“Once we can tap into the inherent wisdom of our own truth and give it voice, we often have an experience of liberation and joy.” - Suzanne Sterling
These challenging times have been the catalyst for many of us start taking responsibility for our actions, educating ourselves, healing our wounds and more boldly awakening our courage, fierce resistance to destructive practices, and our willingness to put ourselves on the line for ALL beings and the earth.
But we need tools; we need practices to help us know when to go within for self regulation and when to step out into action. We need practices that we can utilize when we feel overwhelmed, scared, unable to focus and short of breath.
While the practice of yoga can help us tremendously, many of us often forget to use one of the greatest tools for self regulation that is available to us —our own voice.
I was raised in environments that were chaotic and unsafe for a number of reasons including numerous moves, divorces, alcoholism and abuse. I did what I could to find safety and soothing including running away and disassociating when running wasn’t available. I still have moments when these ways of coping seem to be very strong in me and I am grateful that I can now recognize them and either act on them or choose a different response to my experiences. I also remember some powerful moments when I would find a place to be alone and make loud sounds to release the feelings that were so strong inside of me. I would then make soothing sounds that could bring me to calmness immediately. It turns out that I was onto something!
Humans are very sensitive, much more than we think, and we are constantly receiving vibrational information through the instrument of our bodies.
We are like walking antennas picking up signals and responding in each moment, and our bodies hold all of our experience as an energetic signature.
In the modern world, many of us are energetically (and certainly informationally) overwhelmed and this is causing much of the anxiety patterns that we see around us.
Humans are made to express what impacts us. If we do not express what impacts us, then we hold onto negative experiences as stress or unexpressed emotions which over time can become tension, injury and disease. Many of the most common coping mechanisms such as addiction, depression, anxiety, disconnection and isolation are due to long term buildup of stressful impacts and little or no way to respond or process.
The practice of Somatic Experiencing demonstrates that discharging (or rinsing) these stuck energies from the body can be extremely effective modalities for recovery. This discharge can be physical (shaking, stomping, etc.) but it can be even more effective when sound is included because sound vibrates us from the inside out, moves stuck energy patterns and strengthens vital life force.
On a purely physical level, when we move energy through the body and the voice through practices like yoga, movement and singing, we help to remove blocks to the natural life force (prana) and increase our ability to heal and respond creatively to life. In nature and in human bodies, a healthy system is one in which the energy is moving. When we remove stuck energy or habitual and calcified energy signatures, the body naturally responds by bringing itself into a state of resonance and healing. Just as sounds are vibrations that can deeply affect matter, self-expression is one of the keys to healing. We can use our own voices to remove blocks, awaken the body as instrument and respond to our lives with the full range of our emotions, life force and creativity intact.
Humans are uniquely hard-wired for expression. Throughout history cultures have created specific times, places and rituals that allowed for the primal human impulses and emotions to have conduits for expression. We had times for grieving, for expressing terror and anger, times for celebrating and coming together in community.
We had rites of passage marking the ages of our lives, rituals that gave us ways to understand the human experience in the broader context of the mytho-poetic and universal truths of being alive. But through religious and cultural oppression and colonization, perhaps driven by our need to control the wildness of nature both within us and around us, the natural forms of human expression have come to been seen as dangerous at worst and silly at best. Mechanistic thinking and controlled behavior has taken precedence over the intrinsic wisdom of the body and has served to suppress the very thing that has the power to help us be whole and to feel connected to each other and the world. We have come to overvalue that which can be "proven" and measured over the forces of mystery, magic and imagination. As a result, our expression and creativity are suppressed, devalued and seen as accessible only to professional artists, rather than the birthright of all humans.
I meet so many people who do not feel that they have the right to express themselves.
A large majority of people that I meet have been told at some point that they should not sing or even speak their truth. Many of us were raised in environments of violence, fear and excessive criticism and some of us would even now be unsafe if we spoke and lived the full truth of who we are. When we are unsafe, or when we internalize external judgment, we can shut down completely, we can become afraid to be seen and heard in any way and we are forced as self protection to silence the very creativity of our soul. If we live within this self protective silence we may be safe, but we may also be unable to feel the full range of our experience and the inherent creativity that is central to all humans. With no expression allowed to move from inside us to the outside and loss of a way to connect to others, we may even lose our ability to experience true intimacy.
Part of the healing available to us in finding our voice lies in understanding the idea that living truth is a creative act. In order to truly find our authentic truth we must go beneath the conditioned thinking of our particular upbringing, and take on the challenging work of healing the wounds and cycles of violence that we inherited or were forced upon us.
Once we can tap into the inherent wisdom of our own truth and give it voice, we often have an experience of liberation and joy.
When we express and create, and especially when we do so in community, a level of healing and connection becomes available that can assist us in becoming powerful voices for change in the world.