Five Ways to Improve Your Relationship with your Voice
How do you conceive of your voice?
For most of us, we tend to think about one thing: how it sounds.
“This is my voice! This is how it sounds. I will assess my voice on the quality of its sound.”
My journey of voice discovery has led me to develop quite a different understanding. I had to learn – the hard way – that assessing my sound, and certainly worrying over-muchly about what Others thought of my sound, was creating a very toxic situation.
And yet, our voice is so much more than sound.
The difference is the conception of our voice as the manifestation of our sacredness and whole being, rather than the relative quality of the sound that emanates through our mouths.
But we all know that there are inherent challenges in using our voices, and singing as we we would wish, and making the easeful, lovely sounds that we all long for, and communicating the very best things through music and language.
The challenges or frustrations we may face in using our voice will naturally lead to a sense of separation with, or objectification of our voice. Which then leads to a relationship with our voice that becomes out of balance, overly critical, less integrated, and more mechanical. Indeed, it may separate us from the very content of what we wish to express when we sing, and ultimately, ourselves.
Let us consider, then, how to reframe our conception of our voice. We can expand its capacity, and release the limiting belief that our voice is only equal to its relative quality of its sound.
Here are five ways in which you can cultivate a more loving, healthy, and joyful connection with relationship with your voice.
1) Acknowledge that your voice is not separate from you.
You are not a sound-making robot, and your voice is not a separate computer program running independently from the rest of you. Invite your voice to integrate with your whole being. I use this invocation: I call forth my Sacred Voice. Use your own words, as you feel inspired. Notice how this shift makes you feel and how it affects the way you produce sound.
2) Make a pledge to cease all negative critique.
I’m dead serious here. Throw down the gauntlet for yourself. Removing negativity is an instant way to clear the debris that is cluttering up your pathway to using your voice. I suggest making a pledge that goes something like: “I pledge that I will no longer abuse my voice or myself when I sing.” Words are powerful, Dear One. Especially yours.
3) Connect with your voice.
Easily one of the most powerful methods to grow the health and wellness of your voice is to communicate with your voice on a deeper level. I have a regular journaling practice that keeps me in touch with my higher self. Whenever I run into any trouble or doubt, or am unclear about a way forward, I pick up a pen and journal (or honestly any piece of printer paper lying around) and ask my voice for what it needs, what is blocking me, or whatever is coming up in the moment that I would like to shift.
4) Shift from the assessing the quality of sound to the quality of production.
My friend, you would be the most normal person ever if you are listening to yourself as you sing. I have very bad news for you: this is not beneficial for healthy, well, connected, free singing. What it will do is further separate you from your voice and add a great deal of mental noise and tension. Rather, practice allowing your focus to be on the heart-centered awareness of your Self, and then the breath. This will allow you to gain a clearer vision of what you hope to express, tap into your intuition, make adjustments in the moment, and ultimately give you the freedom to choose and create whatever sound you desire. The practice is to return to the heart center over and over and over again. Notice the way you feel about your voice as a result.
5) Assume that your voice has the capacity to work just fine.
When we do not trust our voice, or doubt our sound, we tend to jump to the conclusion that our voice is broken/ weird/ bad/ or faulty. A recipe for a toxic relationship! Please hear me: your factory settings are enough. Most likely, like any computer you have ever had, your mind has become overrun with too many files and outdated programs that affect its capacity to operate effectively. So rather than jump to the conclusion that your voice is (insert some judgment here), consider that your voice is just fine, and perhaps something is obscuring its natural light. That something is probably your greatest insight on how to move forward on your voice journey.
I invite you to consider your relationship with your voice. How could you improve the way you relate to your sound? Could any one of these points help you create a more positive impact on how you use your voice?
Your voice has so much capacity, so much depth, so much beauty to bring forth. I believe it starts with a healthy, whole relationship.