Hiding My Natural Voice

I remember as I child I used to sing all the time, making up little tunes and adding words to go with them. I remember adults commenting to my mother about what a happy child I was. I also look back at how that love of natural expression became crushed when trying out for the school choir around the age of 8, when I was told my voice was too deep to sing with the other girls and I would have to stand at the back and sing the second part with the boys. Whilst this may not sound bad, the way it was delivered was so harsh and judgemental that it made me feel crushed, and my natural exuberance for singing became something that I started to withhold and keep in check.

About age eleven I auditioned for the school musical at high school and didn’t even get called back to be a part of the chorus, and that for me was the end of any attempts to be part of a group singing activity. It got to the point where during school assembly I would mouth the words to the hymns but never actually sing them as I didn’t want to be singled out for being off key or out of tune.

I still loved to sing but only when others couldn’t hear me. As a teenager I would have my music blasting, singing along in the privacy and safety of my own room, knowing that the music was so loud no one would ever hear my dulcet tones. As I got older I would do this in the car or at home when I was in the house alone.

I started playing guitar in my 20’s and even started taking music grades; this way I could indulge in my love of music without having to sing. But imagine my horror when during my first music grade the examiner asked me to listen to a note and sing it back to her. Well I simply refused point blank to do it and even got aggressive over it. It cost me 20 marks but there was no way I was going to ‘sing,’ especially not in front of a complete stranger!

More recently, because I have attended events run by Universal Medicine, I have been learning about and exploring expression through voice and music.

I have also watched Chris James sing and work with an audience to encourage them to let go of what stands in the way of them exploring their natural voice: a voice that comes from connecting to yourself and feeling the sound develop, and expressing from your body rather than attaching to how it sounds.

During a Universal Medicine Retreat, Chris James was invited to take the stage and lead the participants in some singing exercises. Tentatively and very quietly at first I found myself joining in with a simple ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’, without pushing or trying. I found my voice was deep and resonant, with a richness that had never come through when singing along to music in my room or my car. It had a delicate quality combined with a power and strength that was so exquisite it moved me to tears – tears of joy and relief for all that I had held back – being allowed to express again as I did so naturally when I was a little girl.

And now I love to sing; I join group sings and don’t hold back when Chris James invites us to sing along or when Michael Benhayon and Miranda Benhayon of Glorious Music perform. I even joined a women’s singing group for a few months where we would sing acapella (without musical accompaniment) and we even gave a performance to around 100 people at a local event – something I would never have imagined or even been capable of a few years ago.

Now I find myself singing when I walk the dog, on my way to work, and even around the office and the supermarket, no different to when I was that young girl, all full of joy and expression that I simply had to let it out.

I have been inspired to sing again through the work of Chris James and Glorious Music and now see my deep, rich, natural voice as something to celebrate and not to hide. And whilst I may not have perfect pitch, I do have a quality when I sing that brings a joy to my heart and puts a smile on my face.

By Dr Rachel Hall Dentist Kenmore Brisbane

Further Reading:
Everyone Is Born With A Beautiful Voice – Singing And Speaking
Exploring, and Singing with, my True Voice
The Joy of Music Without the Pain

738 thoughts on “Hiding My Natural Voice

  1. “And whilst I may not have perfect pitch, I do have a quality when I sing that brings a joy to my heart and puts a smile on my face.” This is the beauty of giving yourself permission to discover your true voice as its absolutely not about having a perfect pitch, but exactly as you describe and that is the ‘joy that you feel in your heart and the smile that you bring to your face.’ I know this so well Rachel.

  2. From speaking with people, the crushing of our expression, through harsh comments or even ignoring is one of the biggest blows in childhood that continues on to affect us as adults. I have been having sessions with Carola Woods and am surprised to be discovering how powerful my voice is. It also now offers me a marker, so when I use a nice, people pleasing voice it feels like a horrible imposter.

  3. A great example Rachel, I’ve seen this happen too in children, where an adult has shut them down and they have taken it deep to stir some old held belief.

  4. Without understanding and love anything that is shared can feel very hurtful, like your experience of having to sing with the boys. Interesting to see how this ripples through the rest of your life and ending up with you being angry with someone totally unrelated to the first event. It’s not the responsibility of the choir leaders but it’s great to see what effect unloving expression can have on the rest of someone’s life. Also how loving expression can support to bring us back.

  5. A beautiful sharing and joy felt from finding your true voice and natural expression in singing with the freedom and flow in your body. This is life changing and something I experienced also recently from a Chris James workshop, and with Glorious Music and Miranda and Michael Benhayon and the way of the livingness all being part of this.

  6. I loved the sense of your natural expression as a little girl – and how that has been regained and enjoyed so much by you. Expressing in our natural way is joyful.

  7. Rachel, this is so gorgeous; ‘Now I find myself singing when I walk the dog, on my way to work, and even around the office and the supermarket, no different to when I was that young girl, all full of joy and expression that I simply had to let it out.’ I love to hear children and adults sing or hum, it feels so joyful.

