The natural world was my second parent. I spent my first two years of life in a tiny mountain town outside of Boulder, Colorado. My young body was imprinted with fresh mountain air and the smell of the evergreens. In high school we lived half an hour from a northern California town down a two mile long dirt road. We had acres of land filled with manzanita, gray pines, ponderosas, and large granite boulders. There were fox and coyote and mountain lions. Our land faced west and we had stunning sunsets every night.
I never fit in at school. The combination of moving every couple years and coming from a very alternative family left me always feeling on the outside. But when I was on the land, I felt a deep sense of home. I spent many hours as a teenager sitting on a granite boulder overlooking the great valley below. There was a peace and a belonging that I only felt on the land. I felt I could be most fully myself at these times. Sometimes I prayed or did sun salutations, but what fed me the most was to sing. My voice rose out of me so naturally, pouring notes of song over the valley. I sang songs without words, songs of pure emotion and prayer. The wildness of my voice met the rawness of the land. There was no judgment. Just an invitation to bring myself fully forward into connection with my surroundings.
I believe that we all have this wildness inside of us. Sometimes it is buried deep and comes into awareness only in brief glimpses. Sometimes it expresses itself in ways that are surprising or even shocking. I have now facilitated many circles of people singing their “Spirit Songs.” In many ways it is such a simple process, but I am in awe over and over again at what happens when a person opens their voice in this way. There is something deeply archetypal and magical. Something shamanic, and that is not a word I use lightly.
Our voices are so close to our inner world, especially when we open them to song. Babies explore their voices from an early age with absolute freedom. Children sing exuberantly until they are conditioned by societal norms. One dictionary definition of “wild” is “uncontrolled or unrestrained, esp. in pursuit of pleasure.” Opening our voices to allow our authentic expression to move through us can be profoundly pleasurable. It can also open layers of grief about all the ways we learned to restrict ourselves, to control and restrain our original nature.
The full expression of your voice is your birthright. It is a powerful channel we each have to connect with our deep insides, to reveal ourselves naked and full to those we trust, and to return to our original belonging with all that is wild and untamed on this earth.