Lately, I was a bit upside down with everything that happened in the world. It made me think about who we are and how we live together in this society.
Today, as owner and vocal coach of Sparklin’ voice, I have a message for the world: When we pay more attention to our voice and how we speak, would it be possible to create an (even) better world?
When we speak in front of a group or talk to individuals, we always want to move, convince or understand the other(s). Most of the time our main focus is on the message itself, the words, the structure of our speech. We are less aware of how our message really sounds and resonates. Often we forget to pay attention to the way we use our voice, while that is exactly the key to authentic communication. Our voice is, similar to a fingerprint, a clear image of who we really are.
Is it strange that we forget our voice and its awareness when we speak? Absolutely not!
Just look around and notice that the focus of our western society is merely on cognition, ratio and knowledge. In fact, that is good. Our society is built upon that knowledge and science and we would never have reached this point where we are now, if it wasn’t for that. And yet… In this society, where knowledge is king, we have “forgotten” the awareness of our body and intuition. The system is out of balance. That’s why we have to face a lot of “chaos” at several levels in our world. We have lost contact and connection, not only with ourselves but also with each other, society and nature.
The amount of people with burnout is high. People break down because there is too much pressure on their shoulders. Almost every time the body has given signals that it was suffering, but the mind hasn’t picked those up or just ignored them. In schools we see a huge amount of children with learning disabilities. The focus is almost always only on knowledge. However, more and more children have another way of learning. Luckily, there is a trend for alternative learning and focus on skills too, yet there is almost no attention for creating intuition and/or listening to the body. Besides the burnouts and the learning disabilities, our western society shows an increase in diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, autism, etc. They show us that knowledge and cognition are no longer the one and only way of living and communication. We need more attention for and awareness of our body. Back to basics! But how? Let me tell you that our voice and sound can be key to that…
In my practice as vocal coach, I see people who mainly live in their heads, who think and “feel” with their brain instead of their heart (note: this is not an assault, just an observation. Most of the people in western societies live in their head. I have been there too, living in the comfort zone of my head). We focus too much on our minds and thoughts and forget to listen to our body. The larynx is the part that connects body and mind. It also contains our voice and so by training our voice we can reconnect. I am convinced that the voice plays a crucial role in the re-awareness of our body and strengthening our inner power to reconnect with ourselves and others. Through this inner power we will create new ways of communication and possibly also new ways of living.
Most people are not aware of the use of their voice and create pressure while speaking, which pushes the larynx up. When we speak in front of a group or at a place with a lot of noise, we tend to use even more pressure. So our voice sounds high, shrill and not always nice to listen to. Over time we risk that our voice gets tired, sick or stops. In my practice I let people become aware of their voice and sound. Through stimulation we really experience the body and listen to its sound. We try to involve the whole body, muscles, breath, bone structure, etc. to free the voice. Thoughts and judgements are also part of the body research as they often create pressure as well.
Where can there be space, in body and thoughts? Our measuring instrument is our voice and its sound: they react immediately. The sound becomes louder, deeper, has more energy and a natural vibrato and brilliance.
What really is amazing in this work, besides the fact that you have everything always with you, is that you also take good care of your complete body by speaking in a state of awareness. Speaking (and singing too) is nothing more than moving your chorals through breath. They will vibrate… and through the larynx, the connective tissue, veins system, you are able to feel the vibration in your skull as well as in your little toe. Speaking is like giving your body a massage.
Speaking freely and in a state of awareness also touches our personality, our thoughts, emotions and feelings. The larynx (throat chakra) is the place that contains all emotions. When someone is really emotional, their voice reacts immediately. It sounds different or it disappears. I also notice the consequence of judgement on the voice. One of my clients recently told me that she didn’t like the sound of her voice… That intrigued me. Through her sound we searched for the source of this judgement. We also asked her what would happen if she would leave this judgement behind and pretend it didn’t exist. And wow, the voice reacted immediately. Her new sound gave me goosebumps. This was really her! Neither of us could figure out how we managed to do this, our ratio could not understand, but the body and the sound did. It showed us the strength of our body. Let us be aware of our emotions and thoughts and take it into our speech. It makes us stronger and brings us closer to ourselves. Only if we pay enough attention and care to ourselves, our inner strength, we come closer to who we really are. Through this we will find freedom and speaking becomes the sound of who we are. When we are connected to ourselves, we can openly connect with anyone else.
Everyone has a voice, everyone can speak. It’s good to become aware and spend time on this instrument and listen to the way we sound. During the vocal coaching ypu wil learn to listen to yourself, to your voice, sound and body.What do you hear? Wat do you feel? What do you want? When you have learned to really listen you will always choose for your self. It may sound very simple, but it takes real courage to do this: really listen, dare to speak; dare to sing, let go of old concepts and beliefs, to find your sound okay,… I am convinced that it is this same courage, that encourages us to re-think also other parts of our lives, makes us taking risks and let us move forward. This connection with our body strengthens our inner power, gives energy and makes it possible for us to create an authentic connection (with ourselves and others). At this point we can really move, convince and understand. If more people would be aware of this, I think we could make our world an even better place.
To fulfil my mission, I coach individuals in my practice Sparklin’ voice. Together with my clients I investigate how to free their voice so they can speak and communicate authentically. I also host workshops and lectures. I do this at home (introduction sessions), but am also available for schools and businesses. If you want to know more, please contact me.
Katrien Van Geystelen