Finding Your Voice Through Transformative Singing June 5, 2013 • 2 Comments “The voice is never just the voice. It’s the way we express how we feel about ourselves. It’s a powerful psychological instrument connecting our inner and outer worlds.” –Helen Gary Bishop, Vocal coach and adjunct professor at New York University’s Department of Culture and Communication I mentioned in a previous post that being in front of a camera is difficult for me, and judging by the emails I received, I am not alone in this fear. Many of us seem to shrink from being seen on certain levels. You might imagine, then, that speaking in front of people makes my knees tremble and, as such, I have avoided it all my life. Where having a photo taken makes me cringe, public speaking makes me nauseous. In spite of this fear, my dear friend somehow convinced me to attend a Toastmasters meeting with her last year. As I sat there, all I could think was I would NEVER be able to stand in front of these folks and speak. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Then a funny thing happened. I went back. Had you been in the car with me a couple of months later, driving to my first prepared speech, you would have thought I was headed for the gallows: dry throat, shallow breathing, full fledged panic attack. I spent the entire 20 minute drive talking myself in and out of going. No doubt I resembled a lunatic. Miraculously, I gave my speech and lived. Most of the comments reflected that I was too quiet and needed to project, which made me incredibly curious. Shortly thereafter, I came across an article about voice coach Helen Gary Bishop in the October, 2012 issue of Elle Magazine. On expressing one’s authentic voice she says, “It must come from within. If we don’t have a solid idea of who we are, and what we’re saying, and what we want to represent, our voice will keep giving us away.” In that vein, I am now exploring the next level of “most feared activities in humanity”: singing. Out loud, in front of people. Real, live people. This is not because I want to be a singer (although, truth be told, I wouldn’t mind singing like Adele). What I’m exploring is called transformative singing. It aids in quieting the inner critic. It helps to build confidence. And, it allows you to open up and be more receptive to joy. It is about finding your true, authentic voice. Honestly, the past three years have smacked the life out of me. I am in search of a way to revive myself and reconnect with the person I am inside, the frightened one that I stowed away long ago for safe-keeping. I simply can’t afford to live in fear any longer, for both my mental sanity and for financial reasons. I resisted this singing business. I came up with excuses and I procrastinated. Finally, I attended the weekend opening of a transformative singing workshop and it was nothing short of incredible. The most difficult part was not standing up to sing in front of the group, although that was hard. The tricky moment for me: having to stand and make eye contact, while the group applauded me. This is supposed to be a simple exercise in learning to receive. It turns out, I have a hard time receiving, which I was a little surprised by, but apparently most of us find it easier to give than receive. As I stood there in tears, the leader explained to me that this is common for people who go through traumatic experiences. When you are carrying so much, trying to keep everyone else going, there is a tendency to close the heart for protection. Ouch. Yes, my heart needs to be opened, and I think perhaps my voice is the way in. It is an eight-week program, so I will let you know how it goes. So far, it has been a very heart opening experience. If you are interested, check it out here. Mick and Tess are incredibly gifted at their craft. In the meantime, I am sending you encouragement on the road to healing. May you align with your authentic voice and be a force of light in the world. -db Who is Dianna Bonny? Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.