5 ways to reclaim your voice 🗣️

Hi, friends!

Yesterday I shared an experience on Instagram that got a lot of warm responses so I figured it must have resonated and I'll share with you all as is, typos and all, in the spirit of "screw perfectionism":
Because I am an odd duck, I was thinking later about what even prompted me to blurt out my weeklong creeping on that tree to this stranger on the street. And all I could really come up with is that I saw it, and it just felt like the truest thing to express in the moment. I love that tree! I needed to sing its praises!

Like, yes this Airbnb is lovely but really it's gorgeous to me because of its surroundings. There was a time in my life I would feel jealous, inferior or striving for such a home, but my individual truth on this very day is that I see through all of that and understand what I really care about isn't the window over the kitchen sink or the clawfoot tub or the travel trinkets or the smart layout or the endless dreamy backyard with a playhouse and a hammock and a bunch of BOATS, but the fact that in October, the lawn is coated in golden poplar leaves and the squirrels here are ginger-colored and well-fed. They seem happy. I am, too. Nature is for all of us. And in my inclination to point out that tree to my new temporary neighbor, I think I expressed that truth. And we shared a really beautiful moment as a result.

The yoga practice I'll lead this evening is focused on the throat chakra, which is symbolic of the expression of our creativity. While the sacral chakra is about cultivation of creativity, the throat chakra is about actually putting our voice into the world. I love the way that Ethan Hawke describes it in this video. He reminds us that expressing our creativity is how we heal each other:

"The thing that worries me sometimes whenever we talk about creativity is that it can have this kind of feel like it's just nice, or it's warm, or it's something pleasant. It's not. It's vital. It's the way we heal each other. In singing our song, in telling our story, in inviting you to say, 'Hey, listen to me, and I'll listen to you," we're starting a dialogue. And when you do that, this healing happens, and we come out of our corners, and we start to witness each other's common humanity. We start to assert it. And when we do that, really good things happen."

I know that in the times of my life when I've felt particularly out of balance, it's because I'm muting myself. I might be swirling around with a lot of ideas, but not actually putting them to paper. Or I might have a lot of solutions but be afraid to vocalize them because they are not "mainstream" or I'm not even sure if they are good or will work. I might be trying to "keep the peace" or "align with my tribe." I might be too heady about it all, and too bogged down in perfectionism that getting my thoughts out into the world feels burdensome and scary because I know it won't be quite right.

But like everything in this life, thank goddess, there are ways to practice fine-tuning our voice. And it's definitely a practice. 

In light of that, I wanted to share five check-in's that I've found helpful for myself when I feel like the "mute button" is on:
  1. Journaling. I'll ask myself, when was the last time I journaled? This is a terrific technique for sorting out messy internal narratives that are probably not at all even based in truth and will make more sense on paper — or not, in which case you can more easily dispel them. I think in many ways this is a better technique for self-inquiry than meditation (both great, but in tandem very great) because so often our thoughts/emotions are simply too complex to understand within the confines of our brain/body.
  2. Social media. A great question to start with is, when it comes to my social media posting, how much am I expressing myself in reaction to things I am against versus things I love or admire? I think for many people, social media is their central mode of self-expression, and that concerns me. It concerns me because of the nature of the platforms themselves (divisive, echo chambers), but it also concerns me because too many of us are leaving ourselves vulnerable to instant feedback for that expression, and many of those people may not deserve that access. Most of us — by dint of the technology and social expectations — have really porous boundaries as to who we let in for our self-expression online. Boundaries are really powerful. The creation of boundaries is a form of non-violence.
  3. Talk to unlike-minded people. This might feel like it contradicts the last point but I'll explain. Talking to real actual people 1-1 can be a really powerful exercise in developing empathy and also more firmly rooting in our own truths, because it is a more pure and more biologically intuitive way of communicating. We simply haven't been communicating long enough as a species in our writing/social media posting so we aren't that good at it yet. It lacks context, it lacks facial expression, it lacks a lot. This one may be harder to do given pandemic considerations, but if you have the chance to, embrace it.
  4. Singing. I often have to check in and see, when was the last time I chanted or sang (in the shower, in the car, in the middle of a forest, anywhere!)? The om chant is also a great one to use and practice.
  5. Pay attention to your throat-space. I try to do this both when I feel pretty balanced and when I don't. Simply notice that area of your body. How's your throat, neck, shoulders feel? Tight, constricted, painful, open, spacious, icky, fine?  Then, the next time you are compelled to maybe speak about something you don't like, or maybe when you want to raise your hand and speak up on a call but you get cut off or you just don't speak up, notice how that area feels after. Familiarize yourself with the bodily effects of speaking versus not.
When we don't take time to practice self-expression, that expression is going to build up and bubble over, and it's probably going to do so in a violent way. It's going to come from a place of defensiveness and fear rather than security and self-knowledge. That may be external, through hateful words that we later regret. Or it may be internally, leaving us questioning our truest selves.

So please, give yourself and the world the gift of your voice. Dig firmly into what you love and express it fully. Fall in love with something you saw? Point it out to someone. They probably needed to see it, too.


PS - Please vote.

~ Virtual Yoga Offering: 7-Week Chakra Series ~

If you haven't been to any of these, that's OK, you can still join! Last week's flow was on the heart chakra and you can find it here.

TONIGHT - Tuesday, 7pm ET on Zoom:
Join for yoga at this link:
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Content Recommendations 📚

💭 A common tactic that is used by politicians and maybe all of us when we're out of balance personal voice-wise is something called the red herring fallacy. "A red herring is a piece of information that's meant to distract people from something important in a misleading manner." // Effectiviology is a great newsletter I'm always learning new stuff from.

🎤Mariah Carey: ‘They’re calling me a diva? I think I’m going to cry!’ // The Guardian. How could any round-up about voice be complete without Mariah Carey? "“No offense to doing interviews, but what would be the point? I can’t articulate it better than I already have [in the book]. From now on, I’m like, ‘Please refer to page 29,’ you know what I mean?” LOVE.

👥How to have a disagreement like an adult // NY Times. Deepak Chopra says, “disagreements exist as a place to start negotiating.”

💸Why am I afraid to sell? // Anna Codrea-Rado. I feel this so so much. And as someone whose now back in the freelance/contractor life, I relate even more. I recommend Anna's newsletter, as well.

🤦Why we have to say "you're muted" so much // Viget

Retreat for the Spiritually Curious 🏜️

If you need something to look forward to in 2021, we have just the thing. My friend and co-host Catherine and I are leading a group of women through a 5-day retreat experience in Sedona, Arizona — and we'd love to have you with us!
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