Several years ago I was working at Apple, Inc. running big projects, learning a ton about leadership, and steadily burning out. When my body and mind became so sick I couldn't ignore it, I decided to quit and go on a search for the answers to what ailed me.
A windy and unpredictable journey was about to begin. And the results of this outer and inner journey were farther reaching than I could have dreamed.
After I quit Apple, I began to travel to different countries in pursuit of internal peace, confidence, and purpose. What I found was example after example of people who were able to use their voice with ease, sing with abandon, and communicate powerful messages with confidence. My soul ached with desire whenever I saw the expansiveness, fearlessness, and freedom in another. I wanted to be that free.
See, I used to have a panic attack at the thought of karaoke. I used to obsessively review conversations. I didn't know how to stand up for myself, speak my truth, and certainly not share my heart's desires with the world. As I traveled I began to realize that what was ailing my body and mind was overwhelming fear, anxiety, and self judgement. And as a result of these fears, the authentic me, my voice, was silent and hidden deep inside.
Other people could use their voice with ease, sing with abandon and communicate powerful messages with confidence.
So I chose to take a leap toward the confidence and freedom that I craved so desperately. I signed up for the scariest thing I could imagine - singing lessons. I found an english speaking opera teacher in Vienna and dragged myself to her home. She asked me to sing and I stood there with my mouth open and a look of terror in my eyes. Poor woman didn't know what to think. After some internal Rocky style pep talking I finally managed to sing "He's a Tramp" by Peggy Lee. Her face was priceless. She looked at me with curiosity and said, "Alright.". We started at the beginning. She taught me the basics: breathing, opening up my body and warming up my voice. I spent 2 months working with her before moving on in my travels. By the time I left I was able to sing a simple musical theater song without totally panicking.
My experience in Vienna taught me about starting somewhere; having to be imperfect, at the very beginning, feeling like an idiot and starting anyway.
It was time to take the next step. A couple months later, hanging out in Hawaii, I ran across an online add for open auditions at San Francisco's Beach Blanket Babylon (a funny, campy cabaret show that ran from 1974 - 2019). I remember telling my husband that we'd need to be back in SF by September so I could audition and also to not let me chicken out. (I tried many times, he didn't let me). I chose two songs to sing to and practiced my toosh off. Finally the day came. Hundreds of people audition for a spot in this act so for hours I waited for my little group of 10 to be called up. My nerves were through the roof and I did everything I could to calm down my body and mind. My turn came. The accompanying pianist took my sheet music. I walked to the mic. He played the intro bars to my rehearsed Lady Gaga song. I opened my mouth. And nothing came out. I stood there with my mouth open, my mind completely blank. I couldn't think of a single word, much less the first line of my song. I recovered and said, "I'm so sorry, if I could just try that again?". Generously the pianist acted like it was his fault for playing too fast and went again. (Keep in mind there is a panel of producers watching me and all the other hundred waiting aspiring singers sitting behind them.) The pianist repeated the intro bars, my mouth opened, and again...nothing came out. I didn't feel anything, not not even nervous. All was blank. Eventually I managed to sing the first couple lines (and they were so sweet for letting me try again) before they stopped me, thanked me, and I took my seat. All I could think of was a. how funny this would feel in time and b. what had just happened?
This was my first experience with how nerves/emotion/energy can overwhelm the mind's best laid plans. I needed help. I found a long term singing teacher in San Francisco (Christine Jarc - if you're there and want an incredibly patient, knowledgable and healing teacher) and began to study opera - because if you're gonna go for it, why not freaking go for it?
I continued to sing in private lessons but I could tell it was time for the next leap. I joined an intensive method acting class. There I became really familiar with the world of present moment authentic expression. I also learned that some teachers want you to adopt their voice instead of listening to your own.
Steve and I went traveling again and I found more evidence of freedom in the unlikeliest places (like North Korea). When we returned I began to study and work as a voice over artist. I became nimble in my voice's expression and pushed silliness to an extreme. I also learned how imagination is the key to storytelling.
