The past week has involved a lot of learning in the area of embodied expression – from my own life & those of my clients.
It’s lead me to ponder the ingredients required let our unfiltered, full potency expression feel both:
A) fully sensed inside our body &
B) fully voiced out into the world
Definitely tune in IF you find yourself:
+ Habitually shutting down your impulse to speak up (and as a result feeling frustrated)
+ Giving disclaimers before you speak (“don’t want to center me… but”)
+ Avoiding expression to avoid conflict
+ Feeling awaked asking for help (or asking for a sale)
+ Double guessing if your sound & voice is “right”, or if you’re just “copying others”
This episode also includes a short guided voice activation embodiment practice at the 25min mark #epic
As always I’d love to hear from you. So please do EXPRESS yourself & hits reply to let me know what your current expression challenge is &/or what landed for you from this week’s discussion.
READ THE FULL EPISODE HERE [PODCAST TRANSCRIPT]
Jenna: Earlier this week, I was chatting with a client about how she dishonors herself, and she shared this example. “Some days, I’m at work having a conversation with colleagues, peers, friends, and I noticed this impulse within me arises to speak up, share, contribute my voice to a discussion. But very often, I also have the thought, ‘Hmm, that’s not appropriate. It’s not relevant. Maybe it’s not valuable or it’s not welcome,’ and so I stifle that impulse within me. I don’t contribute it. I don’t let my voice be heard.”
Jenna: I thought that was a really interesting exploration of dishonoring yourself because not allowing your expression, the impulse to actualize yourself in the world is actually a really common and beautiful example of dishonoring yourself. I asked this client, “What do you feel are the long term implications of stifling this impulse?” She shared with me, “well, there’s two. The first and the most overt is that I feel really frustrated in my work environment. I’m frustrated at myself, and I’m also frustrated at the organization that I work with.” I can absolutely agree. Interestingly, for a lot of women, I don’t necessarily know if it was this client’s situation, but for a lot of women, hot on the heels of the frustration comes the resentment and the feelings of heat and anger.
Jenna: The other thing that this client shared in terms of the longer-term side effects of stifling her voice, she described the second side effect to something that was much more subtle, but had a much greater ripple impact. That was that by stifling her voice, in this case, in the work environment, she also noticed that over time, she began to really doubt herself. As that impulse arose, she began to not trust it, to not want to let it out, and we can see a really, really sneaky habit begins to develop for a lot of women.
Jenna: Our body, which is the temple within which our divine nature, our essential nature, our unique nature lives, absolutely knows what and how we want to say what and how we want to express and actualize ourselves out into the world in every situation, in every moment of the day. Yet, when that impulse is denied, when our higher-order, neocontext, neocortex… when our higher-order neocontext… When our higher-order thinking our neocortex says, “No, I’m not going to let that expression out. I’m going to keep that impulse contained,” all of a sudden, what we’re doing is we’re denying our life force energy embodiment. We are denying the impulse that is us flowing out into the world through our expression, and we’re damming up our expression. We’re damming up our life force energy.
Jenna: The long-term effect of damming up our flow, of damming up the essence that is who we are and of containing it is that we become separate from it. Downriver out here in the world, we begin to wonder, “Where is my unique voice? Where is my contribution? Where is my comfort in speaking up and speaking out because I don’t sense it here? It’s not with me.” For many women, it is because in the small moments, we have not honored our expression, and with each of those small moments, we’ve put a rock into the damn wall that is shutting us up.
Jenna: I was also, this week, out to lunch with a girlfriend. She was having business, and relationship, and money stuff happening that we were talking about. Workshopping together was really fun, really nice, nice lunch out. My daughter was there as well, and I had an experience, a personal experience that I wanted to share with her that I thought could be of use. So I said to her, “Well, disclaimer. I don’t want to talk about myself or hijack your conversation, but maybe if you’re interested to hear, there’s this experience that I have had, which I’d like to share.”
Jenna: She said to me… She’s a dear friend, and she said to me, “Hey, Jenna. You don’t have to give that disclaimer anymore.” It really rocked me for six because I thought, “Do I give this disclaimer a lot?” Upon reflection, I mean, it’s not like I’m doing it every single week, but I’ve heard myself say those words quite a few times. Words to the effect of, “Well, I don’t want to sin to myself,” or, “I’m not trying to make this about me,” or, “I don’t want to hijack the conversation,” or, “Well, I don’t really like talking about me, but I wanted to share this experience.” It made me realize that in giving a disclaimer, I am in effect apologizing for what I want to say. In giving a disclaimer. I am attempting to diminish the radiance of my own voice and my own contribution, and in giving a disclaimer, I am effectively… In my case, what I am doing is assuming that people don’t want to hear about me.
