I've managed to keep her mostly silent these past several months. Her angst and fear can drive calm and confidence from the most secure and self-possessed, not to mention me. I'm the best of her - and yet I'm just another of her selves, her voices - the one somewhere in the middle that she returns to - tuning in after a swing to one precipitous edge or another... the even-toned, reassuring voice of optimism.
She heard me this past week, speaking over the others; not drowning them out - for they have their places - but holding them to whispers. She needs me now and she knows I hold her grounded. The others are still there and will return, but I am the way of the future. Even as I think this, she warms to my voice, rejoicing in the new year and the changes it brings.
I've rarely thought of myself as a Political person. I use the capital "p" intentionally, because we are all of us political in some sense; the root word: politic, meaning: skillful, ingenious; shrewd or artful... Political in any sense has come to have mostly negative connotations. Over the past several years, I've found myself increasingly willing, but unable, to ignore the Political world of our governance. Every time I heard someone say "president Bush", I would feel a twist of revulsion - and I would immediately tune out either literally or figuratively. I had to avoid hearing whatever it was to protect my inner core of self or I mightn't be able to function.
Try though I did to hide away from news of wars, terrorism, eco-system destruction, and domestic disputes, I was increasingly unsettled and sickened by the policies of the then administrations. It's not that I was apathetic - in fact, the opposite is true: I cared too much. I didn't realize quite how much all this weighed upon me - even in my carefully constructed art-world cocoon - until Inauguration Day. I felt a great joy and tears of happiness as I watched and listened, but somehow it was a bit unreal... like a long wished for event that, when it finally happens, is more surreal than real. It seemed as if I were in a dream.
Once the day, with its glitz and pageantry were over, I was close to slipping back into my now habitual benumbed state. I hadn't yet assimilated the fact that this country had lived up to its promise.
Then yesterday, as I was driving along, and thinking far-off thoughts, I heard the news announcer say: "President Obama..." Not president-elect or senator, but President. The manner in which it was stated was so casual - and yet, I felt an unfamiliar sensation, something not associated with "the news." I felt a little twist of happiness in my gut. No more instant avoidance, no more cringing at the president's name, no more fear of yet another swipe at the constitution. That voice on the radio? It's the voice of change.
It's going to take some getting used to, but what a profound pleasure. I finally feel as if it's "my turn."
She's aware again of the cadences of living. Movement and currents cease to toss her thinking from one extreme to the next. She can navigate by the sound of my voice alone as I hold her to me, soothing, persuading, encouraging...
...she emerges from the cocoon...
The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you,
the better you will hear what is sounding outside.
~ Dag Hammarskjold .