Then I began commercial acting and learned how to sparkle on camera, how to recover from embarrassment and most importantly, how doing anything not connected to the soul is not worth my time.
On and on this loop went - learn, try, fail, grow, achieve, change directions, learn, try, fail, grow, achieve.
Every new skill I attempted would first bring me face to face with a new fear. Fear of looking stupid, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not being enough/doing enough, fear of being rejected, fear of being accepted, fear of being exposed, fear of being wrong about this whole journey. I'd stick with each terrifying thing until the fear would ease and confidence, gradually, took it's place. My voice was getting stronger and I was inching closer to the freedom I craved.
But as helpful as my outward journey was to inching me toward freedom. The deeper change was happening from the inward work I was doing in parallel. As I continued to "do" outwardly, I also was learning how to "be" inwardly.
I worked for years with a therapist and got to know my inner critic really well. I studied shamanism and learned how to create in the quantum field, take my power back, and use my magical voice. I practiced embodiment dance and became safe in the fullest expression of my subconscious emotions. I studied systems like astrology, psychic readings, and akashic record research and began to heal my relationship with my intuition. Slowly but surely I was uncovering the authentic *me*.
And all this work was having some profound results. I could express in song no matter who was listening. I could be visible with less backlash of self doubt. I felt secure in my own body, my own mind and even my voice's expression.
But I was discovering I could do more than what I'd initially set out to do.
Like setting boundaries in difficult relationships. Effectively defending myself in dangerous situations. Asking for my wildest dreams to come true. Connecting with others in patience and love. And even sharing my deepest heart desires with the world.
What had happened in my journey that had so profoundly unlocked this ability to express this much truth, power, and magic?
I knew I'd set out to be able to sing without fear. To be as "free" as I saw mirrored in others. And I'd found that and it felt awesome. But there was something more that wanted to come out of this journey. I felt pregnant with an idea. Every ounce of my concentration went to the question: what is brewing inside of me?
I changed my name to prepare. I moved to a more peaceful home to prepare. I sat in stillness and questioned endlessly over Marco Polo with friends to prepare. I stopped working. I stopped trying. For almost 6 months I stopped pretty much everything.
And in Februrary 2019 I had an urge. I wanted a singing bowl. NOW. My endlessly supportive husband surprised me with one the next week. I wanted to decorate the small spare room in my new house to be a meditation space. I put it together in a couple days. And then I sat in the room. With my bowl. And waited.
And I began to sing.
Not like before. Not like fun, silly, goofy, operatic, or diva singing.
A song of my soul.
An expression that felt like the me that I had uncovered and was only just beginning to know.
I felt possessed. I stopped talking to friends and got even more quiet. I felt overwhelmed. I danced and moved and continued to sing this mysterious song. Steve got me more singing bowls. I voiced even stranger songs. The goddess Lilith came to me in visions and asked me if I was ready. I told her and my body and my voice that I was.
And then the rush of channeling ceased.
And I was left with a baby. I named her after the goddess who had worked with me, the audience she is for, and the key she is to unlock. Wild Feminine Voice.
She is my baby. My gift. My love. My passion. And my greatest teacher. I have no idea what she'll grow up to become. But I'm honored to be her mother.
Looking back at where I started, I can see why it took me so long to get to this point of understanding. I had so much to learn, to uncover, and to prepare. In my own body, mind, voice, relationships, and environment. And I've got plenty more to uncover, to create, to challenge and overcome. But now that I'm at home in my body, my mind, my voice and my purpose, the journey is all I need.
I teach and share what I've learned in order to integrate power, safety, and magic back into the collective feminine. I continue to uncover and integrate in my own life. I continue to expand my voice.
This story doesn't really have an ending I guess. There was no arrival point because I've not yet arrived. What I can say is that the journey is lighter and more enjoyable now than when I started. And, while I didn't know it then (you should have heard me complain about the journey while I was in it), I know now how it was utterly worth it. Every step, every pain, every frustration, every micro victory.
My desire in writing this out is to a. entertain you with my story and b. share my voice with the world. Because I've learned how powerful a voice can be.