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The voice within

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Jenna Benn photo 

This past week my voice went missing.
Without warning she decided to pack up and leave.
I feared I had permanently lost her in the woods, just outside of Traverse City, Michigan.

I looked for her on my long runs, but she was hiding.
I searched for her at night as I lay down to sleep, but she was absent.
I longed for her, needed her, wanted her.
She avoided me.

I had so much I wanted to say, but nowhere to put my thoughts, my feelings, my hopes, my dreams. I was overwhelmed by a sea of moments, but was unable to capture and share them.
My heart and mind swelled with emotions, yet I was unable to find the words to release them.

I was ashamed that after all these months of clinging to my voice, and reclaiming her, I let her wander off.
Was she ok?
Would she find her way back?
Would she return looking, feeling, and sounding the way I had remembered her?

This past week, as my voice quietly explored the world around me, I found myself lost in days that have become over-programmed, over-stimulated, and overwhelming.

After spending months in hibernation, I feel a sense of urgency to do everything at once, and as fast as humanly possible. I may have initially tiptoed into this new chapter, but now I am sprinting.

Remember when I said I wouldn't do this?
I need to not do this!

I believe this urgency is rooted in the belief that I need to take full advantage of today because I (we) are not guaranteed tomorrow. At the same time, as I continue to say yes to new projects, events, plans, relationships, I am feeling stretched thin. I am doing everything yet nothing at all.

As I left my house tonight feeling pulled in a hundred directions, I wondered when and if my voice would decide to return. As I unexpectedly watched my good friend perform with his band The Sons of Susan, a woman my age bravely left her table, got up in front of the band, and started "spontaneously" tap dancing.

Her feet provided the beat.
Her heart was there on the floor.
Her soul was exposed for all to see.

As she pitter-pattered her way through the song, I watched her, marveling at her talent, her skill, her bravery.

The beat she created was the calling I needed for my voice to return.

And so here I am, with the words I have been longing for, searching for, hoping for. As it turns out they were there all along, I just didn't know the song and dance I needed to unlock them.

As my days continue to fill up, and I try to negotiate how to live each day mindfully, I hope I can remember the sound of her tapping, the face of her bravery, and be reminded that my voice is never missing, it lies here within.

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