The Parasite of Fear & How Our Choice to Believe Lies is Rooted in Survival #paranoia #fear #truth #discernment

Photo Credit: <a href="http://Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Pixabay

You know what it’s like to be brainwashed,” someone close to me wrote on my Facebook wall in response to a post about our current political crisis. The words have echoed through me ever since. I lived a childhood, that extended well into adulthood, haunted by lies. I was fed half-truths, skewed truths, and false-truths so often they became my truths.  I know what it’s like to be brainwashed to the point of belief.

My personal story may be unique, but I believe brainwashing is a problem that is spreading like the wildfires across our planet.

The source of brainwashing, like anything that goes against truth, is fear. I am not a mental health professional, but I have learned a few things about fear and its insidious effects that can lead to the brainwashing of its subjects.

Fear takes hold of the mind that looks for something to control its darkness. It seeks dominion above all else, seizing upon our greatest weaknesses to hold fast its power until its subjects succumb to its lies.



When fear over-powers truth, the mind becomes a haven for lies and the body follows suit. One need only to look at the Tweets flying through the airwaves and the memes plastering social media to realize fear’s struggle for dominion. Right now it looks a lot like fear is winning, along with its lies, as its insidious wave of brainwashing takes over its populace.

So why do we let fear take this type of hold on us? I believe the answer resides in our most basic need. To love and be loved. When this becomes tenuous and conditional, fear sets in at our roots, destabilizing the structure that we rely upon for our survival.

To begin to free ourselves of fear’s hold, we must return to our roots and ask where did  fear begin? What is its source? Who is feeding it to me? And, why am “I” trying to nourish “myself” with it?

When I look at my own path to fear-fed brainwashing, I see similarities in what is occurring in our political system. In both, the parental/governing parties hold the roots of fear. Those that sit atop authority, hold the reins of dominion that promise protection at the cost of our loyalty. It’s nearly impossible not to become a victim of brainwashing, if those that we depend upon for our survival, and for love, are “nurturing” us with lies.

There is, perhaps, no stronger bond that exists than the one between a parent and its child, especially the mother-child bond. This, bond, I believe, is paramount in our current crisis with the truth.

A mother feeds her child with her life-giving blood before birth. If we extrapolate from the mother who feeds and births the individual, to the mother who feeds and nurtures the whole, we arrive at the root of our present day crisis, which is occurring on a global scale.

In the majority of the areas of the world we have labeled “first world,” we have, in essence, de-evolved over the course of thousands of years. What we would label as “progress” has been an uncensored growth of advancements that have occurred through the force of the “parental/governing” ego. A progress that has been fed from the top, but does not often trickle down to nurture the children who are in most need.

Unsettling the natural state of balance even more, is the vast majority of this rapidly progression of unchecked progress has been at the incredible expense of the Mother in the form of our planet. A planet that is designed to nurture and feed all her children, in equal measure to meet their basic needs, but not to serve “man”kind only.

Yet, our most powerful nations were built upon a discontenting from their true source. The life-giving “blood” taken from the Mother (Earth) that feeds us all,  robbing in the process, more than our share, and stolen without reverence. It has been a righteous taking of more than is needed. Reverence and honor of the Mother has been long forgotten for most of our societies. As a result, the Earth has suffered and so have we.

I cannot help but think about the poignant symbolism that is dividing the nation I live in and how it is reflected by the colors of our chakras. Red is associated with the republican party here in the US, while blue is the color of the democratic. Our nation is founded upon polarity, it is part of our roots.

Yet, each side holds fast to its truths, not realizing that a balanced nation is akin to a balanced body.

If we look at the chakra system, we see that red is associated with the color of the root chakra. It is considered the first of our major energy systems in the body, supporting our foundation. The root chakra is therefore associated with our very survival. It is what develops first in the growing human. The root chakra is fed through our connections to our family/clan/nation. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by a foundation of fear and false truths, it becomes us.

A balanced and healthy root chakra, on the other hand, is nourished by the grounding energy of the Mother source. Not our birth mother, but the Mother of all life. Our source of this living-giving “blood” comes from our planet. If we break this Mother-child bond, as we have allowed ourselves to do over many centuries, we become destabilized. We start to cling to other foundations that are false, and that are more often than not, fed by the ego’s fear of not being in control.

