Currently, I’m reading a beautiful book by Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits. Kidd is probably best known for her novel, The Secret Life of Bees, but she has a handful of non-fiction that will inspire you. I was given When the Heart Waits by my dear friend, Linsey for my birthday, and I’m not too far into yet, but I’m already sort of captivated by it. What a soulful writer.
In the first chapter, Kidd begins describing this bleak mid-life crisis she is navigating. Part of this crisis is a sense that she is being invited to do deeper spiritual work in her life, to shed additional versions of her false self and acquaint herself fully with her true self. In the dis-ease of this crisis, she is realizing that there are voices inside her that are clamoring for attention but have been silenced, suppressed. She calls them, “orphaned voices.” Beautiful. Haunting. Can’t we all relate to orphaned voices inside us? A subtle (sometimes not-so-subtle) song seeking recognition, permission, validation, expression.
My mom sent me a quote recently that I’m still chewing on. It’s from Pearl Buck, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Good Earth. Buck says about the creative mind, “So that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.”
Of course I resonate with these words. Somewhere inside me is an unorthodox prism that is always looking for something to capture and then refract out to the world. A stream of light to turn into a rainbow.
The times in my life when I have felt the most suffocated have been the times when that prism has been, for any number of reasons, covered over. During those seasons, I have let deep desires go unattended in my soul. I have left voices orphaned.
Some of the work I want to continue doing in myself, and inspire/provide space for others to do as well, is the practice of listening to those lost voices. This is soulwork, and I believe it deeply matters.
On the off days, I get caught up in wondering if some of my pursuits are making a difference “out there.” And then it all comes back to me. By sitting down and writing (books, blogs, articles, anything) and by making my unconventional art, I am paying homage to those orphaned voices. And that makes a huge difference “in here.” Isn’t that the whole point?