When I was a kid I followed my Mom around the house, talking. She would go up the stairs - so would I. She would walk from room to room, putting away the laundry - so would I - not helping, just talking. She would go in to her bedroom - me too. She would lie down on her bed; I would sit and continue talking to her. She would go to the kitchen; there I was.
I had a lot to say. It seemed. And she would sort of listen. But although it appeared as if I was getting what I wanted - the microphone and a considerate audience - in truth, there were few times I felt worse than those times I was traipsing after her, words and worries spilling out of me.
I felt like I had something I just had to get out, something I needed to say but was never able to articulate. Instead, I just got lost in the rapids of retelling what I had seen, thought, heard, and felt that day.
I didn't actually want to be regurgitating my day's emotional swings; I wanted to feel grounded despite all of the mental fodder floating through my head. All of the talking, as it turns out, was a reflection of trying to reach for, strangely enough, stillness - calm. I wanted to feel safe and stable despite thoughts that were troubling me. But talking only calms when it is an expression of thought that's been given room to grow into insight in quiet, not in reactivity.
To this day, more often than I'd like, I find myself still talking when, in truth, I was done with the subject several minutes before. There is nothing more I am compelled to say, yet like a tap left on accidentally, there is still more coming out.
I find these moments disconcerting, but at the same time, an opportunity to remember that once I've spoken my truth on any topic, there is only one thing for which I might still be searching - to get re-rooted in the place from which that truth came: that stillness, that quiet. And in this way, I can be saved the drain of speaking without connection. And, happily, others are spared it too.
Traipsing after the world to get it to listen is an exhausting position. It has hopelessness built in. But when I no longer seek safety and grounding through talk, but through my inner stillness, my talk is left unburdened of that impossible mission and it no longer drains. When my own thinking empowers me, an interested audience naturally appears; and when I am done talking, I actually notice.
From the Inside