A Whole New Meaning to “Finding Your Voice”

Macaw © Ryan Pike | Dreamstime.com

© Ryan Pike | Dreamstime.com

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. — Maya Angelou

MY FRIEND MESHA recently returned from six years in India, where she studied spirituality and healing with a swami. She lived in an ashram and studied at the Soul University.

Now that she’s back in the Western world, and now that she’s making moves to offer her spiritual knowledge and healing skills to the general public, she’s been talking a lot about needing to find her voice.

At first when she would say that familiar phrase, I didn’t connect with it. After a few times of hearing her say it (and of me asking what it meant to her, since she’s not a writer), I realized I had grown immune to the magic of that phrase. I realized I was missing a journey I could be on, just because I’d been over-exposed to those words.

I purposely started letting those words penetrate me more deeply. I started having epiphanies. I (re)discovered it means a lot more than what we usually mean when we talk about it in reference to working on a manuscript.

I discovered that finding your voice can mean remembering to go back to a form of expression you once loved but that you stopped doing. (I wrote about that last month in Busting the Old “Who Do You Think You Are?” Tapes.)

I discovered it means helping others find their voice in unexpected ways. For instance, Mesha and I have been working on a brochure to promote her services where we’ve been constantly refining and simplifying the message, so it will speak to the people who most want or need it.

I even had a mystical experience where my throat—the physical place where we “find our voice”—felt activated and more alive. I wasn’t trying to do that; it happened when I thought I was focusing on something else.

(Which reminds me how determined a message can be to get through once you decide to make the opening for it.)

There’s more, but I think that gives some good examples of how the most obvious things become profound again just by looking at them in a new light . . . or outside of the accustomed “genre,” so to speak.

I’ve decided to create a new category for this blog called finding your voice. If you’ve had any relevant experiences lately, let your voice be heard! I invite you to write a guest blog post to share your self-discoveries with our readers.

8 Responses to A Whole New Meaning to “Finding Your Voice”
  1. Annie Neugebauer
    Twitter: AnnieNeugebauer
    September 4, 2012 | 6:44 PM

    What an interesting idea. I, too, am jaded towards that phrase; I’ve heard it so much in reference to writing that it scarcely registers anymore. But you raise a good point. I look forward to seeing the new posts in this category!

    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      September 5, 2012 | 1:22 PM

      Annie, thanks. I was a bit relieved that someone else could relate to being jaded on that phrase. “Scarcely registers” was exactly the reaction I had the first few times Mesha said it. And then I woke up and felt shocked that I could be so blase about such an important thing. I’m really glad she kept saying it until it finally penetrated my filters.

  2. Estrella Azul
    September 5, 2012 | 10:54 AM

    Thank you for the reminder, Milli.

    I have that quote by Maya Angelou on my inspiration board, and think it’s a shame we’re so immune to that phrase “finding your voice” after a while.

    But you know what comes to mind now? Last December when all the writers of Milliver’s Travels have written a Christmas article. I absolutely loved/still love how our voices shine through there!

    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      September 5, 2012 | 1:32 PM

      Awwwww! That is so sweet! Thanks for reminding me about that special time at Milliver’s Travels. It really was precious the way everybody’s unique voice came across while writing on the same theme.

      I’ve also seen that same phenomenon many times in my writing circles when we all use the same writing prompt from my book but everyone writes it in their own inimitable way. Hearing all the stories being read aloud after the writing segment really helps increase self-acceptance, especially when it happens every week over a period of time.

  3. j
    September 5, 2012 | 12:12 PM

    Love this post, Milli. Love when old things – phrases, places, artifacts – get seen with new eyes. Like Annie, I’m looking forward to future posts in the “finding your voice” category!

    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      September 5, 2012 | 1:33 PM

      Thanks, j, glad you liked it! 🙂

      I’ve got my first guest blogger lined up and she will be writing about getting back in touch with a form of creative expression she once loved but had stopped doing. I’m looking forward to hearing her story.

  4. Carole
    Twitter: cjtreggett
    September 5, 2012 | 12:37 PM

    Yay, what a marvelous idea for a category, Milli!

    Right after reading this post, I was outside in my backyard thinking about it all, when a bunch of birds hidden in the trees started communicating in a very unique chatter, something I don’t recall ever hearing before!

    I’ve been thinking A LOT over the past week or so about what you describe as “remembering to go back to a form of expression you once loved but that you stopped doing.”

    I’ve enjoyed returning to daily journaling/writing practice over the past few months, and I know realize I need and want to go back not only to listening to music, but picking up my acoustic guitar again and writing/playing/singing my own songs 🙂

    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      September 5, 2012 | 1:40 PM

      Wow, Carole, that’s kinda magical about the birds doing that unique chatter right while you were thinking about something triggered by this post. Especially given the bird quote and the macaw image.

      I chose the macaw image to help strengthen the “finding your voice” vibes for myself and everyone who comes here to read the post. One of the messages from Macaw is

      “You’re going to notice a shift in your communication abilities that prompts people to pay attention and listen more closely to what you have to say.”

      I’d be more than happy to receive that effect! I also felt it was appropriate given the way I had to wake up and really “hear” what Mesha was saying instead of glossing over those words because they sounded too familiar.

      I loved what you said about enjoying your reconnection with journaling. And how exciting about your desire to return to your guitar playing and singing/songwriting! Can’t wait to hear more about it!

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