I started vow of silence on Wednesday. Until the night of my performance, I am not vocally communicating with others.
I am writing. I am making noises. I am talking to my cats, singing to myself and practicing my set in private (my musician is the only one who is going to be hearing my voice this month).
Mostly though, for this month, I’m exploring my silence. So far, it’s already been quite illuminating.
I’ve learned vocal reaction and response can happen long before any conscious choice/decision, much of it is automatic and conditioned. Another lesson I’m a bit more surprised by, is my ability to over complicate and be excessive even in nonverbal communication.
The latter has looked like chaotic body movements or tantrums of non-linguistic sounds and facial expressions. The former has mostly been knee jerk, “trash” or throw away “habit” responses. For example, never before have I realized the extent of my nervous humor before!
Though these insights are sure to be useful, what I’m really most excited about for this journey are my intentions. The first is honestly akin to “becoming less reactive,” but feels more rightly defined as “creating space between stimuli and response.”
Often I get overly excited by communication, especially when it’s about things I actually care about, and in that excitement-oriented mania I lose sight of the purpose of communication. So, in part, this vow is about increasing the value of my own communication. I plan to do this, not by eliminating my responses, but by allowing myself the time to curate and design them with more care and consideration.
Secondly, and similarly, I am attempting to train what I’ve come to call “verbal processing” out of my communication habits. I have found myself able to talk topics in circles, in order to imagine and explmore every perspective, often even playing “devil’s advocate” just to ensure no view point is left behind.
Honestly, I find verbal processing fun. That’s why it’s become a habit. Still, it does nothing for the potency and power of my words.
Ultimately, my purpose will require I do my “verbal processing” internally, so that when I do speak, the thoughts I am presenting are a collected and cohesive whole. This will provide others the gems of my experience and analysis without having to muddle through the garbage to get them. Again, increasing the value of my spoken word.
Finally, and perhaps most fun, I am exploring rewilding my voice for a few creative projects. This is why I am allowing myself to make non-linguistic sounds.
So far I have been absolutely delighted by one occasion of non-verbal sound exploding from myself. I growled and grunted and clicked, utilizing my physical form, movement and every muscle in my face to communicate my intentions.
It felt wild.
It felt really, really, really good.
I am so excited that I am just 3 days in and have so much more time to explore the silence. Who knows what my voice will actually be like on the other side?! But, I am sure excited to find out!