voice

How rediscovering my voice led me to give up coffee

When I last wrote, I shared about finding my voice again, at last. I feel as though it’s returning after years lost in other people’s narratives, speaking someone else’s vision. But even after only a few days, I realize both how powerful and how fragile it is to speak one’s own message and experience. My voice is like a tiny plantlet, just emerged from a seed. Too much sun and it withers, too little and it molds. This weekend I wrote not at all, spoke little, and thought a lot, mostly about how to stay on the path I’m traveling now, with all its gifts and revelations. Which is why, much to my surprise, I gave up coffee.

In general, I am an overthinker and a questioner. I seldom make any decision without exhaustive introspection and fact finding (hello, perfectionist). However, Saturday morning, after a questionable night sleep, I poured my cuppa, looked at the mug and thought, what if I didn’t? It doesn’t seem like a big deal, I know. But after one sip, I poured it down the sink and reached for tea instead. Again, for most, it’s not such a big deal, but for me, this action tells me that I am listening to my inner voice, again.

When I heard about the one hundred day project, I looked into it only summarily. Instead, I felt as though something was pressing on my gut whispering, you should do this. You need to do this. My immediate response to this sort of experience is to go intellectual. After all, my heart is not trustworthy. At least, that’s the narrative I’ve ingested. I’ve survived on intellect alone for years. Intellectualism is a way to survive, maybe, but it’s not so great for thriving. Ignoring my heart and my feelings are part of what got me into this tangle in the first place. Simply taking that message, to write for one hundred days, which came from deep inside, the least intellectual part of me, led me down an amazing path. I shared my heart, and when I did, I discovered a new way of experiencing the world around me.

Even my faith has relied on my intellect for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned rules and tenets and systems and answers. I can defend and define with the best of them. But somewhere I lost the ability to feel or wonder. When rules are all you have, doubts and questions are a corrosive element to avoid at all costs. Imagine my surprise to find, even after bringing doubt in by the truckload, God is still here. She still loves. She is not threatened by my doubts or my feelings. Opening my heart, not to certainty, but childlike wonder remains the most terrifying and life giving discovery of the past few months.

So I gave up coffee. Sure, I’ve been doing some out-of-the-box things in an effort to improve my rest and my health, but none of them without reading and research. I don’t even believe I gave up coffee with sleep in mind. I only know I recognized that pressure on my gut that told me, listen up! your heart is talking.

One of the things I thought about most over the weekend was how to protect my heart from being drowned out by voices in the world, in the church and in my relationships. While I have some ideas I will flesh out with the proper research and intense questioning, I’m also creating space for my heart, my inner voice, to just speak for herself. She knows more than my head in so many ways. She deserves consideration even when I don’t entirely understand.

So I’m curious, are you more prone to rely on intellect or instinct? Do you trust your heart/gut/ inner voice? Why or why not?

 

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