The color blue, in the chakra system, is associated with the area that resides in and around the area of our throat. It feeds our entire communication system as it extends down the neck and out the hands, as well as up to the ears. When it is healthy, the throat chakra enables us to hear the truth and discern it from that which are lies. It also guides us in speaking truth with compassion, love, and trust. A healthy throat chakra knows that Truth is a universal law that supports all life. It is not individually divided, but a web that weaves through and unites all life.

When our throat chakra is compromised, the energy in these systems of the body contract in distrust of “others” and of the self (although this is not usually acknowledge by the self). We are seeing this now. Our media is swarming with information that cannot be trusted due to the fear-driving ego-centric sources that are feeding it. A massive brainwashing of the populace, aka, “children,” is occurring through the false truths of their governing bodies, aka, “parents.” We are at point of extreme polarity. The left half in battle with the right. The red fighting with the blue, instead of uniting with the common good. We have forgotten that we are each halves of the same body, seeking union, true stability, and nurturing. We have forgotten how to discern truth from lies, because we have bi-passed the heart at our center, the place of pure knowing, as we cut the roots off from the Mother-blood and constricted our throats and ears from the universal voice of Truth.

And so it is that chaos has taken the reins, and we are left awash in a swirl of angry, divisive energy. Pointing fingers in accusation, and hurling abuses ate each other as though we are in constant battle with parasites. Instead of realizing that the other we hurt, is actually ourselves. The true parasite: the darkness of our own fear we refuse to extract and transmute into light.



“Say What You Need to Say” #speakyourtruth #thyroiddisease

I turned off the light the other night after reading the following passage spoken by Agnes Whistling Elk in Lynn V. Andrews’ book Jaguar Woman, “‘Children are told to speak when spoken to. We as women are taught that to speak of our power is to be shunned by most of society. When you listen to the voices of many men and women you hear a strangled sound. And it’s no wonder. Women’s voices are often weak or a monotone or barely audible. Voices need to be open and free, so that energy can flow through the throat center. We hold our enlightenment there. If energy is trapped in the throat, it can’t move up into the crown of the head. That’s why we get sore throats, thyroid problems, or diseases such as throat cancer. Whenever you have an energy knot like that, it will eventually cause disease.'” (70)

Agnes and the narrator go on to discuss how this concept of trapped energy pertains to disorders in other areas of the human body, but this is where I ended my reading for the night. It was the message I needed to “hear.” After closing the book and placing it on my dresser, the lyrics “Say What You Need to Say” by John Mayer played over like a stuck record inside of my head.

The message from Spirit was clear and obvious, but the concept itself is complex. When I was about 24- years-old, I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. To be more precise, hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid was under-active. I was not surprised. Thyroid disease, after all, runs in my family on my mother’s side. She has it, her sister has it, my sister has it, and the list likely goes on. I have an old photograph of great aunts, five sisters posing in pretty dresses that hug their enlarged, goitered throats.

At 24, I thought my thyroid disease was a cause of bad genetics, I neglected to consider the environmental triggers. I didn’t realize I was holding a knot of energy trapped in my throat. All I knew was that I was destined to take a hormone to supplement my deficiency for the rest of my life, and that if I had children, especially daughters, it was likely they would suffer the same fate. This is what I was told, this is what I believed to be true.

I was wrong, thankfully. Over the past several years, I have witnessed the breaking down of the truths that were the foundation for my early life. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful I set foot on this path to spiritual truth. As Agnes states in Jaguar Woman, we heal ourselves, sometimes through the facilitation of others. Awhile ago a psychic told me I would cure, or heal, my thyroid disorder. I’m still getting there. I’ve lowered my dose, but not a lot. I wrote my memoir, but I still have not sent it out wholly and fearlessly into the world. And, I still don’t always “say what I need to say.”

What does that mean? How does the individual who is used to being silenced, often through many lifetimes, clear the trapped, stagnant energy in her throat? It’s not about avenging past wrongs, it’s not about anger or rage and it’s not a matter of turning into a person driven by aggression. I have lived most of this life trying to avoid conflict, assuming that if I were to speak my truths at certain moments, especially when dealing with aggressive people, I would face a verbal battle or worse. Silence became a way of life for me; a life, it seems, not so easy to change.

