As the Sun begins to slowly return to us in the Northern Hemisphere, we move out of a time of darkness into light. One feminine principle I’ve been working with a lot lately is that of profound stillness and deep inner listening. This is another form of *receiving, but more focused on our internal process than what we practice in SSOL around being onstage. It is quiet, open, spacious and empty. It is about creating space for that-which-desires-to-be expressed to arise without actively seeking to understand it or to know what it will be before it has arisen within us. This for me has been a HUGE practice and breakthrough around how I create and how I experience being heard and sharing my truth in the world.
I am a do-er, an A-type go-getter. Right now, my body is teaching me a huge lesson that the doing energy, for me – and I suspect for many of us - cannot be sustained on its own. We must learn to honor stillness as much – if not more – than we honor doing. For without silence, there is no sound. Vibration and song are born from stillness. If we skip over taking time for stillness, the act of doing and our creative process in general will be much harder and much more aggressive.
Connected to this principle of stillness and receptivity, is having the courage to be heard.
I know I write and speak on this subject a lot, but I feel it is SO important to our ability to access our true voice and express it in the world!
We all desire to be heard.
I don’t care who you are, what your truth is, what you do for a living, if you are a musician or not, what gender, body type, sexual orientation, ethnicity ect you are. Human beings desire connection and we desire to be heard and understood. For those of us who are musicians, singers, speakers, writers, artists and teachers this need to be heard can be even greater because it goes beyond our personal relationships and daily interactions. Sometimes, we feel this longing to express or create, but we don’t necessarily notice it is tied to our longing to be heard. There is something to be said for creating simply for creations sake, but, as human beings who long for connection, our desire to create is deeply connected to our desire to share our creations and have them be received. If we think we don’t care about sharing what we create, chances are we are experience some type of deep fear of being heard and understood. As musicians, and especially as WOMEN musicians, I believe we feel this push-pull around being heard even more deeply than most. Which is why it is so important to create stillness in our lives, and learn to embrace the feminine principle of being receptive and vulnerable as a true strength we can rely upon.
What we don’t often recognize, is that we sabotage our experience of being heard.
Just as much as we long to be heard, we fear being heard. Why? That is for you to personally inquire into, and honestly it doesn’t really matter why we do it. The fact is: we sabotage being heard all the time. Perhaps we fear being vulnerable; perhaps we feel that we or what we have to express is not worthy. Perhaps we feel that if we are truly heard we will have to step up and deliver in a big way that scares us like crazy! Because, oh my gosh… if I am heard today, what if I mess up and express the wrong thing tomorrow. What if people hear me and it’s really really good and then the next time they are expecting so much and I blow it! I think what most causes us to fear being heard, it is this expectation of sustaining our worthiness, and continuing to express and be received over time.
Personally, I am most afraid of not being perfect enough, of not being worthy, and that perhaps it is selfish to want to be heard in the first place.
What if people show up to hear me, and what I have to say/sing is not worthy of their time and listening? Then, I’ll be even more alone. Better to cause my own failure by setting up situations or expressing myself in a way that automatically has people not hear me, than fail because of something beyond my control, which is much more vulnerable and scary.
How does our fear of being heard cause us to shut down?
The first way we sabotage ourselves is simply by not sharing, not putting ourselves out there, not speaking up in conversations, not booking the gig ect. We stop seeking opportunities to be heard. And then we get upset when people don’t hear us. So we have to first become willing to be heard. Truly, authentically and unapologetically willing. How do we become willing? By being still and connecting to our longing to be heard until it becomes powerful enough that it overtakes our fear and we can courageously begin to *receive others. In that space, we can own our stage* and step into a space of authentic sharing and expression.
Easier said than done? Yes, and it is also easy when we discover the right tools. (One pathway being *SSOL's receiving practice).
Here’s where it becomes tricky:
How many of you, right now can name at least one person in your life who no matter what, seams to not hear what you have to say? Either they interrupt you, or they completely misunderstand you and you find yourself either fighting for verbal space or giving up and staying quiet.