Jenna: I’m wondering if you’ve given any disclaimers around your expression lately. I’ve noticed a few women doing it online this week, and I do not mean to shame you if you have added a disclaimer to your expression. Sometimes they’re really appropriate and sometimes they’re just really superfluous. If somebody doesn’t want to be in conversation with you, if somebody doesn’t want to hear your voice or what you have to contribute, they’re not going to talk to you. Those people who are around talking to you, listening to you, sharing with you, they don’t need your disclaimers. They’re here because they want to be in intimacy with the truth and the beauty that you are, and that means hearing about you from your life perspective. So I’m going to take a little stand here for no more of those types of disclaimers for myself. I wonder what disclaimers you might be ready to let go off too.
Jenna: In this discussion of exploration around expression, the other thing that has happened this week is that I’ve really noticed loud and clear where I avoid expressing to avoid conflict. I would suggest this might be a pretty common one. There’s a discussion that I need to have with a few people in my life. It is a discussion to re-establish new expectations and new agreements, specifically new expectations and agreements about what both parties need to put into the relationship in order for it to be sustainable.
Jenna: Now, some part of me knows that this is a really adult, reasonable conversation to have, and some part of me says, “Oh, I’m rocking the boat. I don’t want to do that. They’re not going to like it.” Deep down, maybe it’s that I’m simply avoiding putting myself in a situation where I might be hurt because if I speak up and I speak out about what my needs are, I know that they may not be met. Is there a situation in your life where you have some needs that you have not spoken up, spoken out, or made new agreements around? It’s easy for us to say, “Oh, I’m just avoiding conflict,” or, “I just haven’t gone around to it,” or, “It’s not the right time,” but let’s support each other now. Let’s call this out for what it is.
Jenna: When we are avoiding expression, when we at not allowing our truths out into the world, the person that we hurt most is ourselves. I would invite you, I’m going to do this right now as well, just to take a real moment to feel what it is like to not speak up and to not ask for that thing that your heart desires most. Every moment that you keep that expression and that desire contained, you hurt yourself. You harm yourself. You ask your heart to deal with a burden that is too heavy and that you want to share the load off, that you want to change and recalibrate. Your heart deserves better. You deserve better.
Jenna: Your voice is one of the key pillars of embodying and actualizing who you are in this world, and when you don’t use your voice, you don’t allow yourself to live as the fullest expression of you. But then, what about this conflict piece? For me, one of the reasons that I’m asking my heart to hurt is because I perceive that there will be conflict. Personally, for me, I don’t actually think that I fear the conflict itself. What I sense that I fear is actually the risk of rejection and that if a disagreement ensures, that disagreement actually means that what that other party is really saying is, “I don’t love you enough to try.” So if I don’t ask, I don’t risk being hurt. It’s actually not about the conflict at all.
Jenna: In my experience, this has been one of the key, absolute key realizations in expressing difficult things more consistently, bringing it back to the absolute root texture of why you’re speaking up in the first place, which is about love. So yes, for me, in this situation, speaking up about the new agreements that I require in order to have intimate relationships might not be received well, to begin with. But if I stay rooted in the truth that this expression is about actually allowing us to love each other more and if I stay connected to the truth that any conflict can be resolved if we’re both coming from a place of love, even if the road is rocky, then all of a sudden, my nervous system relaxes a whole heap more, and I’m so much more likely to show up for this conversation, which is going to be happening in the coming few days.
Jenna: Expression is this tricky, tricky thing, and I want to share a few more examples from my life and also from my clients that help us to unravel all the ways that we stop this really natural flow. It is the most natural orientation of your body to effortlessly without second-guessing, without prejudging, without giving disclaimers, without creating conflict to know what you want to express and to feel free in that expression. I’m going to say that again. It is the most natural orientation of your body to express effortlessly. Yet, it seems like all of us are on a journey back to that state of effortlessness because we have absorbed so much conditioning and expectation, so much microtrauma and actual trauma around the words that are spoken.
Jenna: Even though it is our most default setting to effortlessly express and to embody our truth easily through the words that we speak and the way that we allow ourselves to be heard in the world, it is also true that this is not the experience for the majority of women. Certainly, it was not the experience of a client of mine who is a coach and who is sharing with me just earlier today actually. She said, “I feel really great expressing and speaking out into the world until it comes time to make a sale.” I wonder, do you relate? Do you also feel like it’s okay to be expressing until you need to ask for something?
Jenna: There’s this idea that every human is self-responsible. We should be able to get everything that we need from within us. Yet, at the same time, humans are a communal species. We live in societies. We are dependent on others for so many things, and yet, so many of us have hangups about asking for something. In this case, asking for a sale, but in many cases, asking for support. Recently, I was thinking that there’s a whole heap of women that live around me that I’m really good friends with that love my daughter. Also, I would like to go on a date with my husband again. So I’ve been playing with this idea of, “Could I ask those women that love me, and love my family, and are like family to us? Could I ask those women to support me and my husband go on a date by maybe coming to take care of my daughter for an hour and a half or two?” I’ve been going back and forth in this, and back and forth, and I haven’t actioned it. If I take a moment to really sit with, “Why have I not actioned that?” I guess what’s really there for me and what I sense is, “Am I asking too much?”
