At the end of Eat Pray Love, she writes about a time before the events of the book when she retreated, alone, to a remote island for 10 days, vowing to utter not one word to anybody and with no books or anything to distract her from her purpose which was to work out some kind of deal, some way to get along with her demons, her pain and fears. I so resonate with the description of her reasons for silence:
We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash. We get seduced by our own mantras (I'm a failure... I'm lonely... I'm a failure... I'm lonely...) and we become monuments to them. To stop talking for a while, then, is to attempt to strip away the power of words, to stop choking ourselves with words, to liberate ourselves from our suffocating mantras.After some days of silence, the mantras dropped away and raw emotions - sorrow, anger and shame - bubbled to the surface of her awareness. Do you know what she did with them? She invited them into her heart. She told each of them in turn, "It's over. It's safe. I love you."
I love the idea of inviting my unpopular feelings, like hers - fear, shame, resentment, guilt, anger - into my heart. Giving up resistance to them. Accepting them into the warm home of my heart.
I see the value of silence in this process, but don't feel it is absolutely necessary. Perhaps I can take some baby steps here, thinking about the emotions of the day (today some fears about mortality, particularly my Mom who is approaching her 94th birthday and the husband of a good friend who was just diagnosed with incurable cancer and given only a few weeks to live) and practice inviting them into my heart. I have goosebumps thinking about it. I will try.