Finding your Voice

This Week

It’s the end of the school holidays here in NZ. For the Kiwis, what does that mean? More time with kids is a bit of a trick! If you’re ready for good outdoor missions, and baking epics, time with kids is great fun. If you’re trying to limp along your work, as your kids squabble over the computer, you’ll be counting the days.

This week’s article is from me and it is about the sound of wellness.  From years of working as a massage therapist, I came to understand that many things that are unexpressed or unsaid, get stored as undigested emotion in the body. Using your voice even without words, is the quickest way that I know to process emotions and harmonize your body. I look forward to hearing what happens when you try it this week!

In Check it Out, I have created a video about one of the biggest lessons I learned from my time as a guide on the river. If you really take this lesson on board, you will free up immense amounts of energy in your day. You can be just as busy and responsible as you are, but still feel energized at the end of the day. (It’s a lucky thing I filmed this before the holidays, because I burned my lips terribly sailing over Easter, and my credibility would have been shot for video!)

Wishing you a voice filled with love, Becky

Finding your Voice

Becky Cashman

Coyote Howl Full Moon

“Alllllllll Forwaaaaaaaard” I said in a high voice. “Um, all back!”, “Um, left back!”, “Stop!!”, “Forwaaaaaard!!!”, “Goooooood”. To which my Kiwi guide, Craig said, “You can use your voice better.”

It wasn’t just that I did not have very good voice control in my first year as a raft guide at age 18, it was that I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen in any particular moment, and therefore my voice reflected that tension. The only thing that I said, that sounded sure of myself, was “Goooood”, which drove Craig crazy. Far too Southern as in American Southern for him.

These were the early days of finding my voice, learning how to convey a plan in clear language that motivated and re-assured my guests, that I did in fact know what I was doing.  Eventually I did find my “guide” voice, which went through many versions from unsure newbie at the beginning, to authoritarian, to bossy, to super hero, to coach, to teacher. Each stage of the guide voice reflected my own comfort and progression as a guide, and also the version that each crew responded to best.

The voice reflects only truth. This shows up particularly clearly in stressful moments. You cannot reflect in your voice what you do not already have in your being.

It wasn’t until years later that I discovered singing, namely singing outdoors. In this discovery, I have learned that the voice is not just a reflection of what is, it is also a doorway to creating a harmonious state of being. Singing outdoors became one of my main outlets for surviving the transition from guide/therapist/decently dedicated outdoor person to MUM. It was not an easy transition for me. It’s not that I did not enjoy being a mother, loving Helena was more than I ever could have anticipated. It’s just that becoming a mother changed me in ways that I liken to having my DNA recoded, definitely not a comfortable transition.  It was my voice, as a connection to something larger and more loving, that guided me through.

You don’t have to use any words at all, or know the lyrics of any songs, it’s just sounds and rhythms, coming out in whatever form they choose.  I often sound like what I think I would sound like if I was American Indian. Ay, ay, ay, ay.  Sometimes I howl, yes, really. Somewhere along the way I usually end up chanting, in particular Om Namah Shivaya which is from the Siddha Yoga tradition. Invariably I end in a completely relaxed and harmonious state singing a song of gratitude. Can you believe that? From basket case to gratitude in approximately 15 minutes? Better than a glass of wine, chocolate or any other recreational relaxation activities.

I think of singing outdoors as a kind of meditation. Certainly, many spiritual traditions use singing or chanting to open the heart and enter higher states of being. Singing opens up the throat chakra, our energy centre of expression. What was being bottled up in the body as a load of emotion unexpressed (which will eventually lead to dis-ease), becomes free and flows through as it is sung. Singing becomes a way of witnessing what is happening in your body, and most magically, a way of digesting emotion. What can you do when you feel angry? Go outside and sing about it. What can you do when you feel sad? Sing. Ultimately, the voice transports you to and then heightens a feeling of connection.

According to ‘All Together Now’, the following are some of the reasons singing is good for your health. They all sound good to me!

• strengthens the immune system

• reduces heart rate and blood pressure

• reduces stress

• improves posture

• increases lung capacity

• tones diaphragm, abdominal and intercostal muscles

• helps build concentration, memory, and listening skills

• builds self-esteem and confidence

• act as an anti-depressant

Have you ever sung outdoors? If you find that idea challenging as you read that, maybe even your throat closed up a little at the thought, then you would benefit HUGELY from giving it a go. You can start very softly, it does not have to be opera style! Once you’ve found your voice, you will be amazed at all the ways your life opens up to your expression.

What do you think? Will you give it a go?

image from: http://goodshare.org/wp/rant/ a post about the power of voice- thank you!
 

Becky Cashman

Becky has worked over 1000 days of commercial river guiding from difficult to family float trips.  It was as a guide for Funyaks on the Dart River outside of Glenorchy that she formulated & tested (with the help of all the guides!) Goodbye Sandfly.  After 8 years of working as an NZ registered massage therapist, Becky “settled” down to be a Mum and run Goodbye Sandfly.  She lives in Kerikeri with her two children & husband John.  While she has lost her taste for adrenalin (mostly!), the outdoors continues to be her source of inspiration. She is absolutely crazy about Love, good food, outdoor kid adventures and natural wellness.

From You

Re: Blind Juggling article by Barry Friedman

“What a brilliant article, amazing guy… He writes so well – reading it now, laughing out loud and reading out excerpts!!” Jules

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