About 15 years ago, I shuffled into a dusty historical building nestled in downtown Santa Cruz and met a woman who helped change my life.
That cool and sunny California fall day was an average one, but it was the beginning of my relationship with “voice” in retrospect.
Voice is everything. Voice connects our inner core with the outer world.
How we present our voice is that persuasive factor in the most potent of situations. The confidence in our voice could be the determinant of earning a higher salary, avoiding a hostile situation, or setting an essential boundary in a lifelong relationship.
Our voice bridges us with our deepest desires.
My first few private voice lessons were intimate and produced a heavy stress response, ruffling my nervous system. My dry throat and rapid heartbeat went to battle with my worthiness in efforts to release something remotely beautiful.
Session after session, we practiced call and response style warm-ups and breathed deep into the diaphragm. All that singing moved energy and released embedded trauma from deep within.
After a few weeks of singing privately, I was encouraged by my teacher to join her women’s song circle. I was intrigued, yet terrified of opening my voice in further context, now with a larger group. I was happy and safe in my cocoon and wanted to resist expanding beyond this newfound comfort zone.
I felt like I was starting all over again.
Sitting in a circle, surrounded by pillows and faces illuminated by soft light, songs were drawn from ancient cultures and offered a simple yet profound sacredness. Once our voices were adequately warmed, we began layering simple harmonies and rounds.
Glancing around at others while singing felt super strange and awkward, but transformed into a loving and supportive connection in time.
I grew more grounded in song, this time rooted within the community.
A few months later, my teacher offered me an exciting opportunity to sing with her choir, “Yala Lati.” I said yes without pause, wondering if I would be able to perform in front of large crowds.
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Standing bejeweled with glittering scarves, arms tightly linked with my singing sisters, I looked out among the sea of beautiful faces of our community.
I looked through the crowd and met eyes with Ben, who was just a toddler at the time, perched on my husband’s lap. I could see his little mouth moving and eyes wide with wonder. Nothing had ever felt that magical.
Singing has become my life’s work.
Voice is a powerful medicine with the potential to carry us through times of pain and move happiness into visceral joy.
We all have a voice inside that begs to be honored, cherished, and expressed.