The voice didn’t barge in. It came quietly; so distinct and clear there was no denying its presence. I didn’t even bother to ask, “Who are you?” because I knew. It was a voice I had not heard before and it has been with me ever since our first encounter.
Eleven years ago I found my voice, or rather it found me, in the woods lying under a tree writing intently in my journal. Between writing and listening, something shifted. Instead of me posing questions and composing my thoughts, my journal began talking to me, as though it had been waiting patiently for its moment, a moment that had been building for months, and wasn’t entirely unanticipated. I knew it was coming. There had been several attempts to get through to me, like someone knocking at the door, but I wasn’t quite ready to answer. Nature is the best medicine, and without knowing what to expect, I set a time and prepared a place on the earth, amongst trees and an open sky. I prepared myself, because I was waiting—for something.
For years I have used my journal to facilitate an internal dialogue to gain deeper insights and understanding, but what occurred that day was different, a quantum leap into new territory, an opening big enough to step through.
We all have a voice. You have a voice. At first, your awareness of it may be fragile, as delicate as gossamer. But if you regard it gently with the respect you would accord a relationship you value, it will become like dura mater—a tough mother—and you’ll know the voice the way you know your mother’s voice calling in a roomful of mothers—and you come running. You become familiar with its every tone and timbre and respond to its call. You know the voice is yours, and you belong to it.
You recognize how it speaks to you: not just in words, but as awareness, intuition and inner knowing. You feel a deeper connection to the sacred and recognize the sacred in all things, because your voice is sacred. Your commitment to be present and listen to your voice, giving it your undivided attention, is a gift that demonstrates your love and respect.
Listening, and being listened, is a sublime privilege. You remember how it felt when someone really listened to you, the feeling of being seen and heard. It’s the same for your voice. When you listen deeply and wholeheartedly, something opens, a memory is returned to you. You remember who you are and why you are here. You realize you cannot hide your light, no matter how hard you’ve tried. You want to be seen and heard. This may be difficult to accept if you’ve been hiding in the dark. But even then, you have been watched over, guided and protected. You are never alone.
There were times when I was afraid my voice would leave me; that one day, I’d wake up and it would be gone. Then I realized that I’m the one who leaves, not my voice. When you strengthen the connection withyour voice it becomes stronger and clearer. You communicate with your voice in a language that can only be described as love. When you listen deeply, your voice will share its secrets with you, and then you knowit has become your Teacher.
Your voice will go with you to places where you have felt inadequate, unworthy, and afraid. It will speak of things you may not fully understand, like trust and forgiveness.
Forgiveness is more than forgiving people for the things they’ve done to hurt you. It’s forgiving everything you made up about yourself that wasn’t true, and others too, and the distorted way you’ve looked at the world. Instead of placing your own judgment on what you see, really ask to see the purpose of the universe and how to look on all things with love, appreciation, and open mindedness. When you remember only loving thoughts, the rest will be forgotten, and all that will remain is a blessing, a blessing you gave.
Trust is an indication of your willingness to surrender all you thought you knew, in exchange for the truth. Your voice shows you where you haven’t trusted, and gently reminds you to choose again and to trust more deeply as a way of being in the world.
There will be times when your voice takes you right into the heart of grief to heal your sense of loss, purify your heart, and help you to let go. Grief can make you lose sight of any gift at all and take you to the depths of hell. But if you suspend your grieving for a little while, the gift will reveal itself in light, peace and understanding.
It takes courage to be who you are, to know you are loved, and to know the case you have built against yourself has been dismissed. You are innocent, and so is everyone else, which may come as a relief.
Your voice, if you let it have its way with you, will take you right to the edge of truth and illusion and ask for nothing less than your devotion. You decide, even thought there’s really only one choice. But you get to choose anyway, because your choice means everything, even if you kick and scream the whole way. As you follow your voice, you will realize all you’ve ever wanted was the truth. Not a hand-me-down version, but your own hard won truth. The one you discovered when you held your feet to the fire and broke your own heart to find the truth in the last place you would ever look to find it. You want to know the truth that lives within you.
You’ve seen flashes, and sometimes long stretches, of the light in all things, especially yourself. When that happens, you see yourself as you truly are and become willing to move beyond appearances, including your own, to see more clearly the underlying truth of all things. You understand nothing was ever withheld from you—you just thought it was.
Finding your voice does not mean that now you must undertake the never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. It means now you listen. Listen in silence. Listen expectantly. Listen with intention. Listen with the certainty that you will discover your own source of wisdom. No one can hear what is yours to hear.
Listening with every fiber of your being is a practice, a discipline. You must quiet the noise of the outside world and turn to the quiet voice that beckons you, willing to open your mind and heart for the messages that await. This is all you can do—and it takes everything. What you do with the messages your voice gives you is up to you, of course. Follow the thread of this sacred conversation and embrace its gift.
Love and Blessings,
This article originally appeared in EPIC Magazine in the Sept./Oct. 2020 Edition.
Dr. Tom Garcia is a shamanic teacher, spiritual guide and mentor who helps you find your authentic voice and true purpose on the earth, at the fire, in sacred ceremony.