In a quiet private room of a therapists office, sometimes shouts are heard. In a moment of distress, a howl can be a long overdue reclamation of personal power and freedom. There is a time and place for this level of noise.
Yet in a caring conversation between two people in heartfelt alliance, there can be a different kind of calling. There may be a need to listen for the low tremors and quiet whispers. For the urgent reticence of unspoken shame. For the tender ache of silenced fears.
I learn the most from people in the spaces between words and syllables. As I tune into the delicate places that yearn for healing, I listen for the texture of both sound and silence.
Energetically, I hold a big space for loud, large, declarations. I hold an even bigger space for faint, tentative, uncertain whispers. And wider still for silence.
What can be heard in these in-between places? Everything. Longing. Strength. Seeking. Despair. Anger. Delight. Connection. Fear. Expanse. And again these written words do not describe the sound: the experience, itself. The listened-to moment is so much richer and profound.
In the Seven Notes to Freedom™ that I have been identifying and working with recently, there is one “note” that for me echoes most loudly. I call it the “ghost note”.
Ghost Notes are shy and muted. Sometimes these are the “frozen” notes: cemented in time by the immobilization of the voice during trauma. Ghost notes hold volumes of information that cannot be held in the language, or even form. Yet they are audible, if you listen very carefully.
In our culture, we have become accustomed to those in power exercising loud voices of belligerence and righteousness, drowning out the quieter voices of authenticity and truth. The voices of domination and “power over” are attempting to drown out the voices of quiet coherence and resonance. But individual truths, when shared, become the deep power of true community.
Each of us carry ghost notes between our words, and in our silences. They are all deserving of deep listening and honor, within and without therapy sessions.
In these recent days of brave new vocalizations of long held silences and tender truths, we come up against another question.
What are the ghost notes that we as a culture carry together?
I am listening.