Every once in a while, someone will ask me about how to find their voice. That elusive quality in their communications that would have people say, “Now that sounds like you!”. My short answer: “The voice is the soul in motion.”
That usually pulls them up short. Then I share more.
As a baby, I discovered my voice by just opening my mouth and letting loose with whatever sounds emerged. No searching required. My voice was as natural as breathing. But as an adult, my mind complicates everything. I can so easily disconnect from any organic impulse to express myself in my attempts to be responsible, to take everything into account, to look good when I communicate.
Finding my voice as an adult hasn’t been easy.
Consciously putting my self out there. In the world. For everyone to see. It feels like the most intimate and vulnerable thing I may do in this life. My personal ongoing test of courage.
When I studied singing as a young adult, I’d get hung up with breathing and wanting to master the physiological processes involved with making sound. I wanted to understand what’s happening. All that thinking got in the way of connecting with the natural rhythm and ease of my baby self. I didn’t find my ‘sound’ in my first year of studying singing. Or the second, or the fifth. I eventually gave up the idea of having a professional career as a singer. Throwing caution to the winds recently, I tried singing gospel…and discovered once again how easy it is to just breathe, open up and let sound flow through me.
When I first started writing this book, I would sit with my thoughts for long periods of time, thinking and rethinking what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. I wanted to be clear and thorough. I wanted to see myself as a brilliant thinking being. I’d grade myself on how well I captured my thinking in writing. All that thinking about my thinking got in the way of the natural flow of my thoughts. I choked on my writing. Until I shifted my focus onto just breathing and allowing the thoughts that wanted to flow through me to show up on the page.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it feels so much easier now to speak my truth in conversations than even a few months ago.
So be patient with yourself. And steadfast in your commitment to express yourself—straight up.
“The voice is the muscle of the soul.”
In the end, your soul will have it no other way.
This blog post by Shae Hadden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Photo credit: Flickr, Steve Alexander.