Leah Campbell Badertscher, All Rights Reserved
If you have been following me awhile, I'm sure it is no surprise to you that I believe Art heals and is soul work. But what I experienced last week at a small workshop with a man name Frank Kane, a master voice coach, affirmed these beliefs in a different and deeply profound way. (more on that in a bit....)
I also believe that art, in its many different mediums, is able to be different mediums of energy, thereby affects different aspects of the human spirit and even has the capacity to touch, activate, and evokes different aspects of human fullness. So, for example, talk therapy can be awesome for many things, but talking cannot often touch a place that poetry, music, visual arts, story, are able to. We too often "think" we are just our thinking minds and forget the depth and many dimensions of us - art touches and awakens and helps remind of us of these dimensions of ourselves (and art can go beyond to healing, nourishing as well....but these are different blog posts for a different time). But suffice to say for now this is not an airy-fairy concept. It's real. And that's one of the special powers of creativity and art - channeling the intangible (which too often gets discarded as "airy fairy") and creating something spiritual that resonates through our physical selves.
The soul of the artist comes into greater fullness when creating in this way, and, too, the soul of the beholder can be beckoned to rise up as well. I also witnessed this in action at the workshop I attended last week. I don't want to be melodramatic, but the word that comes to mind was, "miraculous." (again, more on that in a bit...)
And so, "Your voice matters" has been a theme that inspires my art and often times comes through in symbolic and literal ways.
It was a theme very much alive in the painting I did above for a remarkable woman, Angela Lauria, whose work - whose art- is to liberate the inner artist/author of her clients and help them bring their message to the world.
Until last week, I thought I completely understood this message, "your voice matters." Of course I know I needed for myself to believe that what I have to share, my creativity especially, with the world matters, that I'm not just "an extra," and I also strongly feel that part of my mission is to inspire and empower other people to own, liberate, and share their own creativity/voice. I'd been thinking about voice in a very symbolic sense, interchangeably with creativity.
I'd often sensed there was a piece I was missing, I just couldn't quite (ironically) give voice to it. Particularly it would come up at times when my creativity wasn't flowing and I could feel that I was holding back and dimming down. I could feel it in a tightness in my heart, chest, throat, head, neck, especially on my left side. Over two decades of mind/body experience and over a decade of exploring all kinds of energy/body/healing/coaching/therapy work, over a decade of teaching yoga, five years of coaching, and I am well-versed enough to know what was likely going on and I did plenty to heal and release the constriction in this area. It had become a focus area of inquiry for me, not only for myself but especially because many (almost all) of my coaching clients have expressed experiencing something similar - feeling that the essence of what they are and the energy that they have to share is so much bigger than what they are currently sharing with the world. I've heard it said that pain is the difference between how you are in the world and who you know yourself to be. I've found this to be very true and it's one of the reasons I am so passionate about helping others unleash their creativity.
Almost all of us have heard the saying, "Don't die within your music still inside of you," but almost all of us would also love to do that but something within us seems to be standing at cross purposes with that. So, it was an incredible gift to attend Frank Kane's (beautifully hosted by a lovely artist I met recently named Ali Warner) workshop and not only witness the truly masterful way he helped to liberate the powerful, resonate voices of the other attendees (in a very short time) but also to experience this first hand for myself. I'm realizing this post is already running long and I know I'm not going to do justice to the experience in this one post, but I wanted to start.
What struck me maybe most of all was the way I was, in a very real way, deeply affected by hearing/experiencing the full, true voice of the participants. I felt - no, I knew- I was in the presence of someone truly sacred and holy when I heard their true voices (Frank would say that there is no "authentic" voice, so I would describe it as there being so much more of THEM, of their essence, their soul, filling up and filling out their voice).
The experience was that of bearing witness, through the experience of their voice, the breath-taking magnificence of a human being. And one of the realizations that has had me just dumbstruck as I've been mulling it over since, is that we always really are this sacred and holy and powerful - and it is so close to the surface, so ready to be called up, evoked, released...and we are the ones that hold it back, because, just as Marianne Williamson said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. It is that we are powerful beyond measure."
I've long loved this quote (even my own personal mission statement was greatly inspired by it), though I will admit I've also held some skepticism about it - I long to come into the fullness of who I am and to do what I came to do - so why on earth would I fear my power?
But when it was my turn, I got to experience the absolute truth of this. When Frank asked what I would like to focus on, I had a thought of holding back what I really wanted and instead saying, "My speaking voice. I've always been told my voice is so quiet, so that." But I'm glad that instead I just, blushing beetred and all, asked for what I really wanted, even though it seemed over the moon.
What I said was:
"I've always so, so admired singers who can really belt it out. Women like Adele, Aretha Franklin, Florence (from Florence and the Machine). And I also heard a woman speak once who spoke with an energy so powerful and great that my bones were vibrating - she reminded me of Martin Luther KIng, Jr., but more powerful as herself. I feel like I've got such a big desire to belt something out like this, but my voice always seems too strained and small."
What Frank said was:
"So, you feel like your energy is much bigger than what you're currently allowing your vibration (voice) to be?"
So then he asked me a few more questions and then we went to work. Again, too much to explain here, but it was one of the most incredible things I have experienced. Me. Unleashed. My own voice, for the first time ever, maybe. And that was just the beginning. My mind was blown. (And I always love it when the spirit pulls off one of those... :)
So you. You sense you have more in you. You're not imagining it. Stop discounting it. It's true. You have so much more in you. And it is sacred and holy and powerful and healing and the world is waiting to hear and feel the magnificence that is your voice. So, sing, write, dance, build, make love, raise your families - whatever dream is calling you, straining against your throat and chest, wanting to break out - belt that song out. In whatever way you can, just keep going until you feel that soul-satisfying, "now that's more like it" feeling of belting it out.
Your voice matters.
More than you can know.