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

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

  1. I used to sing from my throat and always be trying to be pitch perfect, this was such a strain on my voice, going along to Chris James workshop was also life changing for me too, as I began to sing in connection to whole body and to feel the depth and quality of my voice, it felt so beautiful and freeing.

  2. There is either force or flow when it comes to energy. And this blog is a living example of when we do things with force, and when we do things with flow, and how stark the difference can be in our bodies.

  3. Performing is a big stress in the body. We leave being ourselves to become someone because we are hoping for recognition and then feel how fake it all is, or not, and put ourselves through the same stress all over again.

  4. You’ve described the difference between being all that we are and the functional human doing! The difference is huge! I know when I get into the function of life I get into all my insecurities, comparisons and drive. But when I connect with my essence I know we are all equal and what comes through me is divine. The what is not is then exposed and feels rather ugly and it’s for me to stay with my essence and know the ugliness isn’t me – no matter how many times I choose it!

  5. When I read this Anne I was wondering who we are actually trying to please when it comes to performing when it seems like an arduous task and not enjoyable at all. And maybe it exposes that performing in the way we are used to is not the true version of it. It’s wanting to be seen, maybe living up to an ideal we have of how we think we need to be for others. I know from having attended many workshops with Chris James that they assist you to feel what it’s like to express in a natural way and the “performance” is not really a performance but you expressing and sharing something that is for everyone equally to enjoy.

    1. Yes, these workshops of Chris James’s are such a joy. People coming together and letting go of the pictures we have of how to be, how to sound, the expectations, the differences we create between us. There are no acts but the joy of expressing what’s always there, ready to shine through, when we get all the performance stuff out of the way. These workshops are so healing on so many levels.

  6. “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.” Yes Anne, it is this deep connection that we feel with ourselves and consequently to other people that is so gorgeous when we sing songs that have no attachment to any kind of emotion. It is profound, and equally joyful. I have never had as many personal revelations or had so much fun with singing as I have when I do a workshop with Chris James.

  7. There is something unique, amazingly joyous when we sing from the heart. When this happens there is nothing but a beautiful feeling of coming back to an order we belong to.

  8. It is absolutely extraordinary how Chris James gets everyone singing like a choir of angels in about 5 minutes! It just shows us that singing is a natural thing and we do not necessarily need to train. We can experience so much joy by simply allowing ourselves to sing from our whole bodies and not hold back.

  9. When I participated in a Chris James True Voice Workshop, I remember just how powerful it was during the active listening practice, as Anne described. It helped me realise just how much I had been both in constant sympathy for others, thereby not allowing them to feel the responsibility for their actions, how much I was in my head thinking about what to say next, instead of actually listening to them, and agreeing with people when I didn’t actually share the same view, just to be liked or accepted. This is really a powerful, yet simple practice that can be applied to all our conversations and open them up to a spaciousness and allowing of the truth to be revealed by everyone involved, where we really honour the other person speaking without judgement or neediness.

  10. When we go to one of Chris James’s workshops we are encouraged to let go of the seeking of recognition, the drama, the wanting to hear our own voice, all those things that further our identification and individuality, yet in this letting go we find our true voice, find harmony with everyone else, experience the joy of singing from the heart in union with others, and all with no effort. This all becomes painfully obvious when we slip back into wanting something for ourselves, for then we lose the joy and feel separated and everything is struggle. It is a choice, and a choice worth choosing.

  11. “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.” This is the beauty and power of music that comes with no emotional attachment, but is written from the truth of who we are. There is a divinity that comes with it that the body can undeniably feel, and it is our connection with this divinity that enables us to then express with such joy.

  12. When we are in the pure joy of our heart, connection to ourselves naturally extends to connecting with others.

  13. The joy that can be accessed through singing is huge not only for those singing but for those listening as well.

  14. Your experience of this workshop with Chris James is similar to my own experinece Anne. Although I have attended many workshops with Chris over the last 10 years, it still blows me away how quickly and easily he can get a group of people who mostly dont know each other, let alone have never sung together, to sing so beautifully in harmony without any competition, and sound like a choir of angels. And whatsmore, the joy of singing in this way from our true expression is absoltuley beyond measure.

  15. Attending workshops by Chris James over the years has been a great support to release some old cobwebs I had around singing, (mainly that I couldn’t sing), but also they have been so much fun. Chris brings in a lot of humour, there is always so much laughter, joy and connection in the group. I always leave feeling tons lighter.

  16. True singing is not just from our voice as most singing is judged to be. It is a constant movement that simply expresses as sound or song, a continuation of quality we have lived for aeons.

  17. When I was younger I used to love singing, in the car, in the shower, in my room when nobody is watching. When nobody was watching because often when I sang with joy, people criticised and told me that I shouldn’t sing. Is it because my singing was bad? Or perhaps could it be something in the tone of my vibration that pushed buttons for others?

  18. Through these workshops I’ve experienced what it is to express without filtering it through all my usual thought processes of what people will think etc. It’s wonderful and makes life vibrant. I can feel the quality of what I express and if it feels yuck then I can look to what happened and learn rather than spend my life in constant critique and self-judgement.