It is much easier to blame others for not hearing us, then to own that we are sabotaging our ability to be heard.
When we show up to express ourselves, if there is at all a hidden hope that we will not be heard, others will pick up on that. Often when we are not heard, the people we blame are doing exactly what we’ve asked them to do energetically. Our fear of expressing the wrong thing or simply of NOT being heard, causes us to shut down, create an energetic block between ourselves and others so that it is almost impossible for them to hear us. The receiving practice* cuts through this block. But we have to be truly willing to be heard, or the vulnerability of receiving others into our creative space will be too much to handle. When we embrace our desire to be heard and allow others in, that vulnerability can become beautiful and a true strength.
If we were really HEARD, we could no longer hide and would no longer have an excuse for staying small. We would have to get as big as we truly are. And that takes tremendous courage. So the first step in being heard, is confronting where you are really terrified of being heard, and where you personally create opportunities over and over again where other's don’t hear you - either because you don't express yourself, or you express yourself while having the thought (hidden or conscious) "I hope they don't hear me," or simply "I'm not good enough to be heard." If you are truly longing to express something deep within you, and you really feel that you are not heard, it is important to do the work to uncover where YOU are responsible for others not hearing you.
Where do you hide?
What are you most afraid will happen if people really heard you?
Becoming willing to be heard starts with being willing to confront our shadow, our deepest darkest secrets of how we DON’T, actually, thank-you-very-much, want to be heard. If you are not willing to do this work it will be very hard to move forward in expressing yourself and feeling that that expression is received. I promise you, if you constantly think to yourself “they’re not listening. No one hears me,” there is probably somewhere deep down where you actually don’t want to be heard. Trust me, I’ve been there! For years I struggled with this!
Embracing our fear of being heard, and developing courage to be heard is tremendously powerful. Being vulnerable is being open, fragile, soft and at the same time incredibly strong and commanding of the space. When you choose to be heard and to be vulnerable, you command the space, you channel the power of your presence. There is no longer anything to protect or defend against. Nothing can harm you because you’ve taken utter responsibility for everything in the space – your fear, your desire to express, your vulnerability, and all the other people in the room with you. You become ready and willing to receive the attention of other's listening to you. When you step into being heard, no one can mess with you, because in doing so, you HAVE become completely aligned with your truth, your power, your wiliness to express in the face of your fear. When you choose to take up that kind of space and allow others in, you become all powerful and no matter what you share, it will be incredible. When you stop denying your power, it is impossible to fail.
Remember: Anytime you create a block of separation between yourself and others you don't allow music to do what it does naturally – connect people. When you become willing to be vulnerable and heard, when you step up to receive and to share, the music will do the rest.
What does this have to do with stillness?
Stillness is the space where we can begin to inquire into our most light-filled selves, and our darkest shadow selves. When we are still and go within, we can begin to acknowledge our fear, accept it, forgive it and move forward. Stillness is where we discover what wants to be expressed. Stillness is where we step into our willingness to be heard. Remember, silence is the birth place of all sound. Stillness is the birth-place of being heard.
The practice of receiving is learning to stay with that uncomfortable vulnerability, and in that space of poise and courage the pathway to expressing our true voice unfolds with grace and ease.
As we emerge out of the darkest day of the year, I invite you to step into your light, confront your fear of being heard not with fear and aggression, but with loving acknowledgment.
In a state of stillness, become willing to let go of any way you self-sabotage your desire to be heard. It may take some time to BE IN THE DARK and stay with the uncomfortable realization that you keep others from truly hearing you. I invite you to release and forgive any relationships or places where you don’t feel fully understood and heard. And, using the receiving practice* and the practice of being still, allow others to witness you just as you are, and just as you long to be witnessed.
Blessings and Love,
* To learn the receiving practice, come to a SSOL Introductory Workshop in your area. Email Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org with a request to come to your area and teach this practice, or let her know your interest in receiving an online version of this teaching as it becomes available