I still have moments when I flee a room in tears, unable to form the words caught in the web of energy inside my throat.  Sometimes we heal “miraculously,” sometimes we heal by small steps with a few leaps and bounds. In Jaguar Woman, Agnes cures the beginnings of disease in the narrator’s throat by using shamanic healing to help her free the image of a black crow Andrews sees trapped in her throat. The crow tells Andrews, “You need to remember the importance of saying what you need to say.” (66)

The words that we need to say come from that place of truth inside of our soul.  As Meyer sing, “from a heart wide open.” Our true voice is the clear, bold, yet compassionate voice of the spirit, stripped of the fears of ego. It is the release of constriction from fear’s hands at the present moment, for it does little good to move back to the past in an attempt to alter a situation that has already occurred. The energy has already been lost, or wasted. The moment cannot be fully recovered.

Later in the day, while driving my children into town, I turned on the radio at the moment “Free Bird,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd was playing. Spirit likes using this song as a call to action for me. It’s not an accident that a healthy throat chakra vibrates in the color of a cloudless blue sky, the color of a robin’s egg in spring. And, yes, I saw a robin when I walked out the door of my house in the morning, boldly baring its orange chest to the world and pointing its yellow beak to me.

Multiple Messengers #watersymbolism #dreamsymbolism #animalmessengers

Sometime Spirit likes to hammer the point home until we get it.  I find this happens when I am really being called to shift and get rid of old energies and systems of belief that are not serving my highest good. Since my mind likes to work with symbols and metaphors, I often get these messages in the form of animals and vividly detailed dreams. When I put all the pieces together the puzzle becomes complete and I really “get it.”

I’ll share my most recent series of messages as an example. It’s rather amusing when one lets go of self-frustration. Two nights ago I had a series of vivid dreams, of which I would now recall in more detail had I written them right down after waking. But, I think what I retained was enough to get Spirit’s point across, especially when combined with the other messengers that ensued.

In the dreams I found myself in a landscape of water (the element of emotion). The water was an ocean, and it was rising. As I made my way through the water I encountered a large (too large) seal. It was alive, but unmoving, floating like a buoy with its bloated belly turned toward me.

The seal as an animal messenger beckons us to awaken our imaginations and creativity. In his book Animal Speak, Ted Andrews writes, “If a seal or seal lion has shown up as a totem, it is time to do some questioning. Are you getting out of balance.” (pg. 311). Considering that my seal was bloated and unmoving, I would have to say yes.  Since I am a writer and my soul needs this form of creative nurturing, the seal was a “gentle” reminder to find space to feed this part of my soul.

What of the bloated belly though? One might say that the seal in my dream was over-fed. Now, let me tell you about the other vivid image that stayed with me from that night. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say I was on a toilet and a lot of waste was moving through me. Our physical bodies are responsible for storing, processing and getting rid of the energy we take in. Sometimes, when we harbor fears, these energies find a home within us and grow – they quite literally bloat our bellies, or cause dis-ease of some kind. As a former sufferer of IBS, I know too well this type of energy retention and the body’s struggle for release and balance. Although, two nights ago, I was not literally having an episode of IBS, spirit was showing me that it was time for a release of fears.

The following day, I went for a walk with the dogs and my eyes were pulled to the side of the road where a black snake lay curled in the sand. Again, my animal messenger was unmoving, although alive. The snake as a messenger seems to make an appearance in my life when I am in the process of, or am about to undergo, a big shift. As a totem/messenger, the snake awakens the dormant energies inside of us (it’s associated with the awakening of the kundalini energy at the base of our spine) and, through its ability to shed its entire skin, calls us to release our old self and rebirth.

The snake energy is associated with the 2nd chakra, where we house our sexual and creative energies. A chakra area that has been calling for attention and healing in my body.  The point of Spirit was really starting to hit home, but there were still two more messengers to consider.

Over the past few days I have, much to my dismay, encountered more than a few ants in my house. Through much investigation and cleaning, I discovered the lure – a jar of honey with a loose lid. Now I must confess that the ant is not one of the animals I tend to spare when I encounter them in my house, so I did my best to thank the universe while I sent the messengers down the drain with a good dose of the element of water.