  19. When we don’t make singing about ourselves but make it inclusive of everyone the body responds to this. I can feel the joy and the expansion you felt in the group singing, which feels very different to the emotional songs and singing which leave us drained and wanting to seek more of the same.

  20. Wow, what two totally different experiences of singing. One in the joy of the moment, fully connected to and feeling the body, and the other in the head evaluating and judging the quality of the singing. This sums up beautifully how we can choose to live from two different qualities in life.

  21. Anne, I have never attended a workshop with Chris James but reading about your experience makes me want to. It sounds like a very healing thing to do.

  22. The need to be acknowledged how well we have done, ultimately griefs us when we do not have something that we acknowledge ourselves. We think others will not acknowledge us or we cannot see the true acknowledgment others give us for we don’t feel worthy. So what is grieving me in such situations is that I haven’t felt and expressed through my worth.

  23. I stopped singing for a long time because I didn’t like the idea of performing and this energy was locked in a belief within me. I am starting to sing more now just let myself be. But First I do that with talking and writing.

  24. ‘It wasn’t simply the joy of singing together at Chris’ workshop – it was the joy of true expression’ – this ‘joy of true expression’ is what raised my eyebrow. How many times do we truly express from this place? I know for me this has been a work in progress. And as much as I haven’t grown up around singing, I wanted to sing and when I sang along in a song, I was put down. Beside this, I can recall being put down for just wanting to express, so this is going to even affect my ability to sing.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to attend any of Chris Jame’s workshops and when one day he visits us in Sydney, I not only would love to be part of, but be this ‘joy of true expression’ as I know it is there waiting to be released.

  25. Making a sound or singing in this way and not holding back is pure joy. Chris James asks us to come out of our heads and into our bodies, and from there the sound resonates so beautifully within our bodies and then beyond the body. This way of expressing is so simple, and we can enjoy this if we can get out of the way, turn the thoughts off and embrace and enjoy the body as the finely tuned instrument that it is.

  26. Some songs can have a ‘catchy’ tune and they stay with you like it is hard to shake it off – this is when I know that there is something hooking in the song (no different to a food that you might crave such as sugar or chocolate). Chris James’s songs are clear of this hooking and pulling energy and instead allow you just to be you and encourages you to express as you!

  27. When we can silence the mind from its endless chatter, and allow the body to speak or sing (expressed naturally so) it is a refreshing thing indeed, and a healing to self and all others.

  28. I was taking part at a Chris James event last night with the majority of people who had not worked with Chris before. It was incredible how much joy there was in the room in a very short space of time, as people felt the way they were being supported by Chris to let go and express themselves with no expectations or judgement.
    It was just beautiful.

    1. Amazing to feel how one man can support with so many people to open up and feel safe! Chris works his magic all around the world!

  29. When we sing from the heart our whole chest area and lungs open up which is a beautiful experience..

  30. It’s a huge polarity isn’t it, when we consider that the accepted way of things and the vast majority will go for music with emotion, and is what sells etc. Whereas the healing and power that is available to us when we sing from connection, and when music is created from connection, is unfathomable to most – so much so that it is not even considered possible, when in fact it is not only very natural, but something all of us deserve.

  31. I have started to allow myself to sing more and I just love it. I love the feeling of my chest filling up with love as I sing.

  32. “when I sang I felt it was coming from deep within me and that it was part of me.” Singing from the heart in harmony with others is pure joy.

    1. I totally agree! And I’m inspired reading this to let myself sing more – i sing a lot when I’m on my own, when ‘no one is listening’. Isn’t that so very telling – when someone is watching, listening, the free expression stops.

  33. The purity of singing with joy is natural and healing for all, and deeply reconfiguring to our bodies to free up more space for more joy.

  34. It is so clear when we are expressing from our hearts rather than our heads and can be felt coming more deeply from our whole body rather than just forced through our throats.Simply beautifully expressed Anne.

  35. Music is such a big thing in our lives and most of us can’t even to start to imagine the harm it can cause us energetically if it is coming from the wrong place, so it is great to know there is now music coming through that is pure joy without an ounce of emotion in it.

    1. And this is such a radical and profound shift from what people both expect everyone from music… That it is not just possible but amazingly beneficial to have music doesn’t have emotion… But then of course people have to realise the ‘fix’ that the music was providing in their lives.

  36. One of our community choirs sang at a gathering recently. A man came to talk at the end… He said he had asked at least three of the people singing… Is it possible that you are as happy as you look?.… They all said yes he said, and he expressed to me that this just didn’t seem possible.

    1. Curious how we have come to be suspicious of people who appear to be happy! It’s just not the norm. Your workshops turn this around cjames2012, and they give people the opportunity to feel their natural joy. You allow people to find their new normal.

      1. It’s so true Rebecca… There is more a sense of wonder which was amazing… It seems that all we have to do is be ourselves… And have as much fun as possible doing it 🙂

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