It’s the last month of the year. A time, among the many celebrations, that we often begin to take stock of what we accomplished over the course of the year and compare that with the intentions we set around this time last year. But what if we considered a different intention? One that has its foundation in “Being” instead of “doing”. Looked at in this way, the question changes from ‘What did I accomplish?” to “Am I the person I desire to be?”.
Recently, a young client, a popular local vocalist, was referred to me by her physician with the diagnosis of small vocal nodules. Vocal nodules are common among singers and after reviewing her heavy performance schedule it was no surprise that she developed them. The physician advised vocal rest and recommended therapy to learn vocal hygiene and ways to use her voice that would prevent recurrence. The diagnosis, though relatively benign and typically easily resolved, triggered deep anxiety for this talented young woman. Not uncommon when working in the realm of voice. This is because your voice is deeply connected to your self-perception, and in my client’s case, her livelihood and passion. She developed an extreme fear of using her voice and returning to the stage after an embarrassing incident that occurred while attempting to perform with acute nodules. This was the catalyst for seeking help.
Initially, she seemed extremely relieved when I explained that her prognosis was excellent and that with self-care and a few minor adjustments in the way she produced her voice she could quickly return to the stage and look forward to a long singing career. But that’s where the story took a turn. When I suggested ways in which she could sing as powerfully and authentically but with less strain, she became quite defensive. She was a self-taught singer with a beautiful voice and seemed to hear my instructions as criticisms instead of helpful. I believe it triggered a deeply held belief of unworthiness and no amount of my empathy, encouragement nor explanation could bridge that belief with the help that was being offered at the time. Eventually, she looked at me upset and bewildered and said: “I don’t like this and I don’t know why” and then politely said “goodbye” and left the session. She was not quite ready to address all the related emotional issues that were unexpectedly coming up for her as a result of this easily treatable physical diagnosis.
I tell this story because when you are addressing issues with your voice, it is often the tip of an emotional iceberg. One that touches upon unresolved grief, anxiety and deeply held negative beliefs that you may have been avoiding for years. Often, changes in your voice are a warning signal and a calling for self-care. It’s a gift, really. An invitation to bring light and healing to past pain. It offers the possibility of personal freedom. But it takes great courage and a readiness and willingness to accept the invitation.
While this particular client was not quite ready, I have no doubt she will eventually accept the invitation to heal and resume her successful career. I have served many clients who have experienced personal transformation by deciding to let go of false beliefs and own their true voice. It’s a beautiful journey. One that I am always humbled to be a part of.
So as this year draws to an end, ask yourself: Am I the person I desire to be? Is my voice representing my true self? If not, it could be inviting you to let go of all that is holding you back and to step into your personal power and freedom by honoring your voice! Are you ready?