It’s likely the message here was multifaceted. The ants were lured to honey – a sweet substance of life (and there may be an indirect message from bee here too, see below). Ants, as most people are aware, are quite industrious. They work in a complex social unit of cooperation and order. Andrews writes in his book: “The ant is the teacher of how to build, how to become the architect of your own life. It can show you how to construct your dreams into reality. It will show you that the greatest success occurs with persistence.” (pg. 336). I can safely say I have a few dreams I’d like to manifest into reality, some of which are directly related to writing.

Now let’s side-track a little and look at the bee, because we really should consider the lure of honey. Andrews states that “Bees are long-time symbols for accomplishing the impossible.” (pg. 337). Of course one might say that the impossible is only impossible inside the confines of our minds. Could it be that I am being called to actually enjoy, and find the sweetness inside, the process of manifesting my creative endeavors into reality (yes, there is a tone of irony here)?  Sometimes we do forget that life is supposed to be fun and filled with light and joy.

There’s just one more messenger I want to consider before I end this blog. The catbird. I seem to have a resident catbird outside my home that likes to make itself seen in my presence at the most telling of times. The catbird, with its talent for a wide range of songs, is a messenger of communication. This morning, when my friend the catbird appeared before me, I was quite literally thinking about my own communication blockages (related to the throat chakra in particular).

And so, it seems, spirit is calling me to the two chakras in most need of my attention – the 2nd, and also the 5th. Two chakras I feel are intimately connected. For when we manifest our creative gifts, we want to be sure we sing them in the clear, beautiful and enduring voice of our truth.

Robin: The Bird of (Re)birth #robins #robinsymbolism #robintotem #rebirth #sacralchakra #throatchakra


The American Robin is considered by many to be a harbinger of spring. When the robin returns to its summer home in the spring, it gets to work building a nest with its mate and laying a brood of beautiful, sky-blue eggs. It is also one of the first birds to sing at dawn, harkening the new day with its melodious voice.

The robin, in many respects, is a bird of beginnings, of birth, and of the rebirth of the true, creative self. Upon its proud chest, robin shamelessly displays the color orange. Although robins are considered to have a “red-breast,” the color is really a deep orange, the vibration of the second, or sacral chakra. Orange and the second chakra are symbolic of our creative and sexual drives. This wheel of energy stirs us into action, and when balanced and healthy,  enables us to live our creative truths without worry of how we will be received by the world.

When I see robin, the bird always inspires a sense of awe and reverence. Standing erect and confident on the ground, where it digs through the body of Earth for sustenance, robin appears a master of the self. The robin has no doubt who s/he is, unafraid to sing in full-throated beauty the first song of the morning.

The robin births eggs in the spring in the color of the cloudless sky, making the robin a creator of truth and a teacher for a healthy throat chakra. The throat chakra is the fifth chakra in the set of seven primary chakras in the body. It is closely tied to the second chakra. When we are able to create freely from that seat of orange energy, we need to be able to bring it up through our throats, where we express our truths with compassion and confidence.

Near the end of last summer, on the first day of returning to school for my children, I experienced a day of magical peace and communion with nature. It had been a difficult summer for me, not because the kids were home, although that presents its own set of challenges and gifts, last summer was a time of transition for me. I was emerging into the field of energy healing, and was getting ready to finish up my memoir and start sending it out to the world. I was feeling called to release old fears and habits that were no longer serving me. Part of this releasing was letting go of relationships that were no longer in alignment with who I was, and my upper back, neck and shoulders were suffering the struggle to unburdan an old, heavy load.


That day at the end of August, after I sent my children off on the bus, I was able to decompress and live in the moment in a way I had not been able to for a long time. I spent the beautiful sun-filled day with my dogs walking in the woods and sitting outside. Many birds appeared to me, including a hummingbird, flicker, and robin. For a long time I watched these individual birds and took in the lessons they had to offer. Robin sat in a maple tree in my front yard, toward the middle of the afternoon shortly before the kids were due off the bus. I had my camera with me all day, and I captured the bird on the branch, then watched as it released a single feather, which swirled with gravity toward the earth beside where I sat. A gift, it seemed.

