All posts tagged Voice

The Gift in Adversity

I just returned from being in England over the past few weeks. On a professional level, it was an excellent, full on time performing and teaching, moving my projects forward, meeting great people and finding out more about the world and myself. But what I learned was beyond all of this. The day after my first show at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in London, I developed severe laryngitis. This may seem like a tragedy for one who uses her voice to perform and teach. But for one who has made a promise to the spiritual path, I know that the universe has an amazing way of keeping us honest and on path. Adversity is nothing other than a gift in disguise. As I allowed myself to soften into the physical and emotional discomfort I felt having absolutely no voice, I found myself inundated with memories from what seemed to be a past life memory in London dying of consumption (tuberculosis). At that time, my lungs were full of fluid. I could not breathe, and I felt silent in my ability to voice feelings of powerlessness. In the present, what lingered was resentment of having died in a state of sorrow. So I welcomed these feelings as part of healing my laryngitis. However, my memories did…

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Ask Parvati 37: Feeling Under Attack – Part 4: Giving Voice and Making Changes

(Continued from “Understanding and Compassion“) I woke up this morning with the words in my head: “Illness and injury are a call for needed change.”  I have been going through some big personal changes this year, and clearly this was a voice from my soul reminding me to keep on that path of transformation. We don’t need to experience painful situations in order to grow, but often, we do end up going there. When we get colds, we know we need to slow down and take better care of ourselves. The same with physical accidents. But so too with personal injury. When we face difficult people, it is important to not take another’s state of mind personally. We have no control over what others think or do, or how they behave. All we can do is let people know how we feel and ask kindly for them to stop if what they are doing is hurting us. But if healthy dialogue is not possible and changes do not happen, we may need to look at deeper changes we may need to make in our life. Perhaps, when we face challenging people and situations, we are reminded to make changes in our life. Perhaps the toxic supervisor reminds us that we really don’t like the work we…

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Ask Parvati 29: Art As Soul Food

ART AS SOUL FOOD Dear Parvati, I have been thinking about creative expression and how not all expressions are expansive. I recently had a pop song stuck in my head (Adele’s “Someone Like You”), and realized that the song is just glorifying the idea, amplifying the energy, of remaining stuck holding on to something instead of moving on with life. Then, last week I was in a shoe store and I heard Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro”, and while it was catchy, I also felt a strong sense of unease in my body at being exposed to these sounds, and was deeply relieved to get out of there. There are other artists whose music makes me feel good, like Eva Cassidy or Chicane. Your music feels really good and nourishing to me. Some classical music feels good, but not all. Good energy doesn’t seem to be tied to the genre of music or even to the words (there are songs with apparently positive messages that feel deeply uncomfortable for me). So how do we know when a work of art of any kind is nourishing our spirit? How do we know when engaging with a song or other work is taking us off path? And how do we know when our creative impulses are in service to the…

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Ask Parvati 23: The Voice – To Speak Or Be Silent? Part 5: When To Voice, When To Be Silent

PART 5: WHEN TO VOICE, WHEN TO BE SILENT (Continued from Part 4: Gauge The Stage) Every day of our lives, we are faced with many choices, whether to flee or to face, whether to voice or to remain silent. There is no quick and easy answer as to how to find our right voice. We learn that to voice is an unfolding process. Giving voice is central to my spiritual path and a root reason for my personal being. So my life feels like one big experiment in voicing. As with all experiments, we find great teachers, we go through the ups and downs of trial and error where hindsight becomes a powerful ally. Finding our vocal power is connected to finding our authentic expression and our place in the world. As such, it is part of growing, maturing, becoming wise. There have been times that I have given voice when in hindsight, it would have been wiser for me to remain quiet. And the opposite has also been true, when silence weakened me and I allowed it to hold me imprisoned. But there are few times that I regret what I have chosen to do, whether I chose to speak up or to remain quiet. I don’t believe regret brings us anything other than…

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Ask Parvati 23: The Voice – To Speak Or Be Silent? Part 4: Gauge The Stage

