January 1, 1970Denise Roy’s Ezine Newsletter
This Month's Essay: "Voice Lessons"
by Denise Roy
"...let us always be kind in this world."
I am sitting at my kitchen table, drinking coffee from
my favorite mug. My notebook is in front of me, and I
am doing writing practice before I read the newspaper
or check my email. I begin by listening to an audiotape
of author Natalie Goldberg; she is reading from her
wonderful book, "Writing Down the Bones."
Even though Natalie is not with me in person, I feel
as if I have a friend in my kitchen, a coffee buddy.
Her voice an alive thing — there is a quality that
comes through it that amazes me. It is not only her
words — what she is saying — but it is also her tone,
and the silence that surrounds her words. It is the
smile that comes through along with her passion. It
is her humor and delight, as if she is happiest
right now just talking with her listeners, talking
about what she loves.
The quality of her voice reflects the fact that she
has meditated for decades. She has a depth of
compassion for herself that is the wellspring of
her compassion for others. The sound of her voice
helps me find my own voice on this morning. I begin
Then the telephone rings. It is my mother. Her
voice sounds plaintive and sad. She is looking
for a direction to her day, hoping for an
invitation or for some news of what is happening
in her children's lives. She keeps asking me
questions, and in that moment, I am only aware
of being irritated at being disturbed. I push
her away, and cut our conversation short.
After I hang up, I turn on the tape again. I
hear Natalie's kind voice, and then I realize
the message I had sent to my mom: "Don’t bother
me. I don’t have time for you."
I decide to call my mother back. I feel my voice
soften. I realize that when I call my own sons,
who are now living on their own, I often ask too
many questions, and I can feel them pull away.
My compassion for my mom returns. "Would you
like to come to dinner?" I ask. I know that
this visit will be an anchor for her day.
"I’d love to" she says. She adds, "Thank you.
You’ve saved me from sausage and sauerkraut."
I hang up, and turn my tape player back on,
and I thank Natalie for the lesson in finding
my voice. She responds:
"The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is
that we are writing because we love the world,
and why not finally carry that secret out with
our bodies into the living rooms and porches,
backyards and grocery stores? Let the whole
thing flower: the poem and the person writing
the poem. And let us always be kind in this world."
PRACTICE: Today, listen to what comes through
your voice as you speak to your children, to a
parent, to a co-worker, to yourself.
What do you hear in your voice?
Can you let kindness come through?
blessings & peace,
© 2007 Denise Roy. All rights reserved.
Denise Roy, LMFT, M.Div., is an author, a licensed
marriage and family therapist, a popular speaker,
and a mother of five. Her books and audiotapes
include "Momfulness: Mothering with Mindfulness,
Compassion, and Grace" (Jossey-Bass, 2007),
"My Monastery Is a Minivan" (Loyola Press, 2001) and
"Meditations for Mothers” (Random House Audiobook, 2007).
Her essays have also been included in these books:
Your Children Will Raise You; I Like Being a Mom;
The Miracle of Sons; Spiritual Surrender; and
Humor for a Mom's Heart.
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