I’ve been considering why I have chosen to work so closely with the voice… why I am so passionate about offering workshops, classes in the voice, sound etc…
Our voice is so intimately bound to our own sense of self, our self-expression, our identity, we carry all of our experiences in our bodies and that get expressed, often unconsciously in our voices.
For so much of my life, I have had a love hate relationship with my voice, I always loved to sing, to talk and yet I felt my voice wasn’t good enough to ‘perform’ and all my speaking life was veiled by self-judgement and control. My self-expression measured. I would often find myself practicing what I would say in my mind or muttering in my mouth before I would allow myself to speak out loud!! It was like what I felt inside needed to be measured, filtered, altered before I could safely express it, a veil, a separation between inner and outer… can you relate??
Even though I may have seemed outwardly confident and outspoken to others, inside, I was calculating, afraid and listening to say what I thought others wanted to hear.. I became a chameleon… and the more I played that game, the less I knew who I was and probably the less trustworthy I seemed to myself and others.
My true voice was well buried in expectation and compromise… until there was nowhere left to hide. It’s amazing how life creates what you need to crack open and this came to me loudly in 2006 when the combination of my father passing away and my marriage, which was always doomed to fail, did fail.. and I had nowhere to hide, I felt like I’d totally screwed up, despite all the obvious warnings. I felt so full of grief, shame and self-pity and felt I had nothing left and nowhere left to hide…
“I cracked… had to face myself, there was no one else to save me…”
I cracked… had to face myself, there was no one else to save me… and if I didn’t learn who I was, what I loved at this time in my life, I never would. I didn’t consciously know that I needed to find my voice or even what that might look like.. step by step led me to the teachers who would lead me and help me to recover and really remember who I am… it’s been, and continues to be an incredible journey through sound, silence, song, spoken word, breath and movement.
So what is your voice? is it your inner voice, your outer voice, your spoken voice, listening voice, singing voice… the one voice of the beloved. It’s all of these and more. For me it has been a journey inwards. This journey has not always been nice or easy, I have met in myself shame, fear, sadness, grief, unkindness, meanness… I have also met laughter, love, bliss and peace. I have found humanity and acceptance and a willingness to turn towards whatever turns up, moment by moment.
As I continue to open and to trust this voice, life has continued to throw challenges at me… and probably will continue till the day I die. What this work has helped me to is to welcome what turns up, to face the feelings that arise and let them have expression. To take responsibility for my feelings. To trust what is emerging from inside can be welcomed and held and loved by me, that there is nothing within me that I cannot turn towards. This feels like the essence of freedom…
What do you love about your voice? This is the question that I ask so often to my clients and students. This is a question I come back to time and time again…. It is a practice I offer you now… take a moment, listen, perhaps even let it be a journal prompt for you.. perhaps the response will come in sound, silence, feelings, words… what arises when you drop this question into you?
I leave you with the powerful words of David Whyte.
The Soul Lives contented by Listening - David Whyte The soul lives contented by listening. If it wants to change into the beauty of terrifying shapes it tries to speak. That is why you will not sing, afraid as you are of who might join with you. The voice hesitant, her hand trembling in the dark for yours. She touches your cheek and says your name at the same time, the one you refused to say over and over, the one you refused to say.