The Muscle of the Soul

Roy Hart

The soul demands its full expression. Couple that principle with Roy Hart’s infamous quote, the soul is the muscle of the soul,” and what you have then is an invitation to fully express yourself emotionally, cognitively and psychically (body, mind and spirit).  Yet, as well we know from holding ourselves back from full expression, the safety to do so often eludes us.

The desire to appear smart, witty, “together,” and spiritually “with it” gives us a kind of false courage to vocally venture forth. More often, however, it is more the desire to avoid public humiliation at all costs which controls us from giving ourselves completely over to the compulsions of the soul.  In fact, it is usually when we feel “out of control” that we allow ourselves to vocally effervesce and allow soul its moment in the sun.

However, when we are invited to feel safe, nurtured, and supported, amazing results can occur with regard to vocal expression. We can speak, sing, sob, chant, pray, wail, intone, laugh and hiccup ourselves into a state of deeper recognition of who we are as sentient and sacred beings. When the soul is full, it begs to overflow. Damming it only causes us to either spew forth uncontrollably or bury our desires deep within the abyss of our shadow selves, perhaps never to be encouraged to come forth again.

Thus, we seek those containers of security or tell ourselves they cannot be found, and thus we suffer. In my own life these communities/containers built upon mutual respect and encouragement have been found primarily in the theatre, in group therapy, in small groups of like-minded women, and in effective ritual. I have both led and participated in such rituals and have found them to be liberating in every sense of the word.

My prayer is that each of us finds those avenues of community where our soul will be encouraged to give forth its full vocal expression so that we all may find more joy, more meaning, and more understating in both our individual and collective soul-enriched lives.


Voice as Our Birthright

Voice as Our Birthright

I am not sure as to why working with the voice is so compelling, but I think it has something to do with man’s spiritual self and his emotional expression as a living, breathing and feeling human being.  That moment at birth when we ingest our first breaths and exhale on a wail or a cry gives evidence that we are alive an sell and have truly landed on planet earth, where we are frightened, sad, angry, in pain, or so overwhelmed by the birthing experience, we know little else to do.

Voicework conjures up that most primal experience of going from the warmth and security of our mother’s womb to the freedom of separation and endangerment.  We are indeed most vulnerable when freshly extracted and the umbilical cord is cut, sending us out into a world brought with excitement, wonder and trepidation. We are at once thrown into the world and made separate from our mother’s internal protective care. Perhaps it is at that moment that we come to a realization (at least on the subconscious level) that we are a singular human entity, no longer dependant on another for nourishment, security or salvation. I suspect even a subconscious acknowledgement of that inevitable fact is enough to force us to cry out with the first exhalation of breath.

“I am!” bespeaks the birth cry, whose meaning is deep and ancient even if it does not reside in cognition as yet. I am resounds from the root of our being: the darkest, deepest and most chthonic region of the human body. This profound connection between the voice and our mortality stays with us the rest of our lives, whether or not we find we have forgotten it.