Spirit sometimes speaks to us with feathers, offering them to us as a gesture of hope and reassurance that we are a part of a great, universal love that is so vast and infinite we can hardly comprehend it in our human form. I am often reluctant to take feathers from the Earth when I see them, for there is also the belief that one should not take from Earth what one does not need, or belongs to someone else. Sometimes, though, the gifts are so overt one is pulled to accept them. That day, as I gently lifted the fallen feather, feeling the vibration of the robin’s energy still humming inside, I knew I had been given a precious gift. A gift of new birth and beginnings. It’s been quite a journey.

The Number 5

When the number 5 comes into my life, whether in dreams, a memory, or as a number that appears throughout a particular day, I think of self-empowerment, independence and the “free soul” (as Denise Linn refers to the number in her book, The Hidden Power of Dreams). When I think of the number 5, the color blue comes to mind: the color of the throat chakra, self-expresison and inner truth.

The number 5, of course, also represents a physical age. When we are 5, we are, ideally, just coming into the expression of our independence and personal truths. By the age of 5, most of us are able to feed ourselves, tie our own shoes, go to school, and express our minds with clarity and conviction. A 5 yr. old child is still close enough to the world of spirit to remember, to believe and to see.

When one wishes to heal and reclaim his or her Inner Truth, it is often beneficial, if not essential, to reclaim the inner child. I have found that the age of 5 is a good place to start. There have been many events, and numbers in the form of ages, that have been essential to my own life journey, and for the healing of my inner truth, but I can think of none more important than 5. Let me share a snapshot of this child who still lives inside of me.

Picture, if you will, a pretty little girl with deep blue eyes and wavy hair the color of ripened wheat resting past her shoulders. She has the round cheeks of a baby and a dimple on her chin, and, sometimes, she has a smile that lights up her face. The little girl, Alethea, has just moved to Henniker, NH with her  mother, older sister, and a man who is trying to replace the father she has left behind in Oregon.

Alethea loves playing with her dolls and her two cats. She loves her best friend in kindergarten with the soft brown eyes and curls, her sister and her mother, but she’s not sure she loves her new father. Alethea misses her small white house in Portland with its TV and indoor toilet. She misses her friends and her grandparents, but she knows she is not supposed to miss the father they left behind.

The little girl knows inside her heart that fairies play under the clusters of star flowers, but she has already forgotten how to see them. The magic of her world is fading quickly, being replaced by fear, secrets and doubt. By the time she turns 6, Alethea forgets she has her own voice.

This 5 year old child, in many ways, shaped the woman I became. She is the little girl I see when I need to heal my inner child. The more I heal, the more radiant she becomes. Now, instead of a  small child hovering inside the shadows of doubt and fear, I see a magnificent little girl full of joy and love. She sparkles with possiblity. She sings with the clear voice of her truth.

Reclaiming the “free soul,” is a journey of many steps. Sometimes when one aspect is healed, another appears to take its place, reaching with desperate hands for light. Healing can come in many forms. Writing is one of them. If you want to learn who you are, a good place to start is by rediscovering who you were at 5.  Write down everything your remember. Write what you loved. Write what you feared. Write your sorrows. Your joys. Write what you believed in. Write your truth.


I am remembering the energy of places. The dark corner where the walls met under the threshold of my bedroom door. A place where I had to force my eyes to look three times before I buried them under blankets, a fortress of stuffed animals around me. The pull of the wells. The first on the path between our home and our neighbors, down the slight slope of earth under the hemlocks and many steps past the circles of white flowers that hid my fairies. The second on the hill in Canterbury, beside the stone remains of a structure long abandoned. There was the skeleton of a child, I was sure, underneath that heavy gray slab of granite.

I am remembering the patches of light. The field of wildflowers and long grasses above the shop where my stepfather worked. The large rock in front of my neighbor’s home where I would sit and watch the dragonflies dance above the earth. The way the heavy brown seat of our home-made couch would pulse with the light energy of my body when my mother would brush my long brown hair into braids.

Yesterday I tried to explain the news I had received about my thyroid to a friend, and later my husband, listing each spiritually balancing activity that came to mind that I had engaged in over the past year or more. I realized, only later, that it is all a mater of energy. The only thing that really exists.

“You might fix that issue with your throat,” she had told me on the phone. Not the doctor who read the lab results, but the psychic I had spoken to six months before. Even though the energy around my throat had been spinning in a tight circle the size of an eraser, she knew it was already starting to heal.

