The High Cost of Blocking Your Expression

unknown artist found on Pinterest

unknown artist found on Pinterest

I’m with my Breathwork family on a training retreat this week in the beautiful Sandia Crest Mountains.  I’m wildly enjoying having a huge break from my technology but I wanted to send a little message about something I learned this week that felt important for me and maybe for you too. 


I made a promise to my teacher and myself before our New Year’s Eve retreat that I would sing a song for the group….and I didn’t.  I was too afraid and while I probably needed a few more lessons to feel comfortable, it still felt like an excuse.  The whole weekend became a really painful battle between not being too hard on myself and feeling like I was really letting myself down.


Part of my identity is being someone who is true to their word and who doesn’t back away when something is scary.  Not doing what I said I was going to felt like a self-betrayal.  I felt a lot of grief and a lot of guilt that weekend from not showing up for myself.  It really impacted my enjoyment of the weekend as I carried the tension of wanting to sing, but continuing to block my expression with fear and feeling bad about it. 


To be clear, I’ve always identified more as a shower singer, a quiet under the breath in the car with other people singer, a majorly off key but enthusiastic Happy Birthday song singer.  But I was not someone who was comfortable in the least singing in front of other people.


With the love and encouragement of my teacher, I started voice lessons last fall.  Part of what I am healing within myself is being fully seen for who I am and feeling comfortable taking up space.  The voice lessons have really supported this and have been healing me in a huge way. 


So this time, it was a must.  There was no way I was going to leave this place without opening my mouth and letting my heart song come through.  When my teacher asked if anyone had anything to share for creative expression, I tentatively raised my hand. 


My lips had been trembling and vibrating almost since we arrived.  I could tell it was my body’s signal that it was time.  There couldn’t be anymore hiding. 


I had reached a point of reckoning with myself that I knew it was this weekend or else.  I couldn’t choose to hide again because my self-esteem would suffer, my confidence would deflate and I would be making a choice to choose fear instead of freedom.


There is a very high cost to holding in your expression. 


There is a cost to your healing.  There is a cost to your vitality.  There is a cost to your growth.  There is a high cost to your emotional balance.


If you have always wanted to paint, write, sing, teach yoga, make jewelry, hold ceremony, lead groups, play an Instrument-it will hurt you if you don’t bring it out.   Even if it’s just a glimmer.  Even if you don’t think you can do it.  Especially if you don’t think you can do it. 


Anything we bring through with our voice and anything we make with our hands comes through our hearts.  It is the fastest way to channel any of our sticky hurts out of the body.  Every time you create, you ferry out another layer of sadness or woundedness.  We can’t lie to ourselves when we create. 


Anxiety and depression can take many forms for many reasons.  One way I see it in myself is like a humming crackly blanket that lays over my heart expression and says you’re not good enough to do this and maybe you never will be.  It’s the uneasy battle between my soul shouting out “I need to!  I want to!” and my fear shutting up my desire.  Or it can take the shape of being washed over with a feeling of fatigue and apathy. 


The throat chakra is a fascinating energy center.  It is the guardian that protects your insides from your outsides.  We can block our expression through not speaking, not telling the truth or speaking about everything else but what we are actually feeling.  When you sing, you cannot lie as the sound emerges from the seat of your emotional body in your belly and rings out through the heart. 


What you need to say, what you need to feel and what you need to share with the world can be lodged anywhere in your body.  For me, it hangs out in my throat and my heart.  For you, it might be stagnating somewhere else. 


The way to unblock yourself is to break through.  Gather your courage.  Claim your space.


I opened my mouth and sang acapella in front of 40 people.  Many joined in with me because I asked for support.  I stayed in body.  I sang as strongly as I could and received the biggest gift of seeing all of these faces beaming back sweetness and love.    


And within a matter of minutes, I became one of those people who sings. 


All my love to you.