Jenna: Many of us are happy to express until it comes to the point where we need to ask for something, ask for support, ask for the sale, ask for help, ask to be supported. I think that’s really stuffed up. I think that’s a really ginormous problem with our society. It is important to be a self-responsible human, and it is also important to be a human who knows that they are worthy of receiving support and that it is okay to ask. In this client situation, I actually said, “What if you reframe this idea of, ‘I’m asking for a sale,’ to this instead? If you’re in this space of selling yourself, your work, or your offers, or maybe heading towards that, you could also use this reframe.” What you’re actually more accurately asking is, “Can I serve you? Can I help you? Can I be of service to you?”
Jenna: I think no matter what it is that we’re asking for, we can consider this change in orientation. So for example, if I’m going to ask some beloved ones to maybe come sit for my daughter, instead of asking, “Can you help me?” which is true, and I’m okay with asking for help, it’s also an invitation to say, “Can you be my family? Can you be my community? Can you be the person that I can rest into to make sure my marriage survives the first year of this baby’s life?” It’s okay for us to ask for help. Yes, there is a time to be self-responsible, but then there is also a time to rest into the multiple layers of support, of love, of help that community and society offer us.
Jenna: There was another client. Let’s continue these explorations, this meandering discussion of expression. I’m really grateful that you’re here with me for it. The next example that I want to use to lend our explorations is one from another client. We were talking about the movement practice that we do. This client is in the Feminine Embodiment Coaching Certification that I teach. In that certification, we have a personal mastery stream, which has a lot of different feminine embodiment movement practices, and these movement practices are way to move your body as a way to actually increase the quota of self that you can occupy. So if we put it in another way, how much of you can you actualize, allow, experience, and embrace to take up in your body and in the field around you?
Jenna: One of the ways that we invoke this actualization and embodiment of self is by using the voice, and so I was inviting, challenging this client to use her voice to sound as her. Then, she said, “Well, this just feels really weird and really foreign. All I can think of is, ‘Am I doing this right? Am I just copying her? Is this really me? I don’t really know. Oh my gosh, is this too much?'” All these different thoughts and ideas and I can really relate. I’m curious. Let’s just do this exercise, this embodiment practice, just together for a second.
Jenna: If it’s safe for you to do so, I would encourage you to shut down your eyes and take a moment to just feel the weight of your body, feel your breath moving in and out of your body. Rest a little bit more fully onto the support that exists beneath you. Take a big exhale out and let go. I would invite you to notice where there is a feeling of tension or tightness, a feeling of stuckness or unease in your body.
Jenna: We’ve been speaking about our voice a lot, and I noticed in the front, upper part of my physical body, there is a sense of lack, a little bit of constriction. I also notice in my forehead and the top of my head a diffused sense of tiredness, maybe exhaustion. Take a moment just to become aware of any pockets of tightness or tension through your body, and I would invite you now to place your awareness there. Just choose one. I’m going to choose my throat.
Jenna: As you bring your awareness into that part of yourself, also allow your lips to part. Allow your jaw to relax. Allow your exhale to be a little bit more audible as you sigh or sound out, and I invite you for the next few breaths, let yourself sound out that tension. Allow yourself to use your voice, to be intimate, maybe to move as, to sigh as, to sound as that pocket of tension in your body. It doesn’t have to sound a certain way. It doesn’t have to be polite. It doesn’t have to be formulated into words. Just let your sound out.
Jenna: Notice what arises as your lips part, as your jaw relaxes, and as you give you a vocal cords permission to open and relax. Take a few more breaths with that exercise. You can do the exact same practice by placing your awareness on a pocket of aliveness and feeling good, and pleasure in the body in both ends of the spectrum. A very worthwhile exploring, but I’m curious. Does it feel familiar or foreign to simply make sounds as you? When I watch my currently seven-month-old daughter just play, and squeal, and squeak, and she is this unfiltered smorgasbord of sounds day and night. Yet, so many of us have learned to place rocks, and constraints and disclaimers in the dam wall of our expression to stop its flow until we get to the point whereby we don’t even know how we sound anymore.
Jenna: I believe this practice of simply sounding not through words, but actually just through voice, just through pure sound is such a powerful practice on damming now expression. So throughout our explorations today, we’ve really been pondering the question of, “How can we embody our expression more fully?” I think it requires us to say yes to the impulses. It requires us to dismantle our disclaimers. It requires us to willingly meet potential conflict and to come at potential conflict from a deep place of rooted in love and standing up for love and ourselves. I believe it requires us to know that we are worthy of asking for help and support, and I also believe it requires us to feel familiar with the pure, unfiltered sounds that are us. Jenna: I really sincerely hope that our explorations centering expression today has been of value to you. You were not put here on this earth to be silent. Far too many generations of women before you have had to suffer under that reign, that oppression. We have been afforded so many luxuries and privileges because of their experience, and who are you not to claim it and to shout your voice as loudly and fully as your heart desires it? I’m really grateful that you joined me on the podcast today. Thank you for being here.