The Joy of Singing and Expressing from My Heart

Recently I attended a True Voice Workshop in Wanaka, New Zealand, with Chris James. What I experienced there was the true joy of singing and expressing from my heart.

When I felt I was singing with joy, I absolutely knew that it didn’t matter how the sound came out… if it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’… if it was too high or too low… I did not even consider what anyone would think of my singing. In fact, I didn’t think at all.

I just felt the absolute joy of being with me and with the music, and feeling the support of everyone there. It wasn’t an emotion I was feeling as I sang – it was simply the feeling of joy and the deep connection with everyone else, the music, and the words we were singing.

There was no emotion in the song to pull me away from myself; rather, it connected me with my real self, with my inner heart, so when I sang I felt it was coming from deep within me and that it was part of me.

I had a heightened sense of my body, the glow and stillness within me, and the bubbling joy – it is almost impossible to express the grandness and glory of it all.

This was such a contrast to previous experiences. I have always loved singing and when I was a child I sang in both the church choir and school choir: I always sang ‘alto’ (low), whereas Chris has encouraged me to sing high and to take risks and not hold back!

I liked singing in the choirs but I never felt such a deep connection with myself or with the others in the choir as I felt in this True Voice Workshop with Chris. Also, there was an expectation from my parents that I would sing in the choirs, or at least I thought there was, and I remember wanting everyone to acknowledge how well I sang.

A few years back I was in a musical, which was something I have always wanted to do. It wasn’t one particular musical – rather, there were many different songs from the musicals that the theatre had put on over the years. The musical director said this was very hard to do as you were constantly changing characters.

Be that as it may, right from the first rehearsal I found I couldn’t sing. My throat would just close up after the first song and I would cough and cough. I was totally perplexed – I didn’t understand what was happening to me, especially as at the audition the musical director was very encouraging and I sang higher than ever before.

I persevered though and eventually made it to the stage on opening night, but the whole experience was not particularly enjoyable! I felt I had to force my voice, to ‘perform’ and I didn’t enjoy not being myself. I was anxious before each part I was in. I remember wanting everyone (friends and family who came along to the show) to acknowledge how well I had done.

I felt this force of performance and anxiety from many of the others in the cast too, as well as comparison and competition and the need for approval and recognition. There was a lack of true camaraderie and connection between us, and I could feel this in my body.

At Chris James’ workshop we all sang together in amazing harmony and unity. It felt like we had sung together like that many times – even though I hadn’t met some of the people there before!

The music we sang was different too from most other music I have heard and sung. This was music composed, performed and produced from the heart. Yes, I cried quite a lot, but the tears were from me releasing my own sadness – they were not emotions I had picked up from the songs. The tears were me feeling the joy of singing from my heart.

This felt so different from other times when I have been affected by music which I have heard or songs I have sung that made me sad or ‘revved up’– and this is perhaps why I couldn’t even sing the songs in the musical (I was choking, literally, on the emotions in them).

It wasn’t simply the joy of singing together at Chris’ workshop – it was the joy of true expression.

We did exercises in groups where one person talked and the others simply listened. I felt like I was really being heard when it was my turn to speak, as no-one interrupted me and no-one ‘wandered off’ while I was speaking – we all connected with each other, through our eyes, the whole time.

This is not often my experience of sharing with others! Also, it felt wonderful to simply listen to another talking without thinking I had to butt in to be nice or to confirm, rescue, sympathise or even empathise, which is how I have often listened in the past. From this connection with the others, I felt safe to speak from my heart rather than my head – in other words, to truly share with others what I was feeling and what I knew to be true.

This is not a common experience for me as I have, in the past, often lived from my mind. The whole time I was talking I felt really aware of my body, and connected to it, whereas when I was in the musical it didn’t feel like ‘me’ at all – my head was full of trying to remember the words and to sing ‘well’.

And so, from this life-changing workshop in Wanaka, I am allowing myself to feel a lot more, to be vulnerable and to connect with my body a lot more and express from there… and I intend to sing a lot more too, from my heart, with joy.

This is pure joy.

