Heal your voice, heal yourself!
As a counselor, I meet clients with tiny or almost quenched voices that are mired in shame, low self-esteem, and a sense of powerlessness. It is a thrill and a privilege to witness the releasing of that voice as they come to stand on their own ground, values, stories, and a new tenderness to themselves. From that softened place, self-attuned, they also see what others need in order to grow and feel safe. They are interested in the other’s differences and stop trying to control them. Ease comes into their lives at last and a sense of purpose and vision with it.
Feeling seen and heard is the source from which healing emerges. The effortless connection, expression, and communication that we yearn for come through the human voice.
The human voice is words, silence, and the body as it moves or rests in stillness, always striving to connect us with ourselves and others.
When we focus on the voice as a path to healing, we support it and ourselves for speaking publicly or conversationally, for rehabilitation of communication problems and for developing and deepening our own presence. We deepen contact and end loneliness, shyness, and isolation.
We can use the ravaging experiences of stress, anxiety, and trauma to empower instead of disable us once we create the right conditions from which to speak and act. The ‘right’ conditions are the conditions for healing.
What are the right conditions?
A feeling of belonging. This comes from anchoring in the body and anchoring in the environment, developing a newly sensitised relationship to them through the gift of consciousness.
Learning to feel good, spacious, in your body, not threatened in it but, rather, supported to see and experience what you want to see and experience. Here you will breathe easily. This is your space to belong in. It is from here that you will speak authentically with your own originality and without effort while listening to the other. In this space, you will attend to what resonates in you, to what feels good, pleasurable, ok or neutral.
Find a still place. To speak, story, sing, dance is innate. We do it to live and cope. Look at all the rituals we have around these activities. When we lose the instincts to voice authentically and feel blocked, we must return to a still place, a place of ease. Here the breath will calm, and the two environments of our body and the space we’re in will support us, literally sensationally! We will attune to and trust what feels good as we express ourselves authentically. We bring in curiosity instead of threats from our environment. Curiosity accesses the parasympathetic nervous system to bring ease and a feeling of stability and of being grounded. Curiosity brings empathy for what you see and for yourself in that. What you want to express will just come.
Telling is key. The way is through expressing self to the other while noticing the body and orienting. Hoping that the other experiences what you are saying. A moment of belonging happens when they seem to ‘get you.’ You feel safer now.
It’s natural! A baby learns to speak by listening with its whole body. Speaking is this embodied listening expressed. It becomes, though, a vulnerable thing to speak up as we move through life and attempt to allow in a world that is not always pleasurable.
Once you speak then, whether you’re shy or distressed, it’s important to orient immediately to what feels good to resource yourself and stabilize. The slower we do this the more we calm our troubled minds. The slowing is about intentionally allowing in the pleasurable world, being openly receptive again, and creating stability for the voice. The baby openness will return and with it your free voice and expression of your experience.
Back in a relationship with your world, aligned with what’s meaningful for you, the authentic voice becomes a compass for self, other and the environment. Compassion, awareness, and consciousness root, allowing you to grow in expression. These roots are a powerful platform from which to express who you are and what you believe.
Why does pleasure matter so much in healing?
If we’re doers, in fight, flight or freeze, the body doesn’t rest and digest. Sit in the sensory: curiosity, exploration, and discovery, then watch what happens! We slow down our animal body and are able to take things in, digesting what we perceive. We become imaginative, creative, calm, and happy. Our voices move easily. Our choices and emotions are more diverse. Our communications and relationships are better.
Look at what a voice does!
It howls, self-soothes through words, talks down an aggressor, and brings beauty in through poetry. It journals and writes emails, blogs, and letters. It advocates and tells emotional stories. It expresses through the body when open voicing is threatening (symptoms and automatic soothing movements are safer).
It empowers through engaging with education. It draws on literature, music, art, science, and creativity, psychological and spiritual thought in order to expand. Mantras provide lifelines. Metaphor is the language of the mind and soul. Direct language is for concrete things.
Through the voice, we connect with others and make boundaries. If we are wise, we will develop an interpersonal style that is truly mutual, recognising both you and me as equal.
If we are wise, we will voice ourselves
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