Singing Your Heart Out


The human voice is the most powerful and effective musical instrument, or tool, for the holistic healing of the human organism. Whether it is one’s own voice or the voices of others, a healing vocal sound touches us not only in our bodies but in our souls as well. – Kay Gardner – Sounding the Inner Landscape

Aging has done a number on my voice. Her range is lower and frustratingly narrow. She’s become unpredictable, at times crackling and creaking. Frankly, she’s been a disappointment. I hung her in the closet some years ago, pulling her out only on the rare occasion when an old friend requests I sing a lullaby, a grace, or a benediction. Otherwise, this once powerful instrument that used to open all manner of doors to me has been allowed to tarnish and fade.

Then Steve handed me a book one morning while I visited him and his wife, one of my dearest friends, Sharon. I read the first few paragraphs, and there rose up in me such a powerful whoop of energy, I had to lay the book back down, breathe a bit, and pace. The book: Toning: The Creative Power of the Voice by Elizabeth Laurel Keyes. It was days before I dared look again.

I knew the end had come. I could no longer reject my voice and let it languish in neglect. I had to sit up straight, fill with air, and release sound. I had to follow my voice like a writer follows her pencil or a painter her brush, and discover all the light and heat I had stored away.

She compelled me to restore the practice of offering voicing circles to others. All the better that she creaks and can’t always be controlled. Perhaps her age and apparent lack of conventional beauty will give others permission to belt out their tunes. I can’t say. But she won’t let me be unless I share the joy.

Elena Singing Otter and I offer the third in our series, Singing Your Heart Out: The Healing Power of Your Voice, Saturday, 7 February.

You are warmly invited.