I was talking with a friend today, a medical doctor, who’s life as he knows it, is over. His career crushed by a system, and his reaction to it, that his profession requires him to be a member of. It’s a system that allows for no individualized care. Everything by the book. And, the book keeps getting re-written. They say he missed the latest re-write. He’s not sure that he ever wanted to be a doctor. It was part of the family legacy to become one. He listened to other voices, not his own.
I remember a young man I had coached, for half a dozen years, saying to me, the day he actually became a full-fledged MD, “Just between you and me, I don’t think I ever actually wanted to be a doctor, my dad started saving money for me to go to Medical School, the day he found out that he would be having a son.” He too, listened to the voices of others, not his own.
There was another young man, who when he was 17, heard a voice that said, “Don’t do this.” He had been warned about “The Voice”. He had been taught that he couldn’t trust it. That messages from “IT” comes from the dark, evil side of life’s energy. He tried to resist the pleading of that voice. He couldn’t. He listened.
What did listen mean? Something as simple as walking away from what the voice suggested that he should walk away from. A toxic, ugly relationship. But it wasn’t simple. He paid a price. His friends abandoned him. No one would speak to him. No one. He was shunned and banished from his small social circle. Everyone he knew, judged him as being “wrong and “bad”. He wondered if they were right. All sense of belonging, of connection, of self, and of safety disappeared. He was an outcast.
He knew how to fix it. Turn that voice off and go back to what the voice told him to walk away from.
He did that. He gave up and in and began to die. Emotionally. Spiritually.
Ten years later, that voice came back. This time, huge. Strong. It told him, as he lay in the hospital bed, that if he didn’t listen to it, he would die. If not physically, certainly emotionally and spiritually.
This time it was much harder. Before he could heed the voice, he had to be ready to live his life with the knowledge that there was a chance that no one would ever speak to him again. He had to know and understand that he would be banished forever by all those he knew and loved. He had to be ok with knowing that he would be blamed, ridiculed, mocked, and shunned by the people in his life. He had to be prepared to never be given the opportunity to interact, in any meaningful way, with the people that he loved the most. It had happened before; it might very well happen again.
It’s now 50 years later. He’s never stopped listening to that voice. He hasn’t always trusted it. He’s not always welcomed it. He’s often been troubled by it, because it is usually telling him that some part of his life needs to change. He has ended and begun relationships. His work has changed dramatically. He has had to go “to school” quite often to learn what he needed to learn. It has not been fun. It has been real.
As you might have figured by now, I’m talking about my life’s journey. I have had many many mentors and teachers who have helped me interpret what that voice is saying. Without those teachers, those Yoda’s, I could have, many, many times misinterpreted, discounted or ignored the message.
Isaac Newton left a legacy. He learned through what he observed. He left us a body of knowledge that we don’t have to re-learn but can “take it from there”. We don’t have to re-discover the laws of gravity.
The legacy I hope to leave those who I have been in touch with, in my life, especially those closest to me, my children, grandchildren, friends, and other loved ones, is:
“Please, please, please listen to the voice, your voice. Your inner knowing. It doesn’t need an
interpreter, or analyzer, or fixer. It needs a witness. A listener. A Yoda, a Master Po, an honor-er who will help you listen, to that voice, your voice. It will never, ever fail you, though you may fail it, and even if you do, it won’t give up on you, because it is you. It is the essence of who you are.”
One caveat, if the voice is critical, judgmental, and demeaning, it’s more than likely a foreign voice, someone else’s that has been implanted and like Kudzu. A parasite plant. That lives off the host. And, like the actual plant, Kudzu, if not identified and cleared out, it has the potential to kill its host.
What’s been your experience with your own, unique, once in all of time, inner voice?
“I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.
Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
for the first time
after all these years
in my own voice,
before it was too late
to turn my face again”.