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

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

  1. When we sing with the connection to our essences and thus feel our bodies vibrate in unison together how can we not appreciate such a divine moment in time. And then take that expression in to everything else we do and feel the joy of Truly expressing with others. Thank you Chris, as much unfolds for us when we join your groups and sing.

  2. Presenters, actors, singers etc. often say that you have to be at least a little bit nervous before going on stage, otherwise you’ve lost it. But what if the feeling of nervousness comes in because we want to be perfect and any mistake we make is detrimental to our feeling of worth? What if the nervousness comes because we base our performance entirely on the reactions of others as clues and in that are completely debasing the ground we stand on?

  3. It definitely sounds like a life changing workshop and can be tangibly felt with what you have shared. What I have been made aware of recently is how much I hold back or calibrate when with others, not being or bringing the all of me, something it feels like this workshop would completely blast out of the water! Also it really does make a different and can be beautifully felt when we truly are with another and listening to what they are expressing (with no trying to fix, sympathy or rescuing).

    1. Vicky, I signed up for a workshop with Chris James this September. From very very little I have loved singing but many times was told that I sound terrible so I should stop. So eventually I kind of lost my enthusiasm for it and never really sang. Recently, since I discovered the music of Miranda Benhayon, I’ve started to feel like I can sing again – that the tone or sound is not important, but where that comes from i.e. the heart – what they say about singing your heart out is a valid comment! So, I am going to this Chris James workshop because I would like to connect deeper with that aspect of me, embrace my voice & see how that impacts my life. I am pretty sure doors are still open for sign-up 🙂

  4. I have attended Chris’s workshops and they are very playfull and also deeply healing when you allow yourself to just let gooooooooooooooo

  5. ‘I just felt the absolute joy of being with me and with the music, and feeling the support of everyone there. ‘ I’ve felt this at every event with Chris James and it’s amazing. What’s so lovely is being able to feel what I have discovered is true group work in other spheres in my life, and actually it’s there for all of us when we do gather and don’t get our individual neediness in the way.

  6. “At Chris James’ workshop we all sang together in amazing harmony and unity. It felt like we had sung together like that many times…” This has been my expereince too. Having been to many of Chris’s workshops, and everytime its the same – each time different people, always some who have never been before, but always within the first hour or so, the singing supported by Chris, is quite extraordinary.

  7. Whenever we are seeking acknowledgement or recognition from another there is no connection to self and all we think and care about is ourselves. We may not have been met or seen for who we are in essence as a child but that doesn’t make it ok to live in separation to self when we know what it feels like to live in the oneness with the universe.

    1. This is so true with regards to seeking acknowledgement or recognition from others. If we are constantly looking outside of ourselves then how can we truly connect within. A great reminder.

  8. Because of Chris James I dared to sing. And to be suprised how beautiful I thing naturally without any concept of how it should be.

    1. Yes, it vibrates through us, very powerful and something I only started noticing at one of Chris James’s courses. He is a master of sound and expression and invites us to live this too.

  9. I notice too that there is such a joy to just sing. To try not to make it something, or act in a way. Just to express from the heart.

  10. I have started having singing lessons and find it is such a joyful expression. The more I sing the more I am starting to recognise when my speaking voice is not expressing my divine essence.

  11. “At Chris James’ workshop we all sang together in amazing harmony and unity.” Singing from the heart brings joy with every note.

  12. I love it when I just sing and express from my body. It is something Chris says is the resonance and I feel it is like my whole body is expressing rather than just my voice box. It is a great reminder to remember and bring into my everyday communication.

  13. I recently did a workshop with Chris James and as always found a new layer to expression. There is much that can be healed and shifted and expansion can be experience from something as simple ( but not always easy) as expressing from the body instead of the head.

    1. Yes it really is a journey isn’t it Carolien!… And yet, as you say there was always a new layer, a deeper connection, always more to express, and always more to let go of.

  14. Expressing from the body comes with such and easy and effortlessness, it is truly joyful to be with others in this way.

  15. “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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

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