Our ancestors had no concept of talent or ability when it came to singing. They sang without shame or fear, in full confidence that the human voice is simply designed to be heard. Pre-colonized peoples used singing as a tool for healing, devotion, emotional expression, celebration, group cohesion, spiritual connection, bonding, and ritual.
This is hundreds of thousands of years of your evolutionary history.
Today we adhere almost completely to the skill-based performance paradigm of singing. "Real" singing is professional, produced, and perfect. If you call yourself a singer, you mean that you are a performer. Opportunities to sing our hearts' songs and express ourselves through our voices no matter how they sound, especially as a community, are few and far between.
I believe that reclaiming singing as a natural human behavior is essential to personal and planetary healing, but there is more...
Conscious Voicework is a vocal expressive modality that combines psychology, spirituality, therapeutic sounding, and communal singing to confront and heal our personal experience of dissociation from our own truth, as well as the silencing and shame that we have collectively inherited, in order to bring our medicine to a suffering world.
Singing is by nature liminal. It is created only through the joining of breath and bone, of psyche and body, of spirit and soul, of silence and sound. Through the very act of singing, we are reminded that we exist in these in-between spaces. The voice is evidence that we are at once a body and more than a body. In Conscious Voicework, we let go of ideas about being good or skilled at singing and instead let our voices teach us. Singing in an embodied and conscious practice opens doorways of self-inquiry through which one’s own shadow and light present themselves. Voicework lays bare the places inside that need love and then nourishes those places with the very love they seek. Welcoming the voice into the body and coaxing out its fullest, most free expression teaches us to trust our emotions, thoughts, and instincts as valid. Through specific voice practices, we stop making ourselves palatable and allow ourselves to be heard, in power and in truth.
The voice is a natural outlet of expression and part of our bodies that we filter, hide, alter, misuse, distrust, or perfect in order to stay safe from rejection and judgment. When we take back our voices and their potential, we stop filtering, rejecting, and perfecting ourselves. By sounding wild, we practice being wild. By sounding imperfect, we practice being imperfect. By welcoming all the sounds our bodies can make, we begin to welcome all of ourselves back home.
On top of the myriad healing benefits that a regular singing practice can offer us, a Conscious Voicework practice can give us insight into where we are hurting, when we have been silenced, and whose voices we keep hearing in our heads. We can then take the step to choose to be heard, notice where it’s difficult, and have the courage to investigate those disturbances. Why is it hard for me to be really loud? Why do I fear making mistakes? Why is it embarrassing to look someone in the eye when I sing? Why do I freeze on the high notes? Why do I cry when I talk about my voice? How does it feel in my body when I vocalize my truth? How does it feel to bring acoustic shape to what is happening in my body in the present moment.
It doesn't matter if you consider yourself a singer or not; if you unlock the voice, you unlock the person. We use practices that open us to the integration of all aspects of the self, including the parts we'd rather not face. We learn how to take up acoustic and physical space as the fullest expression of who we are. Conscious Voicework takes us down into the body to welcome the shadows, up to connect with Spirit, and out to freely and courageously speak our truth.