  8. I just had such a workshop with Chris James the other day, and I can only contest that indeed it was so freeing to let go of all the restrictions that I had build on my verbal expression, and what a richness in resonance of the voice that can then come to the fore.

  9. What happens is that we have to fit into an image as we had to in many more ways when we were growing up, this is also true in adult life. But this time not as a visual image, but as an audible image, an image that tries to reduce our natural expression into a uniform voice that is accepted by and will not disturb anyone from their comfort.

  10. The idea of needing to have perfect pitch when singing has prevented so many people from actually expressing their natural voice. This to me is a travesty as singing is such a fun and gorgeous thing to do.

  11. There is so much focus on technical skill around singing and not on the simple joy of expressing ourselves. Considering ourselves good or bad at something can be quite harmful, and it also sets parameters for whether we feel we can or can’t do something (like singing), instead of just enjoying ourselves. I still see the same thing in myself around singing, that it has to fit a certain sound otherwise you keep it private! What always fascinates me, is when I sing at home I feel I express my joy in full and my dogs feel this and really respond by dancing about and getting quite joyful themselves! Singing is often a very healing and supportive experience for me because my focus is the joy of expressing me.

    1. I would like to say that singing is not a natural form of expression for me, simply because it is one that I also keep private, however reading this blog and the comments there is clearly a lot to explore in these uncharted waters!

      1. Go for it Rosanna, there is a lot of inner beauty for us all to let out and we don’t have to fit any prescribed way or picture, just connect to our inner heart and express!

      2. Indeed there is Rosanna! I would willingly come sailing with you to explore the beauty of your own voice that has yet to be discovered….it is a glorious and deeply joyful thing to connect to our true voice when singing from that connection with our body.

  12. There is the belief in this society that we come to the world incomplete, that as we are little we don’t know very much and that we have to take effort to learn new skills. I can relate very much with you Rachel when at school I was told that my voice was not good enough for a choir, this left me with the feeling inside that I was not good enough at all. So from that point I remember trying hard to fit in, looking outside of me to be ‘someone’. This experience has conditioned me more than I can imagine, however by attending the presentations and workshops from Universal Medicine, I can feel inside me that actually I’m not broken and that there is a power, a beauty within to honour and to express from. I feel very grateful for being a student of the School of the Livingness, a unique place in this world where we all are equally precious and where there is no need to become anything, as we are already everything.

  13. Love listening to Glorious music. It invites me to connect with the natural joy inside me and to bring my qualities throughout my day. The way this music is composed, the quality and deep care can be easily felt in every note. By listening to Michael Benhayon and Miranda Benhayon’s music I can feel deeply held and very free to express myself in my own way.

  14. What Chris James brings is very unique. There are not many teachers in this world who encourage people to express freely with no pictures or difficult techniques to develop. He is a teacher who also is a student of his own Livingness and deeply appreciates the uniqueness in everyone’s voices. I’m very much looking forward to attend a workshop with him.

  15. Your blog reminds me how incredibly freeing it is if you just enjoy being yourself and your expression without the need to be perfect or fit to societies standards – I wonder what the world would be like if everyone had permission to drop this perfection thing and just be true to themselves.

    1. We all would simply express from our body instead of from our mind and this way of expressing will make the world so much more still.

  16. I must admit I cringed reading the beginning of this. How many of us have received similar crushing blows in our lives especially during our childhood that have caused us to shut down our expression in some way? Many of us still carry these wounds and do not realise the extent to which they erode away our sense of self-worth, without which there can be no true joy experienced. We then look at children in a wistful sense, feeling that they ‘have’ something we have ‘lost’. We may even deliver the crushing blow to them ourselves, albeit not consciously, but out of the pain of seeing that which we have ‘lost’ being reflected back to us. But such beauty is never lost, only buried deep beneath our hurt and the multitude of ideals and beliefs we adopt in place of living true to who we are.

  17. The quality of the music is found in its vibration not sound. Yet we have been conditioned to hear before we feel. That is, we think it has to sound a certain way, pitch perfect etc. for it to be ‘good’ music. This puts us at risk of inviting into our body, a vibration that does not sound in accord with what the heart sings which apart from being harmful, also serves to deaden our senses to the ‘song that sings within’. The very song you were singing as a child Rachel, and have so gorgeously returned to now.

  18. We are very sensitive beings. Any movement that we detect as non-accepting of our natural expression gets registered very deeply and affects the way we are in the world. It’s not uncommon for people to say they can’t sing and don’t want to sing even though they actually love to, and do so in the safety of their own privacy, and that is only one small example of how we moderate our expression. Who knows what we might be missing out on?

  19. Not only do we hide our natural voice when we sing; we also hide it when we speak. If there is any holding back on our part it can be felt by another when we speak.

    1. Absolutely – this is crucial because we speak all the time, and if we hold back it changes not only how we say something but what we say.

  20. Beautiful Rachel. What a gorgeous reminder that we should never ever give up our truth and that if we have, we can just claim it back – when we truly connect.

  21. When we get criticised as children for the sound of our voice it can be deeply crushing as it is part of our natural expression, and if we are asked to make it sound a perfect note it is not our natural way, it was not until I met Serge Benhayon and Chris James that I learnt how we all have a beautiful voice.

