Feeling Free to Sing

by Johanna Fredericks

I had an amazing and very empowering experience a couple of weeks ago. I experienced something that I hadn’t done in my life, until now. I sang while driving in my car, with my mum next to me, without any inhibitions. I felt free to sing.

It was so amazing for me to feel this freedom in singing as I had basically lived my life since childhood avoiding any singing, especially in front of people, at school and in groups. The sad thing was – I love to sing.  

Growing up, from a young age I was told by those that I held dear to me that I had a terrible voice. I very quickly identified myself as a bad singer, which greatly suppressed my expression. I was being judged from what they thought a good singer consisted of and because I held them dear I thought that what they said must be true. I was told that I couldn’t sing and I felt my voice become harder as I grew up. I felt that I sang in a hard way (maybe to fit into the label that had been placed on me) and even the way I spoke took on a harsh nature. I was told that I had a terrible voice like my dad and that my mum and brother had good voices. The fact is that my voice and my Dad’s voice were just different; lower and deeper, but not bad.

Recently I participated in a group workshop with Victoria Carter. I felt very safe and supported by all the people at the workshop because I could feel that it was a place to be honest, open and where I would not be judged. It was also very playful and I felt held in love. At this workshop we felt our bodies and our voices. We compared how these changed when we were present with ourselves versus when we weren’t. Basically we felt how our choice to connect with ourselves magnified throughout our body, which then became our expression, when we spoke and sang. After a little bit of sharing, some observations, a few ‘ooo’s and aaahh’s’, we then worked as a group, making sound. Now the amazing thing is, it wasn’t about the sound or achieving a note or being the loudest or most perfect – it was about our connection and how the sound felt. I felt free to sing… and it felt GOLDEN!

I discovered that when I am connected to myself, without letting the beliefs and ideals of ‘how singing should be’, my voice is then free and sweet and strong. When I was younger, part of me played the game of being identified as the one who couldn’t sing. I was told to be quiet and even that I would get paid if I stopped singing. Soon I learned to use this as a manipulation tool where I would say “If you don’t do that, or give me that, I will sing”. So sad, and horrible….. I know. I could even say that I further hardened my voice as I grew up to make sure I fitted this label.

But with my experiences with Chris James’ Sounds Wonderful workshops and Victoria Carter‘s True Expression Workshops, over the years I have learned to slowly let go of theses filters, beliefs and ideals. For me, trust and feeling safe was a big thing. Their gentle and loving approach really supported me to claim my voice as an amazing tool of expression: a tool that expresses from what is already lived in the body. Singing for me now has a playful memory attached to it.

So as you can see, for me to freely sing in the car next to my mum was huge, and the beautiful thing was that because I didn’t allow all the other stuff to be there – it wasn’t even in my thoughts, then there was no room for it – my mum and my daughter (who loves my voice and we love singing together) both sang with me.

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

229 thoughts on “Feeling Free to Sing

  1. As children, we all love to sing but it is when we grow up and get told that there is a wrong and right way to sing that we tend to hold back, especially if we believe them to be true. How often do we hold back in fear of being ridiculed or when we gain too much attention? Singing is a form of expression and it should be fully utilised to communicate the joy we can feel and instead of holding back or use our voice for performance and recognition.

  2. Feeling free to sing in our fullness without worry of any judgment is a beautiful experience as it is all part of our expression and as we express from the heart it can be felt by all around us, no surprise that you Mum and daughter joined in.

  3. When I am connected to my body and sing from there, my voice has a easiness to it and I can feel the presence within and it feels lovely in my body. When I am up in my head judging how my voice sounds, as I have done most of my life, being told from young I could not sing, there is a tightness in my throat as if my voice is stifled.

    1. I love your discovery Jill, in connecting to your body and singing from there. How much do we and the rest of the world miss out when we hold back on fully expressing with our voice due to judging our voice to be good or bad?

  4. The singing voice is an interesting one for me. I was always told I had a good voice and became very self-conscious because of it. It is only in recent years that I have learned to enjoy my voice and to express myself freely. In fact I feel that a lack of self-expression has caused me to have low self-worth and even depression in the past. Learning to express ourselves is very liberating and healing – and a joy-full thing to do.

  5. Our voices say so much about us. What I have come to learn – similar to Johanna’s experience shared here – is that when we allow ourselves to sing freely and with the fullness of our being, then we start to enjoy our voices and enjoy singing with others – even our mums when in the car.

    1. Matts, you’ve reminded me that nature doesn’t hold back expressing its innate beauty, it doesn’t have any issues with expression but humans do, hence why we have such disharmony, devastation, war and conflict, all related to holding back expressing our divinity, God’s light. Nature is obedient to expressing God’s light yet most of us fight this constantly.