I am continually inspired by Chris James – by the man, and by his amazing Music.

By Anne Scott, accredited Yoga Teacher, Exercise Instructor, Mediator and Esoteric Healing Practitioner, Auckland, New Zealand

648 thoughts on “The Joy of Singing and Expressing from My Heart

  1. “There was no emotion in the song to pull me away from myself; rather, it connected me with my real self, with my inner heart, so when I sang I felt it was coming from deep within me and that it was part of me.” It is exactly this reason why I too find working with Chris James and his music so deeply healing, as I find when I sing from this connection with my body, every cell wakes up and I can feel them all vibrating inside me. The joy is infectious as it spreads through me from deep within, and gradually moves out beyond my physical being so there is no beginning and no end. This is the difference between music that is free of any emotion, and music that is not, as it leaves you to be all of who you are.

  2. In about two weeks Chris will be in the Netherlands for the same workshop and I am truly looking forward as I have already attended workshops and a retreat in the past, and have felt the power of what he presents, the power of our expression from our body and the joy and deep connection shared together in singing and music. Chris is always an inspiration for me as he is for you and many others all over the world.

  3. I’m not there at all but the joy of singing from my inner heart and no need to analyse or think about what I’m doing opened up the possibility of living and expressing in this way always. If you are expressing from your inner most in connection then what comes out will be from love and harmless – if others are inspired that’s great, if others react that’s cool too. I’m learning to let go of determining what I do or say was right or wrong by how other people respond/react. It’s all about the integrity in which I live.

  4. The joy of singing from your heart is just words until you have experienced it, but once you have experienced it you just love it so much you cannot understand why you have gone your whole life without knowing the joy that this engenders.

  5. To learn to be able to just sit and listen to another person share without any niceness, need to rescue, or sympathy is a process I am learning, to feel with my body by not goinginto thinking what next to say.

  6. We are so used to calibrating our expression to be recognized, to be accepted etc. and find a way to fit in somehow. It’s such a blessing to have an opportunity to feel what it is really like to truly express ourselves.

  7. Listening to someone singing without emotion is a blessed relief because it leaves us free to feel our own response to what is being heard.

  8. I have sung in choirs too and I know what you mean about that element of competition coming in . If its’ not in the choir between individuals it is with our choir compared with other choirs. The trying to get it right and the performance element, like being concerned about what it looks like, they all hamper the natural joy of us all being together and bringing our unique expression – appreciating the harmony that we feel.

  9. When we’re worried about what everyone else is thinking of us or whether we’re meeting an ideal or expectation we have of ourself it takes our awareness away from our body, away from truly connecting with our authentic expression.

  10. A lot of attention is given to musicians and famous composers but in truth we are super skilled arrangers and producers – experts at presenting exactly the sound and vibration that we know will fit in. If only we got honest we would see this is more toxic than heavy metal will ever be.

    1. What you’ve said is so worth getting really honest about and feeling the toxicity of fitting in. Trying to stifle our Godly expression is like trying to contain magnificent fireworks inside our bodies – it’s going to do horrible damage, we are not meant to contain what’s there. These divine expressions are for the whole world to see and be inspired by.

  11. It is not surprising that many people don’t enjoy singing. There are not many places in this world where a teacher provides a supportive space to be just who we really are. There are a lot of techniques of singing, high schools and universities to learn music, but not a way to feel joy singing and expressing, connecting with our heart first and foremost. This is not something to develop or to achieve by training hard, but a simple choice to feel how amazing we are.

  12. Such a joy reading your experience with your voice Anne. What Chris James offers is very unique in the world, I love having access to workshops like this because it is not about performing or trying hard, but simply allowing ourselves to sing from our heart. This can be so simple and a very enriching experience as you beautifully described, thank you

  13. The joy in your expression Anne is palpable and undeniable. It is important to clock when we are expressing from our true essence as this allows us to call out and recognise any other moment as a moment where we are not truly expressing ourselves even if we think we are.

    1. Agree Joshua, that’s why feeling and checking in to the body is so key, for it is a great marker that lets us know instantly if we are performing or truly expressing.

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