Monday, December 17, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls. 
Mother Teresa 

I have been accused of being an "over sharer." And truth be told, I plead guilty. My constant Facebook status updates, my weekly (very personal) blog, and my incessant word vomit during every day conversations confirms this accusation. At first I was offended by this label, but the more I thought about the more I accepted and embraced it. 

You see, in my mind, the only way I can be a true advocate for myself, my disease(s) and those who suffer on a daily basis like I do, is to be an "over sharer." The way I see it, since the media isn't shoving it in people's faces like they do everything else, then I have to. My pain, my reality, my normal aren't going to go away just because you stop listening.  

However, I also recently discovered the power of silence. Sometimes in our lives we need to share less and listen more. This doesn't mean that I will stop blogging, or writing my memoir or even posting updates. It simply means that I am more aware of how much I share and how often. I am slowly learning that a good listener can be just as influential as a good speaker. 

There are two areas in my life where I have decided to speak less and embrace the silence: My personal life and my prayer life. 

My Personal Life: 

The realization that perhaps I need to shut-up more often came to me while having dinner with a few friends. I knew one of the girls I was dining with and she brought her sister to meet me. Her sister also has Lupus. We all wanted to get together to chat and share our experiences in order to feel connected, validated and like we weren't alone in this hellish battle. However, by the end of the night, I realized that while they both now knew my whole life story, I knew almost nothing of theirs. I had chatted almost the whole night and had rarely paused to ask any questions. I thought to myself: "Did I share too much?" "Do they even care how many pills I take?" "Why did I even mention the miscarriage?" "Why was she so quiet when I asked about her symptoms?" "Am I the crazy one for talking so freely about my illness?" 

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I have met with other young women who are diagnosed with one auto-immune disease or another and I always share more than they do. In my head I have rationalized this by believing that not everyone is as comfortable with their illness as I am. Not everyone is ready to air out their dirty laundry like I am. And that if I just keep talking about all the terrible times I've been through they'll think I'm strong. They'll think I'm a survivor. 

But the truth is, if I'd just taken even 30 seconds to close my mouth and listen I might have learned something. I might have truly made a connection with these ladies instead of simply trying to gain their approval. 

As important as it is to me to share my story with others, I need to not forget that their stories are just as important. Just as meaningful and inspiring. I've realized that I will probably impact more lives if I spend more time listening to their stories rather than sharing my own.

My Prayer Life: 

In my meditation practice and in my prayers I have also found that I am doing way too much "blah blah blah." In my head, all my words, thoughts, prayers etc are so loud and redundant. I ask God for things, I talk myself through my meditation practice and repeat my mantra over and over and yet I still feel a lack of peace in my life. I still feel like I'm missing a true connection with God. 

To remedy this situation, I came to the conclusion that I need to do less talking to God and more listening. Both in prayer and in meditation. Perhaps He's been trying to tell me things and I've just been too busy chatting away to hear Him. I need to embrace and accept the silence within me in order to hear God's and the Universe's words. I need to stop asking for health and wealth. I need to stop divulging all my fears and concerns. God knows all of these things already. He knows the desires of my heart. So, instead of talk talk talk talking my way to peace and prosperity, I will simply be thankful for what I do have, and wait silently for the rest. 


Sometimes I share too much because I don't want people to forget what I'm going through. Sometimes I share too much because I'm nervous or anxious and I want to hear comforting words. Sometimes I share too much because I fear that being silent would mean I have given up. 

But I've learned that with silence comes strength. The strength to listen without judgement or prejudice. The strength to carefully distinguish between what needs to be spoken and what can be left unsaid. The strength to let go and be still. 

1 comment:

  1. Good can truly learn much from other chronic pain sufferers. The best way to listen to God is to read His truly comforts me b/c I know my pain is only temporary.