  6. My feelings are, that when we sing from our hearts the vibrations that are both within and surrounding us change to a higher frequency, which cannot but be supportive to our overall health and wellbeing.

  7. Any judgement is a terrible exercise in brutally reducing another (or oneself) one to a point we make it as light-less. That made to a being that is all about light is a terrible offence.

  8. “I felt that I sang in a hard way (maybe to fit into the label that had been placed on me)” – this is a great nomination. Some ‘casual’ statements come laced with judgment that seems to trap and freeze the subject and can be like a life-long curse. It is very beautiful to feel you being freed from that.

  9. Thank you Johanna for sharing your experience, we shouldn’t have to have a so called perfect voice to be allowed to sing, because singing can be such a joyful experience. I noted too in the workshop that you experimented with singing from the body and also when not connected to it, a good reminder for me to experiment with this also.

  10. I love all you share in this wonderful blog Johanna, as I very much relate and my feeling is so will many others. I took on the belief I could not sing, when someone asked me to stop singing as a child, but the snowball effect was that I suppressed my expression and withdrew into myself as a result. I have also attended workshops with Chris James over the years, and had a one on one session, and slowly and surely I have allowed myself to sing and have enjoyed this so much as I felt how much I was letting go of those old voices.

  11. It is so true that when we are free to sing, it is a joy, and it is also so much fun to share with others. In-truth for me singing is sacred, in that it is an opportunity to express our connection to our divinity, as such a celebration of who we are through sound. The beautiful thing about singing is that we all have a naturally beautiful voice that expresses that quality of who we innately are and the joy it is to live in connection to our essence. Discovering our natural voice and feeling how gorgeous it as it moves through our body is where the fun begins, which magnifies the more we sing with this quality as does the joy, be it with ourselves or with others.

  12. It is utterly gorgeous to feel that under the muck of lies and protection we have accepted our expression to be, there is always something deeply gorgeous and Divinely beautiful bursting to come out.

  13. It’s great to read how you can now enjoy singing again, without trying to force your voice to meet a certain picture or ideal but instead singing from a connection with your body, with how it feels.

  14. Yes I can say I was the same. Convinced that I could not sing and had a terrible voice. All because there was an element of trying, of pushing the voice out rather than allowing it to simply gently flow out. One workshop with the amazing Chris James was all it took for me to break the trend of a lifetime and realise that I could sing and that it was so much more enjoyable, indeed lovely to let my voice out gently and feel the vibration of it in my body.

  15. When we let go of the identity, beliefs and or images, we allow our natural selves to simply play and explore what it means to simply be. This is not only super empowering but also gives us the opportunity to connect to the very essence of our true expression and enjoy the moment just as it is and that really is golden. Thank you Johanna.

  16. I too was told from young age that I couldn’t sing, with the result that I could never sing on my own in front of anyone, when I sang in choirs I had to always tune into the person next to me and keep my voice soft so to not be heard, sounds a strange way to sing but the fact was that I loved to sing I would often sing in the car on my own when no one could hear me. Today I am learning how it feels to sing from a connection to my body and how different my voice sounds when I am trying to get it right.

  17. Its quite amazing Johanna how you have turned it around from been an manipulative young girl
    ” Soon I learned to use this as a manipulation tool where I would say “If you don’t do that, or give me that, I will sing”. to now inspiring your daughter to expressing freely. As you did in front of your mother.

  18. How we think and feel about our voices is either self-abuse or self-love. It’s that simple. Allowing ourselves to feel the beauty of our voice in our bodies, without the judgements of others piling in trying to tell us what we should think, is so deeply healing. We become free to express without reservation and the whole universe benefits.

  19. I loved reading this blog. I loved to sing but also grew up being told I could’t sing. I had the opportunity to see Victoria only once and I felt no judgment whilst I was saying some of the words and I could feel my voice shy and shaky. I was nervous at first but that connections was more important than I realised. I would love to be given the opportunity to have more singing sessions and in some respect I could call it voice sessions and I know when I have the pull to sing again, the right presenter will be there.

  20. “my mum and my daughter (who loves my voice and we love singing together) both sang with me.” The freedom of expression when we feel the freedom to sing from our heart.

  21. I found this article interesting this morning because who decides who owns singing? I mean was there a person that created singing and so through their lineage they now own the rights to singing and the ultimate decision on who can sing and who can’t? I know these aren’t real questions but how can anyone say that someone can’t sing or their voice is not up to scratch. I see the music world littered with drugs, suicide and some very unhappy people to put it mildly and so I don’t trust the music world with what they define as singing or singing voices because it’s very obviously not it despite the money and so called fame. What if we have it wrong, what if there’s more to singing and music then we are currently seeing? For me who cares what it sounds like in our opinion, everyone should sing and we all should stand back and learn to feel what the music does rather then get hooked by a tune or a look. I’ve watched people around me, me included redevelop their voice through singing. It’s not singing to be heard but singing to how it feels and that is an amazing experience.

