I used to think that there were over 8 billion voices, a voice for every human being. But now I know better. There are some raucous souls who project their voice way beyond their lives. And there are others residing in silence, either by choice or force. I used to think the flow of the world was set by the energy of over 8 billion people as the wave of humanity shifted, ebbed and flowed. But now I know better. There are some powerful people who push the tide beyond their land whilst others feel like all they can do is go with it.
Today, I listen hard to the things I want to and try to zone out the rest. It’s not that I don’t care about the world or the rest of my global neighbours. It’s that I don’t believe I do them any justice by railing against their predicaments by mulling them over with my friends. I don’t believe that, by rehashing the sins of the world, that I make the world a better place. I believe now there are two choruses I can choose to join. One speaks from love and one speaks from fear. I used to think that that was an over-simplification, but now I believe that the pendulum swing had reduced much to over-simplifications.
Every word you utter with conviction puts an energy into the world. It’s not hippy nonsense, it’s a truth we all feel. You know what you put into the words you issue forth and you see the energetic outcome in the recipient of that word, phrase or conversation. We all know how to buoy up or strike down with vocabulary. We all know how to change semantics with tone of voice. So we all know that breath and sound and symbol combine to create a moment in the world. That moment can be a moment of peace, openness, acceptance or compassion. Or that moment can come from a place of fear, fear of us somehow not measuring up, that the external completes us or that we somehow lack of power.
I learnt this weekend that I have an issue with saying the word ‘no’. I’ve actually always known it, but this time I actually heard it on the brain loop. I could twist it and say that not wanting to say ‘no’ comes from a place of love, from loving others so much that I want to put them first. I could pretend that it means that I am the epitome of a friend. The truth is, it comes from a place of fear. Fear that protecting my boundaries makes me selfish and will alienate people. Fear that people will mistake what I am saying no to and apply it wider and harsher than I ever intended.
This weekend, I heard the Prime Minister of Australia say ‘no’ to all asylum seekers arriving by boat. From now, any seeker of asylum who arrives by water will NEVER be given an Australian visa. That’s a louder ‘no’ than I will ever utter, than most of us will ever utter. I read of a voice sitting on complete fear, fear of protecting a system that has become so unwieldy that they are having to resort to setting up old dichotomies. And I hear a country perhaps finally questioning how far their politicians have taken politics away from the chorus of ‘for the greater good’.
I don’t stand on a stage or in front of a camera. I can’t reach my voice behind the confines of my existence which I am only slowly growing. But I do know which chorus with which I want to add my voice. Just like I believe I’m making an energy difference by turning off lights in an empty room, I believe I make a difference with every smile. I know I’m not good at praise, so I practice with compliments. I try to limit what I complain about, understanding now the logic behind: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. There is much ugliness in the world, so I share every ounce of beauty I see. I read of Iceland and its economy, of Turkey and its communities, of charities pointing to the beauty of the world around us and of people turning adversity into inspiration to give me a different vocabulary and thought bank.
I look forward to hearing your voice join me soon.