Riding Your Voice

Riding Your Voice

First, I want to apologize for disappearing for the last month. I had rotator cuff surgery and still can barely type at the computer.

Rehab has given me a new relationship with my voice. I want to offer it to YOU as a way to help get through mental or physical pain and suffering. The image that came to me one day when I was moving through the pain that occurs when I move my arm, is that I can ride my voice like a horse. Sounds crazy, huh?! Okay, like a fierce warrior, I straddle my horse and ride my voice out of my body and into the light! Still crazy?

As I open my mouth and begin to sound or sing, I feel my spirit moving through me and connecting me to something greater that holds me. I can do this while I’m doing painful shoulder exercises, in the comfort of my own studio.

What kind of sounds do you make, you might ask? I find two kinds of sound most helpful. First, angry sounds that have a nasal edge are excellent for moving through physical or emotional pain. The intensity of the sound can meet the intensity of pain. Another way to put it, is that the energy you create in sound can meet the pain that you are experiencing, and help to diffuse it. Continue reading »

Break Out of the Box!

What’s YOUR box? What box are you keeping yourself in? Do you want to get out? I do! I want to get OUT of the box! And who’s keeping me in the box? What exactly is the box?

Get it right.

Be polite.

Don’t do anything rude, God forbid!

Look good at all costs.

Sound good, look good!

Be nice.

Somebody might not like you if you’re rude or not nice! You might offend someone…That would be bad! You can’t do that.

What are these ideas that keep us from fully embracing all of who we are? These are beliefs. They are core beliefs that have been around a long time. They form when we are children in response to the values in our families of origin and cultural expectations.

So, how do we break out of the box? Here’s an image: The Karate Kid knocking down the WALLS of the box! Seriously, how do I grow bigger when every time I start to step out, the WALLS step in, arms crossed and a voice booms out: ” Where do you think you’re going?  Do you really think that’s a good idea?  Somebody might not like it. You might make a mistake!”  There’s a good one. A mistake! Oh no, I might make a mistake!

But, anyone who has ever gotten out of the box knows that it feels GREAT! It’s all about giving oneself and others permission to simply break out — dare to make a mistake, sound ugly,  look frumpy, be honest.

 

Today’s Exercise: Give Yourself Permission to Get Out of the Box

A Writing Exercise: What keeps you in your box?

I’d like you to take 2 or 3 minutes and write down what keeps YOU in a tight and narrow box?  Close your eyes and listen for the voices that respond from inside when you ask yourself: What keeps me in my box? The answers may sound silly to you, but you’re not here to judge. Just listen and take notes. You’ll get to know more about your core beliefs.

 

A Sound and Movement Exercise: Step In and Out of Your Box

Now we’re going to move our bodies because our bodies are very busy keeping us in our box.

Find a safe space where you can move and make a little noise without worrying about the neighbors. Easier said than done, I know.

Begin in a standing position, close your eyes and notice your body in it’s resting posture.  Simply notice the tension that you hold in your body. For example, your breathing may be shallow, your knees locked, jaw held tight, one hand in a fist, holding it all together.  We’ve got to keep it all together, after all!

Now move from there to a more expansive place, simply by stepping forward, opening your arms and allowing the breath in.

Then, move back to the box and feel into the more held or constricted places in your body, pull your arms into your body. How do I hold myself? How do I keep it all together?

Then, step forward and open it up, feel yourself smile and allow the light in, open your chest, your arms and your heart. Allow the  space around your heart to open. Let go of your jaw, your tongue, and your eyes.

The final step is to add voice. In the first more held or tense posture, speak out loud: “Stay in the box!” Then, as you open your arms and allow life to flow in, say “I’m getting out of the box!”

Move back into the box, exaggerate your muscles tightening them into a ball and say “You’ve got to stay in the box!”

Then again, allow the breath and feel your chest expanding as you open your arms and walk around your space saying out loud “I’m getting out of the box! Yes!” Celebrate your bigness.

And once more going towards the familiar place of holding it all together. “Stay in the box. We’ve got to keep it all together. Be prudent. Stay safe!”

And finally, with a karate kick, knock down those walls! “I want to break out! I’m getting out of the box! It’s about time!”

Go for it!  What can you say to yourself that will give you permission to get OUT of the box today?!

 

Just Open Your Mouth and Say AAAAAAAAH!

Let’s face it — life can be downright scary! It can be SO scary that it takes your breath away. I mean it — it literally takes your breath away. AND it takes your voice away too! Now, that’s a problem. We all have the right to speak! So, how do we get our voice back when fear has swallowed it right up?


Principle #1: Check in with your body

Finding your voice starts in your body and your movement. When your body can move and let go of tension, your voice can move.

I’ll tell you a quick story. I was in a conflict with a friend, and I became aware that I was rooted to the chair — frozen — unmoving. I willed myself to get up and walk across the room, without needing to say anything, just taking care of myself. As soon as I moved across the room, the breath and movement shifted my position in our conflict. I had moved away from the intense field of energy that I felt sitting two feet away from one another. Then, I was able to connect with myself, feel my body and think a little more clearly.

For many of us, our body is as shut down as our voice, so it may not be easy to access the wisdom that your body holds for you.  I’m going to give you a few ideas today about how to get your breath, body and voice moving.


Today’s Exercise:

Please note, if you feel yourself getting triggered — going deeply into a frightening memory — come right out of the posture. Shake it off. Look around the room, and tell yourself ‘Everything is fine right here, right now.’ In this case, wait to do the exercise with a friend or therapist.


Step 1: You can do this seated in a chair or in a standing position.

Visualize what you imagine your body’s response to fear might be. Let your body feel just a bit of that feeling. You might pull back slightly, tense up, tuck your head — take on a posture to protect yourself from harm.

Step 2: Now, this is where fear meets voice head on! Sit up tall or if you’re standing, take a strong step forward and simply open your mouth and say a  powerful AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So, this is different from when the doctor says “stick out your tongue and say AH”. This is using your voice to energetically clear a path for you to re-engage with your life in that moment.

Step 3: Take a moment to close your eyes and notice the impact for you. You might feel excitement or energy moving in your body. You might feel the strength and courage that it took for you to meet the fear head on!


I recommend that you repeat this a few times, and practice it in your life when you are feeling afraid of something. Obviously, you’ll want to do it in private. The car can be great for this sort of thing. Try it! Sure, it might feel goofy, but it’s a simple tool that you can use to empower yourself. Go for it!