  22. Johanna, what I feel is how when we let go those ideals and beliefs we’ve taken on and just express in our own flavour, it’s magic and then others get to see they can do the same and join in too. I can see the 3 of you singing together in your car and it has me smiling.

  23. It is such a beautiful experience when we can stand in our power and sing without any holding back, it is such a gift to ourselves and reflects to others the joy and expansion felt when we express in this way.

  24. Often contraction can be a reaction to being judged. We feel well before that if we say something we are going to be judged but we have to be prepared to look at our behaviours of when we can go into judging and learn from the reflections that are on offer.

  25. “Singing for me now has a playful memory attached to it.” Absolutely wonderful. If feel so much joy when I sing from my body (as opposed to my head) that it’s even more joyful when I hear of another who has reconnected to this joy too.

  26. “Basically we felt how our choice to connect with ourselves magnified throughout our body, which then became our expression, when we spoke and sang.” How important is it to connect? If we do not we are open to dis-ease being magnified in the body.

    1. So true Rik and yet sadly so little known, understood or accepted. However the only way this will change is if those who do know and accept this as the absolute truth it is, live it to the best of their ability and in doing so offer a glorious reflection to those yet to catch on.

  27. Inhibitions are not things that just happen to us. They are clear signs of lack of self-worth we buy into. And then we move in that which confirms our reason to be inhibited. Until we cease to play this game.

  28. I love what you shared Johanna, “I discovered that when I am connected to myself, without letting the beliefs and ideals of ‘how singing should be’, my voice is then free and sweet and strong.” I love singing to myself in the car or shower but not in front of anybody on my own, recently I attended a group session where we chose a song and prepared it to sing in front of the group, this was quite daunting at the start , but as I came to realise that it was not about getting it right but about being in my body and expressing the song from there, so when the time came to sing in front of the group I was amazed at how easy and joyful it was and can be to sing with all of me no holding back.

  29. It is horrible what we do to ourselves, how we cement comments that are made to us, how we insist on being tough enough to put ourselves down and act like we think its funny but deep down it hurts. It is such a blessing for your daughter that you were able to turn this around, as it means she will will grow up with a freedom around her voice. It was also very touching that you have healed any past hurt with your mother. The last line brought a tear to my eye, it was just so sweet.

  30. This just shows how damaging ideals and beliefs can be on our natural ability to express who we are. We are all completely unique, so having an image of what a picture perfect look is, or sound is, can not be true to everyone. Our uniqueness is an asset and something that should never be restrained or held back out of fear of not fitting into the current trend or what people think is it.

  31. “a tool that expresses from what is already lived in the body.” I love this description of true expression. It sounds and feels awesome. I would love to experience this workshop. What a revelation.

  32. “At this workshop we felt our bodies and our voices. We compared how these changed when we were present with ourselves versus when we weren’t.” Wow, I’ve never thought to do that before. That would be a great experiment. How many singers are truly present in their voice?

  33. It feels awesome when we can let go and bust through something that we have held back on. I had the same experience with dancing- always feeling awkward and totally uncomfortable in my body. It has taken time but now I feel more free to let go and have fun in my movements. I can still feel constrictions but am more able to observe them and not give myself a hard time.

  34. Beautiful to feel the freedom in which you were able to express yourself through singing without holding back, when we express from our own connection our expression has a beautiful flow, and sound.

  35. When we filter down what we share and express around others they get a watered-down version of us – they may get to see a hint of our potential, but never the full and amazing us.

  36. Crazy how we take on certain comments and let them completely change how we feel about ourselves for the rest of our lives. I remember being told several times how inarticulate I was. I interpreted this to mean that I wasn’t good at expressing myself through words and so have forever made excuses as to why I’m not a good writer, or why my storytelling or my explanations are so bad. Truth is, when I do express and it’s coming from my own lived experience, I’m very clear and make a lot of relatable sense. It’s just a habit to bring myself down so I don’t have to be responsible for me, the vehicle of expression that I am.

  37. How gorgeous Johanna that you now feel free to sing and express freely. How inspiring that you feel the power and wisdom of your true voice; thank you.

  38. And how beautiful in your freeing yourself from these beliefs your child is able to grow up singing freely with you and her grandmother. This will support her should she receive criticism at any time.

  39. Such a joy to hear you have rid yourself of the curses placed upon you as a child. If we were as widely aware of the consequences of our words on others as we are say of a physical attack, we would be much more careful and loving in our supposed ‘jokey quips’ which are fact cut deep and can cap another’s evolution for lifetimes. Heavy karma indeed.

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