    1. We all have a beautiful being and expressing that through our voice could instead be the focus rather than technical skill.

  22. I recently let go of an old hurt and have since found myself singing again, having not done so since being a child. There is such joy in my body when it is now able to freely express again in this way.

  23. Wonderful to hear Rachel. Holding back the naturalness of our expression can feel quite devastating to us, it’s like we hold back living a crucial part of us. Like using just one leg to walk when you have two perfectly working ones.

  24. Our voice is what it is. When we sing attuned to what is naturally ourselves, this permits us to feel the beauty that this represents even if this does not fly regarding the eras and the images of how the music has to be, feel and sound.

  25. The work Chris James does really is beautiful in how he supports people to tune back in with their innate expression and enjoy experimenting with singing and how we talk, without judgment and with awareness of our whole body.

  26. “Hiding My Natural Voice” – it’s interesting that how we live life does hide or mask our voice, as in, if we live life not as the real-us but as a performing us, then we are hiding our naturalness and hence natural voice. How we live, how we hold ourselves with naturalness and ease (or not) is felt in our voice.

  27. The feeling of letting out what I have held back is one which solidifies my feeling and expression of myself, it’s like my particles have expanded and are all valued and they have a space, every voice matters no matter how long we have chosen to snuff it out. It is pure joy!

  28. ‘I do have a quality when I sing that brings a joy to my heart and puts a smile on my face.’ and this is what it’s all about. Not everyone is going to be a professional singer or end up on some the X Factor, but singing can still be something to be enjoyed and bring a lightness of being to a person.

  29. We crush children (and adults) when they sing because we value a certain kind of voice, and not the joy of simply expressing ourselves.

  30. Wow what struck me in your blog was someone else’s judgement, or in this case how another person deciding whether you’re in a musical or where you go in a choir can totally shut down someone’s natural and innate expression. This is a massive reminder to never judge someone else’s expression and instead always be encouraging.

  31. It can be so crushing and confidence destroying when as a child we are told harshly or in a way that is insenitive that our voice is different to others or is too high or too low, and then we take on the belief we cannot sing, which can and often does lock up our expression, as was my experience. It is so very freeing to sing again and so much joy too that my whole body feels lighter afterwards.

  32. I like to observe how people sing, voices are very honest, it shows all our quality and our choices. We have been very fooled to think that good singing is only what we hear in the sound, there is a whole spectrum of vibration and quality that is there too.

    1. I never thought about singing showing all our quality and our choices, but yes of course this makes sense, our tone and pace of our voices tell us so much about ourselves and where we are at, are we speaking from our bodies or from our heads?

  33. Those moments in life where we feel crushed or judged in our expression by others, can indeed cause us to pull back and contract from bringing ourselves fully to life. However this sets up a pattern which is not only a holding back pattern, but is draining of our own life-force.

  34. It is beautiful to feel you reclaim your expression through singing, that which is something we all can do with our naturally beautiful and uniquely sounding voices. The joy of singing is felt as we allow the vibration of God resound through our bodies, and with our voices reflect this quality. We all have access to freely express and sing this in our own way, when we simply surrender to how beautiful it is to feel this connection.

  35. When we connect more deeply to our innermost the voice starts to come more from the body and we express so much more of who we truly are.

  36. So much joy is felt in your experience Rachel, the joy that is actually natural to us all when we allow our natural expression to flow.

  37. I’m sure many people have a story similar to your own Rachel. Just one comment from someone when we are growing up is sometimes enough to silence us for years. Yes it is so totally joyful to rediscover the joy of our natural voice, and Chris James is a master at helping people to do this. Really lovely to read your experience and the recent healing that has occurred.

  38. That’s what singing and expressing is all about. I constantly talk with myself and smile too, it’s very awesome.

  39. I also remember belting out hymns in primary school and loving singing too Rachel… though had been put off through someone in my family telling me to “shush, quieten down”. Isn’t it interesting that the one thing we loved as a young child like singing/expression and which was quashed to some extent, turns out to be our strength later as an adult.

  40. Its only in recent times I have become acquainted to my natural voice. I’m not a singer, although sometimes I would like to take some lessons from Chris James to really discover my singing voice. When I recently heard my voice on a recording, I absolutely loved hearing it. There was no harshness, just a gentle, claimed voice.

    I know there are more areas I need to present my voice to and I look forward to my voice unfolding even more and maybe one day I will sing – who knows.

  41. It seems to be a common experience for many that confidence around singing is crushed by judgement or harsh expression of another. So how gorgeous, Rachel that you found your voice and love of expression through singing again.

  42. To live is to truly and freely express, anything less is not truly living. We are naturally very expressive beings and have such capacity to let this out for all to feel and be inspired by.

  43. We are so used to judging our voice and others based on its ability to deliver perfect pitch or a certain sound, all the time unaware that the quality and vibration of the expression is what matters more.

  44. When we express how we feel without fear we give others the inspiration to do the same and this is such a joy to behold. Thank you Rachel.

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