I continue to be in awe of the courage of my clients. So many who work with me are dealing with a fear of some kind and this anxiety holds their voices captive. Creating a safe place to explore is key to my/our work. Fear can’t live well where it is not fed. I offer tea and purified water but no food for fear.
What I am finding as I work with more and more people is that folks are disconnected from their breath – fear lives in those held spaces.
We begin each session with table work, a casual interaction over tea – simple yet so informative. As we talk to each other, I am able to see where they are holding, not breathing, tensing up…whatever the habitual issue is…and then, we move to the “studio” where we work with breath and grounding, holding space. Warm-ups I offer depend on the client’s needs – some are so held in anxiety that it isn’t helpful to go too fast, others need a more dynamic start – we see how it goes. We will also work with directing energy and sound outside of themselves. We will work with range too as so many come in feeling they are “too monotone” in their speech. This usually fades away as they open up more; we get a sense of sounds not used, clear the cobwebs and bring vibration to all parts of the body.
In working with a performance piece or presentation, we work with making the points and engaging with the audience. We focus on what is working and expand on that – confidence finds its way back in through this expansion, through breath. With every session, we get more and more specific to what is coming up and work through what may still be holding back. It is beautiful to witness someone coming into and on their voice. Stories later of a successful presentation or performance where they stopped worrying about how they sounded and connected more to the other person/people and what they needed to say, honors their heart work.
Yesterday, I had two clients – one was a first time session, the other was seeing me for the 5th time. Both had lost their voices in one way of the other. One literally stopped speaking in her teens for 3 years, found it again but without proper care damaged it. When she came to me (now in her 50’s), she had very little sound even, with very little self-esteem. And, yet, she is someone who left her home country AFTER college, moved to Europe alone before coming to the US where she has worked for the past 15 years at two of the top three tech companies in the US – or abroad even!
She told me about an end of the year presentation she did with all the CEO’s etc in the front row. Her boss was worried she wouldn’t be able to do it. But she knew she could. She’s been working so hard at owning what she knows, owning her wisdom, finding her voice. It didn’t surprise me that her boss and others commended her on a job well done. She has another big presentation in a couple of weeks – we will prepare next week – so excited for her!
My other client works in a hostile company where folks find various ways to put him in his place. He is a humble and kind man who knows multiple languages and knows the intricacies of his work but he is quiet and he is foreign so non-foreign colleagues think it is okay to comment in front of others on his accent or yell at him to speak up (just a few of the examples – pretty sad surprising stuff but no wonder he feels unable to speak out). In fact, he has a beautiful full voice and access to his deeper breath but he is on guard at work; so as he is held there, so is his voice. He had so many moments of full open and clear voice yesterday, I have no doubt with some practice, he will stay in ease, full breath and on voice in no time, regardless of what is coming at him – good bad or indifferent.
What an honor to get to be part of their journeys!