Avoidance

April 20, 2010

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Well that’s a heavy word for a Monday night, ain’t it? Don’t blame me, blame Cecily. See, I was reading this post of hers and it happened to mention the idea of a retreat in which you do not speak. You spend the entire time in silence.

There are many in my life, past and present, that are spitting out their drinks at their respective computer screens laughing at the thought of me shutting up for that long.

I thought about it for a moment and it actually started to seem interesting – if a little scary. It occurred to me that once you took away speech and interaction you were left with only your thoughts in mind and heart. I took a moment to try to feel what that might be like and it felt rather physically heavy. It felt like there would be this mountain of thought or feeling that would need to be addressed one at a time, folded nicely, placed in a box and off to the internal shelf where it belonged. One at a time.

I’m guessing some might not go so willingly, those thoughts and feelings we avoid with light conversation, redirection or complete avoidance. But then I realized the irony in some of that. There are many a therapist that will say NOT talking about your thoughts and feelings is avoidance. I find it quite the opposite.

It’s so easy what the head does to protect the heart. The logic it applies, the humor it throws around, the out and out refusal to allow the heart to crack until, of course, it does. And that’s where it beginning of the end is marked. It’s harder and harder to avoid. More and more painful to continue to edit what you say – it’s really what you don’t say, isn’t it?

And then finally you’ve filled the wound with all the words you can think of until there are none left except, “SAY IT.” Say what you’ve been avoiding.

You’ve pulled the band-aid off one hair at a time for as long as you could.

Just SAY IT.

SAY IT so everyone can sit in silence as they should have in the first place.

So maybe we should just all learn to shut up for once.

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