The Powerful Voice of Silence: The palate of words |

The Powerful Voice of Silence: The palate of words

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; An artist stands before her canvas and considers her choices colors for a painting of a landscape or perhaps of a beloved pet playing by the sea. Natureand#8217;s own palate provides a template for the artist to follow and she mixes according to the sounds she hears and the multiple voices of green speaking through the trees and grasses. She backs away just breathing and looking at the canvas before her. Does it speak what is in her imagination? Does the work of expression sing in harmony with Natureand#8217;s perfect voice?

Words are often spoken without consideration as to whether they fit what the heart longs to express. Too often, the voice of fear with its many disguises and costumes steps onto center stage and silences the tender voice of the psyche (the soul) and the heart. Jealousy masquerades as loving intention, explaining insists it only wants understanding when all it really wants is to be right and to defend its position. Anger says it speaks and#8220;for their own goodand#8221; or in righteous indignation at some offense. All of these are the faces of fear. And when fear steps onto center stage, love exits and waits in the wings, for the two cannot co-exist.

Choosing our words

Choosing words with care and with an undefended heart requires an affective turn inward. As the artistand#8217;s eyes and ears attune to how she may best offer honor and sincerity of expression in her work, so must we be mindful of how we use words.

and#8220;The Way of Council,and#8221; a book written by Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle describes the four intentions of holding council in the Native American Tradition. Those four intentions are: speaking from the heart, listening from the heart, being spontaneous and being lean of speech.

Speaking from the heart requires being able to distinguish what is truly of the heart from the many voices of fear. Speaking from the heart is always an expression of love.

Listening with or from the heart means one listens with the whole body rather than allowing the ego to dominate, to think up a response or defense or explanation while the other is speaking.

Spontaneity in speaking means trusting what the heart wants to express is perfect even when it may seem unrelated to what has been spoken by the other.

And perhaps most important is being lean of speech. As the artist takes her brushes and mixes as her senses inform her way of expression, she is careful and quiet before she considers which colors fit. Often, she must walk away and allow silence to incubate what is in her imagination for a time before she returns to her canvas. It is well we do the same when using words to express ourselves. The fewer words and the more quietly they are spoken, the more clear and powerful the message.

and#8212; Kimbal Pier may be reached at

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