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Harmonious Expression


Harmonious Expression

“In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.”
- Vincent Van Gogh




Dear Friend
For many of us our voice is a crucial part of our daily activity and the boom in mobile phone technology demonstrates the strength of our desire to feel connected and in communication with each other. Here’s a few thoughts on the qualities of harmonious expression.

Intention
This basically means being very clear about WHY we are sounding/singing/ speaking. Intention brings connection to our deeper levels of awareness and motivation and produces clarity of communication.  If I waffle on about something without really knowing why it’s important to me, I will sound disconnected and boring.  If I am transparent about my intent to resolve an issue, my communication will be clear and invite others to connect with me.

Embodiment
Our voice is an instrument that resides within our bodies.  It is intimately connected to all levels of our wellbeing and is supported by a healthy diet, regular exercise and relaxation practices. Helpful exercises include those that encourage deep breathing, open posture and a relaxed body - allowing our voice to become fully embodied and resonant.

Spontaneity
Every act of expression involves a level of risk-taking - venturing into the unknown, not knowing how we will be received.  Some expressions such as  ‘can you pass the salt?’ are low risk, whereas giving a speech to a crowded conference or raising a difficult issue with a partner raises the stakes.  The way to befriend this is to connect with our spontaneity - the most alive part of us that loves taking risks because it knows that is how we grow, through fully experiencing the present moment.  Recalling what we loved doing as children - splashing in puddles or climbing up trees - helps us reconnect with our spontaneity, as does playing games and meditating.  Spontaneity brings us into a focussed yet expansive state, allowing us to be playful, creative, self-aware and receptive.

Rhythm
The tempo of our expression marks it out in time and space - if we are person who is anxious about time or taking up airspace we may rush our speech, whereas if we are loose around time we may find ourselves getting into prolonged conversations or running overtime in presentations.  Breathing exercises can be really helpful here, enabling us to regulate our pace - as can dancing or rhythm games that heighten our awareness and enjoyment of our movement through time and space.

Harmony
Every expression takes place in a context and community - even if we are whistling alone whilst walking a country path, our whistle is part of a soundscape that includes rustling leaves, scurrying insects and tweeting birds.   Harmonising involves being true to our own unique sound whilst blending it with everything around us - we may raise our voice in a noisy bar or whisper in a quiet place of worship.  In choral singing we learn to blend with those around us, developing a stereophonic listening that allows us to both hear ourselves and attune to the sound of the whole group.  This emphasises that expression is as much about listening as it is as sounding and that fine tuning our inner and outer listening enables us to communicate harmoniously.

Wishing you a happy and harmonious July