Notes from the Heart (Email Newsletter, March 31, 2019)
Friday morning I had an Alexander Technique lesson and my teacher told me about a book she is reading which explores why patriarchy persists. What intrigued me was what she said about voice.
The author ascribes power to the way we learn--from childhood--to use our voice.
I have not read the book, but my teacher was explaining it describes how for centuries little boys have learned it is not safe to voice their difficult emotions like sadness, fear, shame; and little girls have learned to quiet their own voice in order to make others feel comfortable.
Obviously we are evolving, but her brief description resonated enough with me that I spent the rest of the day wondering: What would it sound like if we all felt free and safe to give voice to the truths that are completely and fully our own?
Would it sound like magnolias blooming? Would it sound like the urban "om" of cars on the road and planes in the sky, broken by the tinkling soprano of birdsong? Would it sound like laughter?
What would my own voice sound like if I could write and sing past hesitation, if I could eliminate the tension that constricts muscles and carves the groove between my throat and brain—that irrational rut guiding circular thoughts like, "you can't say that" and "you sound awful" and "shhh.”
That afternoon, I turned up the volume on Beyoncé and Lady Gaga and danced in my office. I heard myself sing along, and I laughed as my voice did crack and could not hold notes with the same gusto. Why? I wondered, why can’t I sing loud and true like that?
In the evening I was still pondering all of these questions and singing softly as I walked and photographed the streets where I live at the magic hour.
Right as the sun goes down the light is soft and everything glows. I took 188 photographs of the blooms, bark, sky, water. The air was soft, and I could not stop smiling or clicking the shutter. I realized I was giving voice to something. Somehow I was writing down my experience, just not with a pen.
The last two weeks have been full. Spring has sprung and renewal is in the air.
My sister was married last weekend in a beautiful celebration and I didn't take a single photograph! I let her photographers do the work while I danced with her and my adorable nieces, soaked in real conversations with much-loved aunties and uncles whom I rarely get to see, ate two kinds of wedding cake, drank a seemingly bottomless glass of pink champagne, and danced until my shoes had to be removed then danced some more.
I also met with Lucia's printer a couple of weeks ago and looked at options for different ways to print Issue Three on a new (smaller) budget. It is still not cheap, but I feel determined. My task now is a plan for getting there.
This life is so full of beauty, isn’t it?
Sending all my love,
P.S. Speaking of speaking with light, I've been outlining the photography course I mentioned here a couple of weeks ago, blending intuition and light and (now) voice! I'm excited about the possibilities of teaching skills you can use to create beauty and capture images that reflect your vision, your heart, your voice. I am always curious and would love to hear what (if anything) you may hope to learn or do with photography. Send me a note!
P.P.S. Books I'm reading: Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott; The Courage to Teach by Parker J. Palmer (still reading, slowly); and The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N, Aron, PhD (re-reading for about the eighth time).
Laura Lowery is the founder, editor and publisher of Lucia. She does her best to lead a creative life. Whether triumphant or stumbling, Laura shares daily notes (that are often weekly) here on luciajournal, including stories, behind-the-scenes happenings, little doses of inspiration, and large quantities of curiosity and heart. She is pleased to meet you.