On the phone I’m often been mistaken for my daughter… it’s nice if someone thinks I’m young enough to be my daughter when we meet in person, but not so much when they are basing it on my voice alone. Especially for a 52-year-old law firm partner who hopes to speak with authority. I’ve always assumed my high pitch was something that I was born with, for better or worse, and never thought about how sounding that way may have impacted my life.
That changed this summer, when someone listening to the story of my life asserted that I was afraid to stand up for myself. Not so, I protested. I do stand up for myself, when it’s something I care about, and I always have. Even when it meant I’d be punished. Rather than taking the easy way out and just agreeing to whatever my parents wanted me to say, I insisted on saying what I felt, what I knew to be right, my truth. But it was if my words held no meaning, they were just letters strung together that didn’t have any effect. I was talking, but no one was listening to me.
“Maybe that’s because your voice is so high,” the woman hearing my story said. “You may have thought you were protesting, but no one was listening because your voice made you so easy to ignore.” Huh? I’d always focused on the WORDS I was saying, my Protest. I hadn’t thought the pitch and tone with which my words were being spoken could be responsible for my being ignored. Interesting.
I told the woman teaching a day-long Chakra class I was taking about what I’d heard, and asked her what she thought of the theory. “It makes perfect sense to me,” she said. “You weren’t coming across with authority, as someone who should be listened to, because you weren’t grounded,” she said. “And you still speak the same way.”
So I started doing some exercises each day designed to “unblock” my first Chakra, the chakra associated with grounding ourselves. Then I bought Maya Fiennes‘ series of Chakra tapes, and worked on Chakra 5, which is all about the voice, and speaking the Truth. And I woke up early enough to do the exercises on the tape every single day for 43 days in a row, determined to get myself in balance.
Here’s a good blog post on Chakra 5.
According to the blog cited above, people with Throat Chakra (5) issues often have TMJ, grind their teeth, have skin irritations, and/or shoulder pain. Check, Check, Check. And Check. My teeth enamel is severely worn from the years of grinding my teeth, and my checks hurt from TMJ. And I get skin irritations whenever I’m under stress. Again, per the blog, when the Throat Chakra is out of balance the person can have emotional issues such as shyness, self-criticism, low self-esteem and frustration. OK, check to all of those, too. My mother’s nickname for me growing up was “Shy-Ass” as in “Don’t be such a Shy Ass.” But I was, anyway, much to her disappointment. And I’m my own worst critic, never believing I’ve done well enough unless there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. (A 95 is OK, but I never felt I really did good unless a nice, round, perfect 100 was marked on my paper.) And while I don’t feel like I’m critical of others, many of my past boyfriends would, I fear, beg to differ. I never understood why they felt I was tough on them, but maybe it’s because I’m so tough on myself that I thought I was letting them off easy.
Moreover, the cited blog points out that, when chakra five is imbalanced, it may manifest in chronic sore throats and mouth and gum ulcers. I had so many horrible strep throats that the doctor had me scheduled to remove my tonsils as soon as I was old enough. Fortunately for me my sore throats seemed to miraculously go away for long enough to escape the knife. But I’ve been plagued with sore throats, and the need to constantly clear my throat (my kids say they can find me in any crowd because they know I’ll be clearing my throat in an apparently distinctive way), as long as I can remember.
Clearly there seem to be reason enough to give working on improving my Throat Chakra a try. Never one to do things half-way, I also signed up for a Voice class at the local university, and we just finished our six-class session this week. I loved it, and my classmates seemed to enjoy my presentations, and the combination of being aware of the issue, regularly exercising in a way that benefits the throat (through neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, etc.), and working on diaphragmatic breathing, projection and all the patters and tongue-twisters my voice teacher gave us to practice has me feeling like I’m speaking with more authority already. And it feels good. I feel more confident. I feel like, finally, all those things I’ve always had to say can now be said with confidence, with authority, with a voice that commands attention. Guess I’d better be sure I have good things to say!
- Throat (Vishuddha) Chakra (sensualblissvoyager.wordpress.com)