Landscape Trust

Recently, in Jan Richardson’s Lenten retreat she offered this:

“Tell them about how you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there’s always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don’t speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the inside.”

                                                               –Audre Lorde’s daughter, speaking to Audre

and then this poem:
She Untames Her Tongue
For years her tongue was trained
in soothing tastes:
chamomile and chocolate,
peppermint and rosemary.
She specialized in pleasant words
that eased from her lips,
murmuring apologies and niceties,
consolations and lullabies
till the day her tongue
went suddenly numb.
Saying the comfortable words 
more loudly
didn’t help,
and neither did saying them
more often.
So she stopped.
These days
she is nursing her tongue
back to life.
On Mondays and Tuesdays
she wraps her tongue in
cilantro and chiles,
lemongrass and leeks.
Wednesdays and Thursdays
she dusts it with
curry and tarragon,
pepper and saffron.
Weekends she sits around
squeezing into her mouth
drops of
lemon and lime,
whiskey and gin.
After weeks of this
she can tell
something at the root
of her tongue
is loosening
and she means
to let it fly.

Adrenal fatigue is the exhaustion that comes from holding words inside, unspoken, until the words end up punching me in the mouth from the inside out….

It took me a long time to learn how to speak up and let the words out. My health at the moment is indicative of what can happen when one is forced to keep one’s words to ones self. No doubt holding silence was a wise strategy at the time. But it comes with a price.

I love Jan’s imagery in this poem, learning to speak for the first time, or learning how to speak again after a forced silence. The process of learning to speak is about awakening one’s tongue, seasoning it with rich flavors, teaching it to fly.

The landscape of my inner self this morning is one learning to speak again after the strain of being devoiced and forced into silence. No doubt I accepted the forced silence as a strategy of survival. It had to be. But the consequences were severe.

Now I am relearning. Seasoning my tongue, my life, with rich flavors. Opening my life and loosening my spirit, and letting it fly.

The paradox is that in letting it fly I am also relearning how to be at peace, to fully relax, and truly rest.

This can only come because there is also trust. One cannot rest and find peace, restore and relax, when one is guarded, when adrenalin is high, when fear wraps around one like a cloud.

The landscape of my inner life is learning to trust again, which is fueled by hope and enables rest.


About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
This entry was posted in Jan Richardson, landscape, Lent, trust. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Landscape Trust

  1. Purple says:

    Our bodies do have much wisdom to share with us…and listening to ourselves is such an important aspect. Thrilled your "voice" is coming back to life in so many ways.

  2. conundrum says:

    Oh, wonderful. Time makes so much difference when we are learning to season again. Thank you. Amen.

  3. Jan says:

    Trust is difficult at times. I'm glad you notice progress.

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