I’ll never forget the day the president of my graduate school, Aftab Omer, said these words. It was as if a window in my psyche had been flung open allowing the sunlight’s brightness and warmth to come in and nourish me. How often in the past I had felt diminished by limiting my expression physically, emotionally and, of course, vocally. Why? Goodness that is a loaded question!
Perhaps it was because I was hesitant to rock someone else’s boat, or I felt the moment was too constricted by politeness and propriety to let myself go, or maybe it merely had to do with my own feelings of inadequacy with regard to my self-worth. Whatever the reason, I knew in that moment when Aftab spoke those words my life would never be the same. Since then my life’s work has been about helping people find their own true authentic voice—to eliminate the blocks that tend to get in our journey toward vocal freedom and to find the courage and strength to step into the Truth of their Voice.
Fabienne Fredrickson in her widely acclaimed book entitled Embrace Your Magnificence states that “unexpressed emotions turn toxic in the body”—“that they affect us on a cellular level” (113). When that happens, we feel held back—that we take on a passive or victim role instead of a more freeing, proactive one. In other words, unexpressed feelings eat us up inside and eventually turn us into angry, sad and ashamed human beings.
That is not to say that every time I feel like attacking someone I do just exactly that. On the contrary—now whenever I feel the need to express myself, I do so with joy, exuberance, humor and care for those who may be listening either directly or non-directly to what it is I physically and/or vocally have to “say”. There is no guess work involved. Everyone ends up on the same page, as it were. Rather than feeling attacked or set out upon, others now hear and see where I am coming from, they tend to be more receptive than resistant. In other words, it’s not so much about them as it is about my true feelings.
Clients I have seen over the years often complain of such maladies as unexpressed grief, or anger, or even joy, for that matter. They speak of being misunderstood, or ignored or undervalued as a person. Thus, one of the ways we work together is to find an avenue by which they can give their soul permission to be fully expressive. It’s hard work, and it’s rarely easy, but it is worth every laugh, cry, scream, sigh, hiccup and belch as we travel together toward vocal freedom and the soul’s liberation.