This last weekend I had the privilege of attending a Hui at the Owae Marae in Waitara, Taranaki. The most impactful moments for me were when I listened to people speak in our indigenous language, Te Reo Maori. It's beautiful poetic rhyme penetrated deep into the soil of my indigeneity, calling me back to a deeper awareness of and allegiance to my ancestral journey. The language of words is the love we share with one-another, the glue that shapes the community and culture of who we are. This blog is in honour of the words that continue to mould who we are becoming as a people.
Words are the staple diet of all living organisms, the tell-tale communique that connects and calibrates their interaction. These lingual designations come in many shapes and sizes, colours and creedal forms, defining the base line for multiple levels of intimate dialogue. They are not necessarily vocalised with sound, often hidden in the physical synergy of body language, the most dominant and impressionable form of communication. Micro-expression, hand gestures and posture are the silent orchestra of long-lasting repercussions.
Everything speaks and find its language in the visceral cues that define its sense of connection to the relational need of oneness, the ultimate point of all discourse. Words join us, they provide the glue that creates articulate interchange, ultimately resulting in some kind of semi-permanent bond, like a vow or promise they create a moment of interpenetration that redefines our individual existence.
‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue...so be slow to speak and quick to listen ’
Words can also become a powerful weapon of disregard and division, forcing us apart and into our little alcoves of bias and prejudice. Like arrows they can pierce our hearts and wound with dire intent, like a curse that can only be annulled through some kind of relational reconciliation. We all find ourselves at times in retraction mode trying to reverse time and remedy our discordant communication. Once spoken words are infinite, ubiquitous carriers of life that frame creation, the original God-speak, the ground of all being. Life and death no longer need to be feared but embraced, our words retranslating existence as a paradox to be enjoyed and at times endured, our tongues the touch point for interactive dialogue.
My verbosity will eventually interrupt every legitimate conversation, breaking in like a career criminal to abuse and disabuse the opinions of others. My words remind me that I am trying too hard, or not trying hard enough to consider the hearing ears of my unsuspecting public. Maybe it's time to choose our words wisely, to reconsider whether our contribution to the human parley could be more succinct and minimalist, or at least considerate.
Learning to listen is my final defence, my physical form a constant metaphorical reminder that my single mouth is outnumbered by my two ears who deserve to be given the respect they deserve. These are the silent partners that are constantly open, gently awaiting the coming reverberation of sound that surrounds and engages us on every level.
Sound is God walking in my garden, calling to me, coaxing me out of hiding and clothing my life with dignity and purpose, an eternal signature that shapes and forms my daily experiences.
Today I listen for that approaching, the closeness of sound, the colour of words that form and fuse into sentence, the new narrative for my life.