Finding Our Voices
Updated: Jan 13
It took a long time for me to be willing to release my third book, Healing with Spirit. Sharing these spiritual/esoteric experiences in such a public way challenged deep childhood fears. But as I worked to heal, I gradually became willing to be vulnerable, and to simply be "me" in the world.
For many of us, becoming really comfortable with expressing ourselves requires some healing. Often, we must unwind constricting patterns in our thinking and behavior as well as develop confidence and stability in order to allow ourselves to be more fully seen and heard. In this post, I use the story of how I literally found my voice to demonstrate this type of transformation.
When I was nine, my parents took me to my first musical at the local high school, and I boldly proclaimed that I was going to have the lead role when I got there. That never happened. As a freshman, I had a panic attack when I tried out to be an extra for The King and I and couldn’t make it through the audition. I was in many productions after that but always embedded in a pack of girls.
I stopped singing at age eighteen, and focused on my education and career. At age forty-eight, I joined a choir. Soon afterward, I began working with Cris Law, a voice instructor who is highly intuitive, to help me heal from pelvic pain. He could sense where I carried tension in my body, and he encouraged me to breathe deeply, to release tension and my emotions, and to express myself. At first, I tensed up even during our private lessons, but gradually I began to relax and sing.
Over the years, my voice got louder and stronger, and on seven different occasions the choir director asked me to perform short solos. Each time, I became anxious, the tightness and pain in my body flared up, and I had to back out of the solo.
Nine years into healing, I was again offered a small solo, this time for our choir concert. The following week, my pelvic-floor muscles went into a major spasm, and I could feel my anxiety ramping up. I decided to record my voice to help me produce the sound I wanted. I also found my old voice memos from previous solo attempts on my phone. Every time I listened to a recording, I could hear my internal judgment and the fear in my voice.
Suddenly, it dawned on me: I fear judgment, but I judge, too, both others and myself.
I was so desperate that I asked for divine help, but nothing seemed to change. Then a thought came into my mind: Help is available, but you have to let it in. Calm down, get grounded, and consciously open up. As I did this mental exercise, tears and emotions welled up, my rear end and calves suddenly relaxed, and I felt more weight-bearing through my feet.
During the concert, I was standing on the risers and looking out at the crowd when I felt my fears of failure and judgment escalating. But standing there, I also saw two women sitting next to each other in the front row whom I had treated in the prior month using holistic bodywork. Feeling my connection to them and to the loving, expansive part of myself that had been expressed during their treatments, my body-mind calmed down. I was still nervous, but I performed my solo in a clear, strong voice and without missing a note or a beat. It felt like a personal miracle!
Almost a year after this experience, I was asked to sing the melody of the song Unwritten while the choir sang the back-up harmony. When I first sang the song, I picked up on all the discouraging messages around me. No one in choir encouraged me, and later when I practiced at home, my daughter and husband commented how my voice was nothing like Natasha Bedingfield’s (the singer who originally recorded the song). But I also knew that I didn’t have to be her, and it didn’t have to be perfect. The song’s uplifting message was important to me, and I wanted to use my voice to share it. That desire was now stronger than my fear of failure.
After the service, four women approached me. Two of them told me that they’d felt the joy in the song, and upon hearing it, they’d cried. Another woman asked to hug me and told me she could feel my energy. Yet another told me that the change in my voice was remarkable and she felt the power of it.
For me, these experiences are about more than just singing or performing a solo. They’re also about expressing the most elevated parts of us, our highest notes. When we recognize our fear of judgment, both from other people and from ourselves, we have an option to change. There is support all around, but we often have to open up to receive it socially, personally, and spiritually. When we gently challenge our constricting, fearful mindsets and grow in self-love, it is possible to more fully express ourselves. Love flows through each of us in a unique way, and as we heal or grow in awareness, we allow this love to be freely expressed.
💜≈ This story is an excerpt from: Healing with Spirit. Heightening Spiritual Awareness to Nurture the Body-Mind-Spirit.