Finding My Voice

Good Morning from the Mountain

It’s a wild and stormy day.  I feel the the landscape is being exfoliated by lashings of sideways rain and sharp winds.  I expect that there won’t be a leaf left on the on the trees when I finally brave the elements and stick my head out the door to go and walk the dogs.  So we are huddled up inside with mugs of tea.  This type of day I think, naturally gives rise to turning inwards and to introspection.

Each spring when the sap begins to rise in the trees and in my bones, I write down an intention for the year ahead.  This year my intention was to ‘Share my Voice’.  I hadn’t been writing as much as I used to, or as much as I like to, and I was becoming grumpy and cantankerous as a result.

But to share my voice, I had to find it.  As so much in my life had changed, I wasn’t really sure what it was, that I wanted to write about.  So I undertook a course of study to find out.  I decided to spend a year exploring the heroines journey in relation to place and landscape and belonging with an English academic well versed in Celtic Mythology.  The learning did not come from the course work itself, which turned out to be quite drab, but from standing up to the tutor who was being quite condescending to some of the women taking part.  As a habitual people pleaser, it felt like I was making progress, the tutor however was not impressed, I was a “disruptive influence”, not a blossoming heroine. So we parted ways.

I have found that the path through life is never linear.  While looking for another course of study, I stumbled across a woman who was a Storyteller, I was intrigued.  She was Irish.  She knew the stories of our ancestors and she knew stories of women who had overcome obstacles and done amazing and wonderful things.  I was transfixed and enchanted and scared.  The kind of butterfly scared that you get when you know something is calling you, but it is going to require a big ole stretch.  So I stretched out to her, and asked her if she would teach me storytelling.  And she said ‘Yes’.

There is an old Hasidic proverb: “Give people a fact or an idea and you enlighten their minds; tell them a story and you touch their souls.”  Through learning about storytelling and connecting with the stories, I touched and connected with a beautiful and long forgotten part of myself.  But my voice was caught in my throat said my Storyteller, we needed to find a way to let it out.

It was time for the next bend in the path. Singing. Yikes!!

As a child, a music teacher told me to be quiet because I was out of tune.  And for a long time that’s exactly what I did until as an adult I decided enough was enough.  So I took some singing lessons to leave her and her criticism behind.  But I could never quite shake it off so even though I sang again, I sang safe, not venturing anywhere near notes that might stretch my voice, making it go ‘off’ or out of tune.

So I found a singing teacher that liked ‘off’ notes.  In fact she loved them.  Those off notes were for her an invitation to explore your soul.  They were doorways to places not previously explored.  So we sang our way out of my safe zone, we gave breath to and expanded every place I thought I was out of tune, and then quite surprisingly when we were singing and laughing and merrymaking, I found it, my voice.  And it was beautiful, because it was me.  It was a hologram of the whole.

So as I’m sipping my tea, I’m smiling, in awe of the journey I have taken as a result of writing down those, ‘share my voice’, words.  I have been peeling away layers of inhibition, stepping beyond those places where I had been keeping myself constrained. I used to think that being uninhibited meant that you were reckless, maybe that is why we often see it as a bad or dangerous thing.  But for me it is a freedom, to be the fullest expression of myself.

As a result I am singing, and dancing and laughing and I’m generally a whole lot more relaxed.  And I’m writing, daily.  It’s different than before, because like storytelling and singing I am exploring places that I was previously afraid to go.  I have no idea where it is going.  But like everything else so far this year, it’s fun.  I have spent far too long, walking the hard path.  I’ll keep you posted!

Much love,

Catherine x x x

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