This summer I completed 30 days of silence to heal my vocal nodules.
What are Vocal Nodules?
Vocal cord nodules are growths that develop on both vocal cords. Also called “nodes”, they are a type of hard callous that develops as a result of vocal abuse. Thankfully, vocal nodules are benign/noncancerous but they can cause chronic laryngitis, discomfort, pain, and when they become swollen they can cause mucus to gather in the throat resulting in chronic coughing. All in all, they are not pleasant, and not something that should be ignored.
Read about nodules and Healing Vocal Nodules Naturally here.
I was determined to heal my vocal cords, and I also psyched myself up for the challenge of going silent. It was a fascinating experience and I learned a lot.
We say a lot for no reason
When you really can’t speak and you have to write everything down, any communication you have is whittled down to the bare necessities of communication. Most of what we usually say to one another is just idle chatter and quite meaningless.
We speak a lot without thinking
For someone like me, speaking is almost like breathing. I found myself starting to speak without thinking, and then I would slap my hands over my mouth in realization of my error. Being silent for 30 days made me more cognisant of when, how, and why I speak.
Sometimes it’s a relief to be silent
In our modern world there are a lot of social and business pressures. Taking a leave of silence is also taking a much needed leave of absence from those obligations. Not speaking was like a nice little retreat, even though I didn’t go away anywhere, and it was quite refreshing.
We assume too much of others
Before going silent, I had assumed that my husband would understand me more easily than he did. I thought that we must know each other really well — we’re married after all — and that I’d be able to use some shorthand and maybe a bit of miming and he would be able to understand me. Boy was I wrong. I think the 30 days of silence was harder for him than it was for me. No matter how well you think you know someone and that they know you, we depend an awful lot on verbal communication and without it, you realize just how individualized each person’s perceptions really are.
It’s all in your head
Being silent is more about your mental preparedness than anything else. I slipped up and did some whispering when I shouldn’t have because I wasn’t always mentally willing to be keep my thoughts to myself, but it was all psychological. There’s really no need to speak unless there’s some kind of emergency, and that’s rarely ever the case. You just have to stay focused and apply your energy to places other than speaking.
Practice makes perfect
Like anything, you can get used to being silent. It just takes practice. In time, you can get used to anything.
You can read more about my 30 Days of Silence in my other blog posts, and also Healing Vocal Nodules Naturally here.