There is so much we’re told daily by parents, siblings, friends, school, media, faith, government, books, Facebook that sometimes we lose how we sound. Our voice begins to sound like a choir. A group of voices singing harmonies and disharmonies, and it’s so loud we scream, “I can’t hear myself think!”
“Wait, do I think mustard is disgusting or did I grow up with a mother who refused to wash a dish with mustard on it and so I decided I hated mustard for her approval?” (P.S. I finally tried mustard for the first time at 35 and discovered I love it. Not all of it. I don’t like the yellow mustard, but I love the dijon).
Choruses are beautiful but in order to be a part of a chorus you have to know how to sing your part. And even before you know the part you’re singing, you have to breathe to let out your sound. And even before that, you have to grab the courage to open your mouth in the first place.
There is a voice inside of you. Not a chorus. One single voice.
I call it your intuition because that’s what my mom called it when I was five. You may have a different name for it, and that’s totally ok. The important thing to know is you have one, too.
You might recognize him as the one you spend a lot of time talking to all day long. You might say things to her like, “Where did I put my keys? Where is my hat? Shoot, what time was I suppose to be there?” “Is that the tea kettle?” And also things like, “Thank you,” “We’re on fire!,” and “Ooooh your hair looks good today!” And yes, you may even be overheard saying to her things like, “WTF?” “You’re so stupid?” “Are you sure?” “I can’t.” “I don’t know.”
I spend a lot of time talking to my inner voice but what I have been practicing the past few months is spending more time listening. Listening is not as easy for me as the talking, but I’m starting to find out that it is worth the effort.
Need some help! Here are my tricks:
- Write. Writing is a great way to hear your voice. Wake up in the morning and just puke out anything and everything you have inside. No one is grading this. You get to be fantastical or practical, questioning or decisive, poetic or nonsensical. It is a judgement free zone. Need even more writing help, start with this, “Hi, Victoria. This is Victoria. I feel silly writing to you but I know you’re there and loving my silliness anyway. What’s up? Why do I feel so silly talking to myself?” See what comes up. Or this, “Today is a new morning. I’m so appreciative that I am up and awake. I appreciate this pencil to write. This paper to write on. I appreciate the time I have created to set my intentions for today in the best way possible. I’m excited to chase fun all day today.”
- Meditate. I know you see this everywhere and that is because technology has finally caught up to the monks from 6,000 years ago. Meditation has so many benefits and there are so many practices that I will do a post on this soon, but here is what works for me: BREATHE. That’s it. Take 20 minutes and breath. Breathe in and then breath out for double the amount you breathed in for- so breathe in for 4, out for 8. As my pal Deepak says, if you don’t have 20 minutes to meditate, take an hour.
- Walk around talking in “what if’s…” I like to play this game a lot. “What if I had the opportunity to talk to Ellen, what would I say?’ “What if I said hello to the stranger I see every day at the coffee shop?” “What if I am more powerful than I imagine?” “What if I had an extra $100 to give away today?”
- Dance. Throw on whatever music that reminds you of a joyful time and get up (if you’re able) and dance! If you can’t physically get up and move, think about dancing as you listen to the music. Your brain is an amazing machine and will totally pick up what you’re throwing down without you even having to do a thing but think.
- Walk in nature.
The trick about all of this is that you’re allowing yourself to listen as you to you.
Find your voice before you join the chorus and you’ll be better served to find the chorus that sits in harmony with you.