Speaking from the Body
Maybe we haven’t thought about it too much, but we know intuitively that there are various ways through which we can impact our world, and our relationships:
through body, energy, speech, thoughts, feelings, intentions, and actions.
Being in our bodies is a great starting point to integrate these ways that we create impact.
By being in a body, I am taking up space and therefore affecting my environment.
I have to say, for me, for much of my life, though, using my words felt scarier than just taking up space with my body. As a lifelong dancer, I’ve always been accustomed to and comfortable using my body and moving through space. But using my words to impact the space, and my audience, well, that has been a much longer journey. At the same time I say this, I know from experience that for some people it’s scarier to use
the body to take up space.
What do I mean by “taking up space”?
I mean showing up in front of others,
letting yourself be seen,
risking looking foolish,
disregarding what others may think about you,
moving past self- criticism,
going for it,
and creating an impact on the space and people you are with.
What I also mean is allowing your life force, your vitality to flow freely and to trust that what is coming through you, is in service to the people around you.
Cuz when it does, that feels good, really good, right? This is because it allows for deeper connections with others, and more freedom to let your spirit play and express. So awhile back I got curious:
Why have my words felt scarier to fill the air with?
Part of the answer was that for a long time I thought my words needed to sound intelligent, move fast, and be articulate in every moment. What if I couldn’t always??
And if I didn’t speak swiftly and get my words out quickly, I thought no one would listen.
Perhaps this comes from growing up in the fast-paced culture of the east coast, or in a big family with quick- witted siblings. Regardless of where it came from, taking up space with my words felt scarier and way riskier than taking up space with my body. What I’ve found out over the years is that even though I do believe there is value in quick-witted words, sometimes speed doesn’t leave space for the slower, softer, vulnerable and emotional words or sounds to express. And therefore there may be less connection between body and mind... And for a long time, I thought the two were somehow separate -- that words came only from the intellectual part of myself, and movement came from the expression of my body. From that perspective, these two places felt so detached from one another. And so where could the whole of me stand?
This led me to ask: what happens when the body and voice are connected?
I noticed that this is when those deeper, softer, more vulnerable aspects of me can speak. These voices often feel more subtle, waiting for me to listen to them and let them share. Often we need to slow down and make room for them. What also seems true is that before you can hope others will value your voice coming from this place, you need to value it for yourself.
Realizing this can open up a path. A way of practice. The throat is a great bridge, between mind and body, from which our voices can express. But the voice is subtle and sensitive. If we go directly into the throat and try to open it, we might discover it doesn’t want to.
Then what? We need to create more space for the sound to move through the throat. Literally. It’s like a hose with a crimp in it -- turning up the water full bore isn’t the way to go. We need our bodies to relax, open up, and express our voices, so our throats can be a bridge between the mind and body.
Which leads us to wonder, how do I keep the sound of my voice connected to my body when I speak so words aren’t spinning off into the air on a floating head?
The path is practice, learning some methods of allowing, and being curious about what the body wants to say. So here are a couple more question for you:
What would happen if you took the time for yourself and slowed down and first listened and then let these body voices speak?
What would they say, and what would they share?
Can you get curious about this?
If you can, then you’re on the way to expanding your capacity to connect with impact in your world.