that looks in the mirror with unkind eyes, and the judgement that looks at others with unkind eyes.