You know how crazy I am about authenticity, right? I've always believed that there's a wise being inside of each of us, which you can only access if you're open to it. You can call it intuition, spirit, inner wisdom, authentic voice or truth. It's all the same thing.
A week ago, my authentic voice was completely jammed. I would rather listen to other people, distract myself with to do list's, and be a world-class jerk than sitting still for a minute and allowing my wisdom to tell me something I didn't want to hear.
I was on a war path. I would do this my way, dammit!
Poor thing, I wouldn't even let it pick the movie we'd watch! I just shoved it in the back and let my control freak run the parade until I burnt out. That's the curious thing - I didn't get tired by working too hard this time, but by ignoring what I KNEW had to happen in order for me to replenish my energy and be able to give 100% in my work, and my life.
This whole time, my voice was screaming, but I wasn't listening.
Why do we do this? Why can't we trust its wisdom? Why do we feel the need to suffocate and bury it under fears, doubts, and distractions? How can we open ourselves back to it after a long period of keeping it silent? When was the last time you heard it?
Let me try to answer by exploring some strategies I've used in the past.
1. Listen to the wise ones.
You do not listen to wise and inspiring individuals so they can give you the answers. If you're doing that, sorry, but you're doing this wrong. What "the wise ones" bring to the equation is a courage, an example. By showing you that they trust their voices and reaching out to yours in a vulnerable way, they're giving you permission to do the same.
In essence, they're empowering your own authentic voice.
When I listen to Elizabeth Gilbert, I feel empowered to create and play. When I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk, I'm empowered to do what I do best and f*ck the status quo. When I listen to Marie Forleo, I'm empowered to follow my path and trust it. :)
The opposite of letting the wise ones empower your voice is to listen to them without letting your own voice break through. It's like you've replaced your voice with theirs in some wicked attempt to achieve what they did. But trust me, you'll never feel happy or fulfilled if you're forcing yourself into being somebody else.
The more you listen to other people's voices at the expense of your own, the more you dilute it.
What about you? Who are your wise ones? You should write their names down and "consult them" when you need this kind of empowerment. And definitely remember to not let anyone dilute your voice because it matters more than any other.
2. Create a wise one within you.
Apart from seeking empowerment from others, you can also create a wise one and let them rent some space in your head. I named mine Nereth years ago, and she still visits. Nereth is a fictional character who looks like a mermaid and lives in the river. Sometimes she's old, sometimes young, and sometimes she floats on a bed of rocks.
She reminds me of Ariel. (Coincidentally, her voice was taken from her.)
I know talking to a fictional character inside my head is crazy, but she has helped me overcome many moments of darkness in my life. Since I'm the one who created her, she wouldn't just leave or betray me. Therefore I have a trusted friend who is wise, has my back, and appears on demand (this is important).
Every time I find myself in a crisis, I meditate and conjure Nereth, who then clarifies things for me. Granted, she doesn't clarify so much as give me riddles and smiles mysteriously, but still... her wisdom has power in it; a power which we need when it's really hard to hear anything from within.
3. Be the wise one.
The thing about picturing a wise creature inside of your head is that sooner or later you realize - YOU are the wise one, not something outside of you.
What you're conjuring and tapping into is not an entity separate from you, but your own authentic voice.
Sometimes we need to picture another face because we don't trust that we're capable of coming up with the answers ourselves. But it doesn't have to be that way.
I know it's hard. You don't just snap your fingers and find the answer. You don't just read something and say, Right, I'm ready to do this. To be ready, you first need to see the truth - YOU are the wise one and the WISDOM is within you. Once you realize this, you'll be able to hold onto your voice & summon it when you most need to.
It's what Gabby Bernstein did when her voice told her to do what she does best after spinning out of control. It's what Julia Cameron does when she sits down to write her morning pages with suspended judgment and open heart. And it's what Erica did when her voice told her to break up with her best friend because they weren't right for each other.
Your voice might tell you things you want to hear or just the opposite, but YOUR JOB is to open up and trust that it will always have your back
4. Some tools and resources.
Now, I want you to walk away with some tools and exercises that will help you connect with your authentic voice. Otherwise I won't be able to sleep tonight!
- Allison Fallon is a writing coach, who wrote a guide called "Writing to Find Yourself". It's a story about how she found her voice in her writing and she gives us exercises to do the same for ourselves. Reading it inspired me to write this article.
- Gabby Bernstein has some guided meditations - this one being her best - and if you believe in flow, synchronicity, and miracles, she's your girl.
- Have you ever had a feeling of deva vu? Or seen signs? If you have ever experienced something like that, you know exactly what I'm talking about. They say angels use those to guide us on our way. So go ahead and ask the Universe if you're on the right path. If you are, it will tell you in a language you'll understand.
- Use your art to connect to your authentic voice. Sit down in front of a canvas or your computer or grab your tuba, and then just start creating WITHOUT thinking about it. Don't doubt, don't edit, don't stop. Sometimes you just need to get the BS and insignificant thoughts out of the way to get to the meat of it.
- Make up characters in your head and name them. You can give your Inner Critic a horrible name and your Inner Cheerleader a wonderful one. You can even try to name your wise one, like I have. And remember, you make the rules.
- Martha Beck says our bodies know the truth better than our minds. That's because your mind has been trained your whole life. By the time you're an adult, you have all kinds of stereotypes and associations brewing in there. This is why noticing your body's reaction to something can help you see how you really feel about it.
And most of all, TRUST the answers you get the first time. Don't force the process. If you rush it or try to control it, the answers will run away from you. Your authentic voice really wants to speak up, and it does so slowly, quietly, and surely.
You'll KNOW when it's your voice speaking.
Question for you.
A week ago, my authentic voice was completely jammed.
Today, I listen carefully. I don't want to go back to ignoring it because this feels so much more genuine and right. The sooner you open up, the better.
So my question is a little bit personal this time:
Do you feel like your authentic voice is saying something right now that you're refusing to hear?
Don't worry, you don't have to share your answer. I know this is personal and I don't want you to be uncomfortable. I just ask that you ask yourself this question and listen to the answer. Just go somewhere quiet and meditate for a minute.
Good luck! And thank you for listening to my authentic voice! :)
I don't always let it write, but I did this time.