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I’ve never been one who is great at speaking and expressing myself succinctly. My sister used to tell me (with love) that I mumble and jumble especially when I get nervous.
Back at school, I was the girl who would sit at the back of the classroom and would never raise my hand to speak, unless I really had to.
I was born as the youngest in my family, so naturally I was used to following what I was told to do. My voice was rarely heard. Growing up in a Chinese society, it was also best to just stay quiet and do what I was told.
I’ve gotten a bit better over the years, I must say. When I was studying at an American high school, I had to learn to speak up in group discussions and presentations. Eventually when I joined the workforce, and later started my own business, I had a lot of challenging occasions when I had to speak up. Looking back now, I know these were all opportunities planted by the Universe to nudge me to grow and evolve.
I still struggle to speak my truth sometimes. I’d rather retrieve to a cave and stay there forever, never needing to say what I think or how I feel. But I also know that the world needs my voice, as much as I need the world to hear my voice. That’s what we are all born here to do – to share our unique gifts and voices.
As I’m writing this blog today, I’m reflecting on what practices have truly helped me to build up the courage to speak my truth. Here are my top 3 tips on how to express your authentic voice:
If you have read my card reading blog for this lunar cycle’s theme “POWER” (see blog here), you know how much I love Bhakti Yoga. Chanting is not limited to Bhakti Yoga only though. In every religion and spiritual tradition, there is always some kind of singing, chanting and maybe even a bit of dancing. For example, in shamanic traditions, Shamans sing and dance to shift their awareness from everyday life to tapping into the unseen realms.
Singing, itself, already has a lot of health benefits. According to the online article “The Health Benefits of Singing a Tune” by the Chicago Tribune, singing may release stress-reducing hormones, boost our immune system, improve mental alertness, and can reduce loneliness when singing with a group.
Chanting to me is singing as a spiritual practice. It is not about comparing or being judged by others. When we chant, we open our heart space and invite Divine Grace and Love to come into our lives. It also helps me to connect with my singing voice coming from my heart and soul space. The more I chant, the more confident I become with expressing my authentic voice in all areas of my life.
Explore Devotional Chanting through Bhakti Yoga:
- My teacher Heidi Trigar hosts kirtan and sound circles regularly in Melbourne, Australia and occasionally these events are offered online. Be sure to follow her Instagram (@heiditrigar) or Facebook page here for updates.
- “Become a Pilgrim on the Path of Love through Devotional Chanting” with Krishna Das: an online course organized by The Shift Network starting on June 16, 2021. Experience the wonders of devotional chanting with world-renowned kirtan artist Krishna Das. Of course, I have signed up for this.
2. Journaling and Soul Writing
Before I got into chanting, the one practice that helped me to express my authentic voice is journaling. I fell in love with journaling when I was 16, attending a summer course for writing. The teachers asked us to journal as part of the coursework, and it was then I discovered the beauty of journaling.
I know I have mentioned journaling so many times in my blogs but I cannot say it enough. Journaling gives us a safe space to express our true feelings and to have an honest conversation with ourselves. I like to write down my dreams, questions, challenges, insights, feelings and emotions that I experience as a way to check in with myself. The more I write, and the more honest I am with myself, the more in tune I become with my own inner emotional landscape.
Journaling is like the first step for me to express my voice to myself, and Soul Writing is the second step to express my voice to others. It doesn’t mean that it has to happen this way for everyone, but it has just happened this way for me.
Last year I took a 6-week online Soul Writing course with my dear friend Sarah Walton, founder of Soul Writing. I’ve done Soul Writing sessions with Sarah before and we have co-facilitated Soul Writing retreats here at Museflower, but that time I just wanted to enjoy the course as a student.
Soul Writing is a process where Sarah guides us into a meditative state and writes down what comes through our heart and soul space. I’m always amazed at what kind of story is coming through when I’m in the “Soul Writing” state.
Sarah also asked us to read out loud what we wrote during the course. It is very powerful to speak and hear the words coming from our heart and soul space. If you want to read my short soul story called “My Soul’s Sanctuary” that I shared on Sarah’s website, feel free to check it out here.
When I express myself creatively, insecurities, doubts, and criticisms from my childhood years resurface. I definitely feel that I am (still) not a good-enough writer, a good-enough artist, or a good-enough singer but I am aware of my inner critic voice and know when I need to ask for help.
But that’s also the beauty of Soul Writing. Whatever comes up through Soul Writing is actually a reflection of our inner landscape. We are writing ourselves to wholeness as we allow our imagination to take us through a soul journey and to overcome obstacles on our inner hero or heroine’s journey. Soul Writing has definitely helped me express and embrace my creative authentic voice much better.
Explore Soul Writing:
- Learn to write a fairytale through your intuition with Sarah’s upcoming “Online Soul Writing Fairytale Workshop” on July 3, 2021. Sarah’s offering it free if you purchase a copy of her book “Sophia’s Tale” and leave her a 5-star Amazon book review or the cost is 45 GBP for this 3-hour workshop (still worth it).
- Join Sarah and I on a 30-day heroine’s journey with Soul writing, meditation, chanting and more in our next “Soul Bliss Retreat – Harness Your Feminine Power online programme” this October 2021. Registration opens in August but you can subscribe to our Soul Bliss Retreat newsletter here meanwhile to receive a free monthly wellness gift to help express your soul’s voice.
3. Let Go of Perfect and Just Practice
This tip is like an obvious one but as a recovering borderline perfectionist, I know that I have the tendency to not start anything unless I know it is going to be perfect.
Like I recently shared in our Museflower newsletter, I had an idea of creating spirituality-related videos since I was pregnant in 2018. But I knew how much time it would take me to create videos, and I also knew that there were already so many quality videos in the online space – why would anyone want to watch the videos I make anyway? What difference would it make?
I didn’t want to get started, because I knew the end result was not going to be as perfect as I had envisioned in my head. I followed through my idea eventually due to the global pandemic, and now the digital realm has become one of Museflower’s ways to connect and support our guests.
I didn’t think that I was going to be speaking in front of the camera until I watched Collette Baron-Reid’s videos on sharing her weekly oracle card readings. It inspired me to create my own weekly oracle card reading videos just with my iPhone and posted them on my other channel @taniasoulguide until end of last year.
I was so nervous speaking in front of the camera for the first many many times. The very first time when I was filming, I wrote the entire script so I could just read it off from a teleprompter app. But it did get easier and easier (here’s the practice part) and now I’m not as nervous as I was one year ago.
What I realize is that making videos is really something I’m doing for myself, a way to express my creativity. I remind myself that what I’m creating is a form of art. Creating art takes time and it is a skill that takes practice, like any other spiritual practices.
Still I wish I could speak like Jim Kwik or Oprah. But who knows? Maybe someday.
Explore What These Inspiring Women Say About Perfectionism:
“Perfectionism is fear in really good shoes,” said Elizabeth Gilbert.
‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, judgment, and blame,” said Brene Brown.