PART 4: GAUGE THE STAGE (Continued from Part 3: Authentic Communication: From Goo to Grammar) We are social, expressive beings. We need to connect. We need to touch, to laugh, to wiggle, to create as part of our inherent state of being. But finding out how to express in a way that helps make our message heard is a skill to be learned. How to express in way that is considerate yet not repressive is a point of contemplation. To express with trust, care, honesty and clarity is something most of us need to learn. How many people give an honest reply when greeted with “Hello, how are you?” Our quip response is usually “fine” or “not too bad”. But what if we replied honestly, openly? Generally when one asks, one is not asking for an in-depth dissertation on how we are doing. We must gauge the questioner’s intention by observing their vocal tone, their mood, their presence and answer accordingly. To answer honestly and be sensitive to the questioner’s intention is a skill we learn. We have all met people who when you ask them how they are, they go on and on. We have also met those who, when we ask them how they are, we can just tell they are not being honest.…

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Ask Parvati 23: The Voice – To Speak Or Be Silent? Part 3: Authentic Communication, from Goo to Grammar

PART 3: AUTHENTIC COMMUNICATION: FROM GOO TO GRAMMAR (Continued from Part 2: Sounding It Raw And Real) Much of our developmental information happens in our wee, early years. Before the age of one, we have set up bio-dynamic patterns in our body and psyche that set the stage for our adult life. Before we are able to articulate words, we are sputtering, goo-ing and making all sorts of sounds. During infancy, our bodies are fresh, unencumbered by cerebral tensions. Expression as a means of feeling connected to the raw life force flows through us as toddlers. As we grow, we learn to put things into sentences and form ideas. In that process, a filter is placed over our impulses as we learn to interact with others and socialize. We learn what we can do and what we must not do in order to get the support from our surrounding that we need to survive. Though we may grow up to be healthy, responsible citizens, we may have lost touch with our inner impulse, our soul voice, our connection to the primal force of “being” versus controlled thinking. We may hear the phrase “to give voice” and immediately think of speaking. But words are only one part of our daily sonic communications. Clicks, pops, pursed lips, parted…

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Ask Parvati 23: The Voice – To Speak Or Be Silent? Part 2: Sounding It Raw And Real

PART 2: SOUNDING IT RAW AND REAL (Continued from Part 1: Soul Confusion, Vocal Tension) Think about how much our mouth alone moves during the day. Then think of all that is involved in making vocalized sounds: our pumping lungs and all that is involved in breathing; the opening and closing of our throat and all the mechanics in the mouth and through the vocal cords; the way we hear through the incredible world of the ear; and the way we feel and respond, our sense organs being like an immense woodwind instrument, responding to the winds of life that blow through us. Singing for me is part of my spiritual path. I have said, since I was a child, that I felt most alive and connected when I sing. Through sound, I feel I touch something huge, beyond my active mind, beyond cerebral words. I continue to explore, on my vocal journey, the extraordinary power of the voice that ranges from non-verbal expressions to melodic singing. For me, the process of giving voice is both humbling and powerful. But giving voice is by no means limited to singing, and making pretty sounds. The voice is capable of an extraordinary range of sounds from the guttural to the angelic. As a therapeutic tool, the use of…

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Ask Parvati 23: The Voice – To Speak Or Be Silent? Part 1: Soul Confusion, Vocal Tension

THE VOICE: TO SPEAK OR BE SILENT? Dear Parvati, I am having difficulty knowing when to speak up or remain silent about what I feel. I experience this confusion with things that make me feel uncomfortable and with things that I like. I thought that perhaps you, as a singer, may have some insight about the voice and how to know when it is a good time to use it, or when it is best to keep quiet. Thanks. PART 1: SOUL CONFUSION, VOCAL TENSION “That” person is coming into the room! Your heart suddenly races. You feel pressure in your head. Your cheeks flush. Your mouth dries and your throat automatically tightens. You feel panicky, sweaty, weak-kneed. With your heart speeding, you feel short of breath. There is something you want to say. It is stuck, like a lump in your throat. You try to speak. Your mouth is wide open, but there is no sound. Suddenly, you wake up. This is just a nightmare. Or is it? Some dreams reflect back to us aspects of ourselves that we dare not yet see. Many people dream of trying to speak only to find themselves feeling trapped and  unable to find the words or the means to express how they feel. Some people experience that kind…

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