To What Are You Consenting?
IMPORTANT UPDATE FOLLOWING original POST (10:30 p.m. EST)
I just read an article while mindlessly browsing online that stated that Paul Haggis (director of "Crash") quit Scientology after, I believe, 32 years as a follower. He did so because of their stance against gay marriage. He had written a letter to the "head" of Scientology and, after being promised the issue would be looked into, received no response. While I have my opinions on all of the former, it is not that about which I was most interested. It is Mr. Haggis' response in a letter to the head of Scientology that I found most fascinating. In it, he stated,
"Silence is consent".
I kept reading after that, but the phrase stuck with me. It seems to touch something that has been simmering within me for years - something that sometimes bubbles up but usually stays quite calm. Silence is consent.
First, let me note that I am not an "activist" per se for anything. While I firmly believe in some issues, I have found in the past that joining groups that promote an idea tend to be judgemental against those opposed to that idea. Even if it is with the best intentions that these particular activists enter into their wars, they are fights nonetheless. It is a slippery slope towards promoting ones own beliefs to judging anothers'. From here, the "you/me", "us/them", "right/wrong", "good/bad" divide just grows...and divisions, hatred, and wars arise. I will continue to share that in which I believe (when asked and sometimes spontaneously) but not at the expense of harming another. (Whole other blog post being tapped into here.)
Back to the original idea. Silence is consent. This blog has allowed me an avenue to share those ideas on which I usually remain silent...mainly because there's nobody listening. (I'm not going to share my deep fears of getting water up my nose with the cashier at the groccery....my milk might spoil in the time it takes to flesh out the conversation.) Yet there are passions within me that pop up in the form of one-sentence thoughts as I'm drifting off to sleep (e.g. life is all a cycle, all of us express it in a micro and macrocosm...yeah, try falling asleep while thinking about THAT), take form through creative work, and find their way into the methods which with I raise my kids. I bring them to my yoga mat and during my runs and every once in awhile am fortunate enough to discuss them with dear friends.
Yet the rest of my life is so filled with noise that those passions - me, the unique embodiment of messages I am here to share, the thread I am supposed to weave through our quilt of time - remain silent.
I play with the volume probably more often than some. Through meditation, random thoughts in the car, journaling, etc. I find ways to turn up my shiny thoughts and ways to sometimes radiate those into action. I turn down the shoulds, the commercials, the expectations and enjoy the harmony of what is.
Far too often I consent to a life I don't want. Don't get me wrong - my individual life is pretty swell. I am fortunate in so many ways, blessed with love beyond my greatest expectations. But because I have those blessings (good health, food on my plate every day, shelter, money, ...) it is my responsibility to not ignore the fire that burns within me, those messages that cry out to be heard and spoken, the life that is mine to live.
I often realize that by not "speaking up" (from the small things like ignoring a piece of trash instead of picking it up to the bigger things like sharing my feelings (in a KIND manner) when someone speaks in a derogatory manner about another) I am not only doing myself a disservice but YOU as well. I have been oh-so-blessed to know, deep down, the beauty that I am (and thus, that humanity and all of life is). If I don't acknowledge that, live it, radiate it through every decision, I keep those around me in darkness as well. Only I can share what is in my heart (that which is unique to my being)...if I consent to living a life afraid of doing so, it will never (NEVER) be heard.
Day after day, choice after choice I will continue to examine this. Whether "speaking up" for my heart requires silence or kind words, action or inacation, I hope to deliberately choose (and simultaneously release into) my own life.
It may be painful to realize, but to what are you consenting? Deep breaths, small steps, and a smile...together we'll find our voice.
*UPDATE*: Even thought this kind of ruins the beautiful ending to this blog, I have to post - you know when you think about something you said and realize that it sounds WAY different in hindsight?? I shared this post on Facebook with the update "Silence is Consent". When I went back tonight and looked at it, ALARM BELLS & big ole' red flags went up.
To anyone who read this post and realized to what I am referring, I am so sorry. To those who didn't, let me clarify: In ANY type of intimate/sexual situation, SILENCE IS NOT CONSENT. I shudder to think of the severity of the meaning opposite the one I intended.