This was in one of my emails today, from Jamie Ridler. I thought I should pass it on as it made so much sense to me. I've added comments in purple as usual...
You have a beautiful voice. Trust me. You do. Your voice is a unique combination of your impulses, your physicality and your spirit, and we need to hear it in the world.
Often our voices get shut down by negative feedback, stress, tension in our minds and in our bodies. Chances are you’ve had many experiences that contributed to the lock-down of your voice. You burst into song as a little kid, and someone said you were tone deaf. You said the wrong thing, and it cost you dearly. If you’re a woman, you were encouraged to be lady-like, to stop laughing so loudly and expressing yourself so vigorously.
And in the midst of that, you lost your voice.
You started censoring yourself, sharing less of who you are and what you were thinking.
You hid your voice because it was safer.
(Yes, I did. And know some of you out there reading this did too.)
In my 20s, I was in a relationship with a man who had a great need to talk. So much so, that I started to think he didn’t care if I said anything at all. And so I stopped talking. I decided I wouldn’t say a thing until he asked me a question or invited me in. It didn’t happen. For months. It didn’t hurt him at all. It hurt me. Without expressing my thoughts and feelings, I lost touch with them. Even after that short time, I had to coax my voice to return.
You can also lose your voice behind a disguise. In order to fit in, maybe you took on a voice other than your own. Maybe you learned to talk with a voice of authority. Maybe you put on your “talking to the kids” voice. Maybe your voice is full of sweet softness, not because you are but because you don’t want to offend.
Or sometimes even without all the emotional stuff, our voices get inhibited by the stress in our bodies. We slump at our computers, compressing our spines. We tense our jaws and raise our shoulders, making the path of our voice smaller and tighter.
How do we invite our voices back?
Start with Humming
For our thoughts to flow with ease from our minds, through our bodies and into the world, we need to clear the way, releasing tensions and limitations. Humming is a great place to start. It’s easy. It’s subtle. And the vibrations help loosen up the parts of your body that support your voice. Humming allows you to literally feel your own voice.
Take a moment right now and hum. Don’t worry about finding a tune or a song. Just make a sound. What’s it like? Are you looking around to see if anyone’s listening? Do you feel silly? Scared? (I actually waited until I was sure I was alone and wouldn't be interrupted before I did this because I felt so weird about it.) Close your eyes and really feel your hum. Where are the vibrations showing up? You might find them in your lips, teeth, neck, head, jaw or chest. Put your hands where that vibration is and feel what you’re creating. That’s your precious voice. Welcome it home.
What is the sound of your voice?
Every voice is beautiful. Maybe yours is bold and boisterous. Maybe it’s gentle and warm. Maybe it’s full of giggles and mischief. Whatever its sound, it’s a part of the world’s chorus, and we need you in the song.
I'd be interested to know how you did. Did you hum? Where was it? Mine was in my lips & nose, rather high pitched, middle E, I think... Did you wait til you were alone like I did, or did you just hum an not care who heard?