I have been paying attention to the symbols, situations and such around my current surroundings while I re-visit the Bay Area, a former home I left in January 2008. Among the recurring themes are folks undergoing lawsuits, handling responsibilities of being caregivers of dementia patients (either as their profession or it is their own parents), and several people with newly diagnosed blood disorders. I also keep finding jewelry, especially rings. But I'll skip some of that, and head straight to "losing voice."
I'd spent a lot of time working on a proposal for an organization whose mission is "empowering youth to find their voice and become agents of social change," and it has the title "Youth Voices Academy" as part of their moniker. The backing foundation also wishes to "seed creativity" and "providing underserved youth with the tools and skills for creative self-expression." We ended up working together to come up with the final proposal for a festival. I was a bit surprised to learn we ended up losing that grant to no one else--the funding organization that was going to bestow a grant pulled out because (they said) wanted something geared for broader age groups. Upon critically re-reading my final written proposal, I saw that I held back and did not voice my highest, idealized vision; I diluted it to a more feasible, yet ultimately mediocre route in hopes that that might secure the grant.
Around the same time, I've been re-reading The Cluetrain Manifesto (also online for free), where they treat 'voice' as a craft. This 1999 book had been very influential for a while among business and marketing folks in the early stages of social media as a way to have a human and humane person-to-person exchanges rather than the distant, couched, and often automated robotic drone taught as business "communications." That lasted for maybe a few years on the Internet before it was drowned out by schools of broadcast media (which just happened to coincide when I left marketing altogether as a field).
Then, I read recently that Google co-founder and current CEO has "lost his voice."
"Google Inc. CEO Larry Page had to miss Thursday’s annual shareholders meeting because he has lost his voice. He will also skip upcoming public appearances — a conference on Google’s Android mobile software next week and a call on its earnings report next month. "
At this point, seeing the headline splashed in bold letters "Google CEO Larry Page Loses Voice" startled me. (It made news here since it will affect him for weeks, and thus people are speculating it may indicate something more serious.) Page is only 39 years old (I tend to pay a bit more attention to the more out of the ordinary clues, than say friends' parents in their 80s with dementia--although it was so frequently brought up, I did look it up too and apply Ho'oponopono).
It's also telling that one can read the headline as "Page Loses Voice." In other words, I've not wanted to share any pages of my writing for a long, long time without highly censoring it first.
LARYNGITIS: Fear of speaking up.
I've felt a fairly constant contraction and constriction around chest/heart, and also up through to my throat since I've been in the Silicon Valley part of Bay Area. Some of it feels like it stems from a warped belief that I must hold myself in check here, as it's a very rationally-minded, cerebral, analytical, science-only (or you're deemed stupidly dangerous) worldview sort of place. The feeling of suffocation is simply me stifling me out of habit of (seeming) self-preservation.
For me, 'voice' means more than simply 'speaking up,' as voice can be expressed through art, music, dance, or any expressive actitivity or state of being as well. In fact, when I consider the phrase "speak out" if feels less like Life expressing through me and more like justification and defense which isn't the point, either. The lost "youth voices" grant possibly points to the fact that I have been postponing another creative project because it's scary to put new and novel things that don't fit the status quo out; thus, circling back to Louise Hay's root "fear of speaking out". (Typically children and youth are symbolic of new creations and new growth, as well.)
I don't have any fix it, change it, make/force something happen type solutions in this post. It's ultimately the awareness and acceptance and allowance of that which appears to be someone seemingly separate out there--Larry Page--isn't separate. That the Whole of Who We Are is 100%. We are the same and if some recurring discord (such as dis-ease) shows up in our perception it reveals a fixated, recurring pattern, in this case, that of 'fearing of speaking out' (or any outward innovative, creative expression as underscored by the youth component; not to mention Page is young as far as CEOs of large public companies go). Once that pattern is acknowledged through Ho'oponopono (or really, lately I'm feeling simply any type of energetic embrace and exposure to Reality or Awareness) it begins to yield its fixation to fluidity of the ongoing symphony of life, or what Dr. Len (popularized Ho'oponopono) might call inspiration, zero point, or the Divine.
Update, and beautiful bonus:
Excerpt from a voice coach's article, "No one else can sing your song" that I just happened to come across today:
"When people walk into my studio, before they even open their mouths, it is an act of emancipation. [In the USA, it's Independence Day.] They come to this work to be “unsilenced.” To reclaim some aspect of their full humanness. To share their most secret and sacred wishes. To open their mouths and – bravely, beautifully, tremblingly – sing their song."