“You have to want to heal,” I told someone else today, “so that your body and spirit understand your intention.” When you make that choice, the Universe will allow the energy to come back into balance. Inside of that desire you will find your truth and you will begin to sing it in whatever form it needs to manifest.

One Down

Today I crossed off #14 on my List to the Universe. It was my most recently added item: “Alethea has a turquoise necklace like the one in her dream.” Yesterday a good friend gave me that necklace, along with a pair of matching earrings. I was deeply touched by her act of friendship.

About a month ago I saw myself during my dream state wearing a beautiful necklace draped with stones of turquoise. It was the only image of the dream (at least remembered), this magnificent necklace around my throat.

Throat, I realized later was the take away message. About a week after my dream I was sitting in class listening to my instructor talk about crystals and stones and how they can relate to and work with the chakra points on our body. When she got to the fifth chakra, the throat, she introduced us to turquoise.  As you might have guessed, a light-bulb clicked on. I had been given another way to work on that throat chakra.

Within a week of hearing about my experience, my friend Rachel made me a necklace much like the one in my dream. The stones, the color of robins’ eggs or a cloudless sky, now surround my neck, nudging me to create; to crack open the imagination and let new life take flight.

Thank you Rachel for your wonderful gift!


When I was a young child, after my mother and stepfather moved us from Oregon to NH, we had an outhouse. In back of the outhouse there was a stream, and beside the stream, tucked in amid the ferns, were white sheetrock buckets holding leafy green plants. The plants were a secret. One of many. They looked like tomatoes, but they were not.

At ten past five this morning the phone rang and I was pulled out of a deep sleep to listen to an automated message informing me that my children’s school had been canceled for the day.  After I cursed the superintendent, my mind began the replay of my dreams. In the first scene, I saw myself standing in a room with my mother and stepfather. My stepfather loomed in front of me, my mother was in the shadows to my right. It was Christmas and my stepfather held before me the partial skeleton of a quilt. Triangular patches of scrap fabric had been sew together (presumably by my mother), but the shape of the quilt was just taking form. It was his gift to me. “Take it,” he told me, “I want you to finish it.” As he spoke my stepfather pointed to bins of calicos in the colors of Christmas behind him, gesturing for me to choose the fabrics of my choice to finish the project. He was insistent, this was something he thought I should do.

I refused. I didn’t want the beginnings of a quilt that he thought I should make on my own. (My mother once helped me make a quilt for my bed, he had much to say about it while the project was occurring.)

Instead, I stood before my stepfather and started to talk. The first words that came from my mouth were muffled and strained, as though I were trying to talk through a clot or a windstorm. There was no strength to my words. But, as I spoke, my voice became strong and clear. “I don’t want the quilt,” I told my stepfather, “Instead, I have something I want you to hear.”

I told my stepfather that for Christmas I had given my birthfather back his name (I did, in fact, give this “gift” to my birthfather this past Christmas). The name my stepfather had taken from him. “Dad.” As I spoke, my heart was racing my words and winning in its mad sprint. I tried to look past the mix of anger and hurt in my stepfather’s face, not willing to allow my voice to stop inside my throat. “I can call two people Dad,” I told him, “There are no rules that say you can’t do that.” I argued my defense to a mute audience, listing the reasons why I should not be denied the right to have and love two fathers. I didn’t stop until I had emptied my body of the words I had been holding inside.

The scene changed and I was standing in another building, a public building with many people, talking to a couple with a child in a stroller. My mother and stepfather were behind me and we asked about the child, a girl with long light brown hair hunched within her too small seat. There was an aura of gloom around the child, a sadness so deep the air around her was heavy, gray.

“How is she,” we wanted to know. The girl lifted her head slightly as her parents spoke of how she was recovering from the depression that had filled her after she had been to Oregon for a visit. They told us that now that she was back she was beginning to improve. As her parents spoke, my heart reached for the girl. This seven year old child with long brown hair, whose too large body sunk into her stroller, needed me. I knew the source of her sorrow. In my mind I saw her standing on the sand beside the rocky gray waters of the Pacific. I felt her open her mouth to a scream whose sound was immediately swallowed by the greedy mouth of the wind. I felt her body absorb the violence of the swirling air as though it were my own. I knew I could help her.  I would teach her how to recover her muted voice.