Laryngitis in Paris – on losing and finding my voice.

light and shadow“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra

What happens when the fork in the road is not of your choosing? What happens when you’re co-leading SoulStrolling à Paris and lose your voice for 4 days? The following quote, from “For the Traveler” by John O’Donahue, takes on a deeper, more introspective meaning:

“When you travel, a new silence goes with you, and if you listen, you will hear what your heart would love to say.”

A new silence indeed. My heart wanted to speak, share, sing, vocally participate! Alas, my voice was removed, and silence was my path. I swore often, a lot, in my head. I was mad, sad, angry, frustrated. I lost my voice in Paris. Writing that sinks into my core.

Paris is my home away from home. A city that invites my soul to explore both inner and outer terrain. This was my journey. Not in a way I would have written; however, as my friend and soulstrolling co-conspirator, Kayce S. Hughlett likes to say: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Fred DeVitolightanddshadowbridge

Challenged I was. Unable to engage in conversation, ask questions, share what was going on in my mind, was incredibly hard. Instead, I was invited to deeply listen, notice, be present, ‘be myself’ in a different way. I was me, just without a voice.

Light and shadow spoke to me. They drew me in: through pathways without gates, reflections on water, how the sky danced with buildings. Laryngitis and silence wove through my mind. It took me some doodling time in my journal to connect the ‘l’ and ‘s’ words.

Some would say, “What’s the big deal? So you were sick in Paris. You lost your voice. It came back. End of story.” The thing is, that doesn’t fit for me. It could, but I desire and yearn to understand myself better, to change, stroll with my soul and discover what invitations lie along the way in order to live my life fully alive, present, truthful, kind and generous.

pathwayswithoutgatesJPGWhere might I be figuratively ‘losing my voice’ at home in Seattle? What can I learn from this experience that aids me in my journey? That calls forth change and curiosity? This isn’t a one time settled discovery by the way.

I lost my voice, and engaged with my inner artist.  Sitting on the birch bench in Musée Marmottan, Monet as my muse, a quiet internal voice announced, “Time to take out those pastels.” I’d purchased a small travel pack of pastels, along with a watercolor set and new journal, prior to departure. Granting myself permission to doodle, draw, mess my fingers, get pastel all over my white jeans, enjoy the practice of creating, without words, was glorious.light and shadow building

“The beginning of the adventure of finding yourself is to lose your way.” Joseph Campbell.
This is one of our favorite soulstrolling quotes. I use to think of losing my way in a somewhat linear, ‘off the map’, kind of way. After this experience, it takes on a deeper meaning. In what ways was losing my voice the path of adventure to uncovering more of the mystery of me? Hm…. You can imagine this is taking more of my journaling/doodling/creative reflective time.
My voice and I are home now. Reflecting, remembering, pondering. Honoring my time in Paris that was shared with our community of fellow SoulStrollers. I’m seeking to pay attention to my ‘voice’.
If you’re longing to discover more of yourself, with the magnificent city of light, Paris, as your backdrop, then consider joining us on our next SoulStrolling à Paris adventure, October 17 – 24, 2015. email us @

4 Comments Add yours

  1. I so love how you reframed the experience and dabbled in another ‘art’ to find answers! Beautiful.

  2. Hilary Lohrman says:

    Enforced silence is such a different “animal” than chosen silence, isn’t it? I am convinced that your experience was a gift only suited for an advanced student, and you received it, cultivated it, and harvested meaning from it. You inspire me, again.

    1. Thank you Hilary. Wise words and encouragement from a fellow SoulStroller. Merci mon amie.

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