Our voices carry vibrations. In fact, there are theories that we and our world are simply vibrations, in more or less dense states of being. As a yoga teacher and user of Tibetan singing bowls, I can feel how vibrations affect us. We feel good or bad vibrations, or “vibes,” from other people. This term is not coincidental.
So when we use our voices, whether talking, chanting, singing, the vibration affects those around you. Angry words have one affect; gentle words another. This was one of the reasons that I resolved never to speak angry words to or about my tumor, diagnosed in December 2015. Battle metaphors have never been my thing, and I am much more of a conciliator than a fighter. I didn’t want to fight or defeat my tumor and I certainly didn’t want to engage in a battle to the death. I wanted to have a better understanding of what was making my cells so angry and unhappy (if indeed they were) and hopefully address that in a kind and gentle way.
In many ways, the tumor brought gifts into my life for which I was grateful. First a release from a difficult situation which was exhausting me (nothing like a terminal illness to be able to say “no longer my job!”) and secondly an outpouring of love, caring and support from my community. I was able to listen as friends told me how much I meant to them and how I had affected their lives. I was able to let them know the same thing. It was like a wonderful funeral but I didn’t have to hear it all from the other side!
Finally, I was able to appreciate the exquisite beauty of life in a very new and beautiful way. I was blessed to not be afraid of the inevitability of death – one of the many wonderful aspects of both my yoga training and my spiritual bent – recognizing that the time will come for all of us to shed our bodies and become more completely vibrational. For these reasons I was able to appreciate the gifts brought about by a dire diagnosis. It’s made me grateful for every moment, acutely aware of how lucky I am to go about my normal day to day. Life can be beautiful, no matter what it throws at you. And the words we use can make a difference.