What does it mean to have a voice?

Growing up as a woman in the 70’s and 80’s in England, UK, I was opinionated and yet also very much in a ‘man’s world’. The message I imbibed was that women were rarely considered to be as interesting, exciting, or important as men – there was a cultural assumption that males were better than women, knew what they were doing better than females did, and were most qualified to be in charge. This included having and sharing their opinions, being listened to, and being respected. I wonder who started that idea?

Males were the ones who started businesses and ran things. Part of me actually wanted to believe in it (a kind of fantasy of safety) and part of me actually did believe it because all the men around me were ‘in charge’, but I was smart enough to know, intuitively and intellectually, that this wasn’t right or accurate. I wasn’t sure what my Plan A was but I decided to focus on creating a Plan B in the meantime, borrowing scraps from lives I could see around me; my models of reality. But deep inside, I wanted to find my Plan A. I wanted to find me.

I watched and listened for intelligence – and the fulfilment of the implicit promise of safety that going with Plan B would bring. My voice existed but rarely found a welcome home. At times I traded silence for safety but it was never going to be enough.

I put my driving passion and bold ideas on ‘silent’ – thinking no one wanted to hear; thus pausing my power and being overlooked, which broke my heart. 

It is too hard to know things and not speak. The pressure inside to break out builds up, along with the biting discontent and anger at myself. If I hadn’t been capable – and I knew that I was – perhaps I would have been alright with keeping my voice to myself.

I now understand that I grew up at a time when women were seen as ‘second’ – I lost time, and confidence. I have read countless books on feminism – and right now I can’t help but think of Simone De Beauvoir’s ‘Second Sex’ as a powerful example.

But it’s not just about the loss to me – now there is the impact of watching my own planet burn because the people I trusted to be in charge have failed us. And I am part of a society that has let them. I think this is unforgivable. 

But my voice – now, this is my healing. There are other ways to look at this. Being an observer has taught me a lot. I’ve learned about patience, timing, analyzing complexity, assessing and sensing into right action. I have been learning to listen deeply. That’s priceless for these times of chaos. Whilst developing my singing voice, I have freed my raw wildness. That is an unstoppable force – I dare you to try.

Delaying taking up the mantle of our true selves is having devastating effects on our planet. The infantile leadership has shown its lack of temperance, knowledge, capability, and sensitivity. The leaders of today do not speak from their depths. Mind is in charge and it’s not looking good. I am watching a terrifying film featuring a business model of theft – as if we must grab everything like there’s no tomorrow. 

Talk about self-fulfilling behaviours. 

What does it mean for me that I have something to say, and where does that knowledge come from?

One of the places I felt most comfortable as a young girl and young woman was in the forest and in the elements, and it wasn’t just because I felt at home there, it’s because I got to be myself there – not a second-class citizen and not a child. I felt alive and free, wild, natural, capable, and at home… able to contemplate things and communicate with life itself without filters or irritating interruptions. It turns out that I wasn’t just playing there… I was also learning. More specifically, I was being taught.

On my 21st birthday – it was a memory that stayed with me – one of my father’s drunk friends had been asked at the last minute to give a speech about me at a party I had nearly cancelled. He knew nothing, literally nothing, about me and it was a painful moment, listening to him slur his words and not really elevate me, as in any way, to be cherished, as the celebrated person of the night. I was angry and frustrated as I stood there in my pretty, puffy, lilac, party dress… 

I could impatiently feel the clock ticking and when it was my turn to take the mic, the first thing I said was ‘I’ve got the mic now, I’m speaking, so please listen’. They were surprising and powerful words, and I meant them. I wanted to share things, what I know, what I feel, what I sense, what I see. And it wasn’t about me wanting the attention, it was about me wanting what I knew to get the attention.

I feel like I’m meant to speak. I have always felt that I’m meant to speak and that people are actually meant to heed what I’m saying. That’s not as arrogant as it sounds. It’s ‘on behalf of’… it’s a question of wisdom leadership. I believe there are many of us who are now meant to speak, and be heard. We have something of deep, and dire, importance and urgency to contribute, to say, to do. 

I have met many men who get this – but they do not grab at power. Those of us who know what’s next are not the type to do that. So, what does it mean to have a voice? 

I invite myself, and those of us who have been watching in disbelief to step forward. We of the feminine knowing need to speak; speak what we see, and say what we know (always on behalf of, never of the self), and create unities of communities.

Have you, like me, always known what’s important, inside, instinctually, intuitively? That’s connection.

I ask of this in an ‘in situ’ kind of way; i.e. not to say absolutist ideas but site-specific gestalts… truths of a moment. I can feel when things are off. And that’s always been true. I can also feel when things are ‘on’ and that’s exciting. It’s been hard to learn how to handle being extra sensitive and how to make that work in a positive way, i.e. how can I help others, and protect myself from all the toxic energy of confusion, resentment, hostility, whilst staying open to, and inviting in, love, intimacy, and hope?

But then I have to ask; how did I know things about right action? The forest was teaching me – grandmother forest. I was getting one education from human society and a deeper education from the forest. She knew she could trust me. 

I’d say that whoever, or whatever, has been talking to you in the background of your psyche, knows they can trust you too. It’s why you’re here.

Growing into my voice has been a lifelong journey and not an easy one. Much has gone wrong, at times I really created distance rather than intimacy with my family but, when things went right, when my skill level matched my deep knowing, I have experienced  the worlds opening up and I am exactly where I’m meant to be – I am home. In these moments everything feels precious and alive… everything feels possible. And it’s no surprise to me that my singing comes from the places that taught me this; the forest, the ocean, the numinous, and the wild.

For me, it has been about trust, and surrender.

All this to say that ‘having a voice’ is as much about knowing ourselves as it is about being heard. Being heard isn’t worth much if what we’re saying isn’t coming from the depths of who we are. Speaking isn’t the same as ‘having a voice’ – speaking is a mechanical action that requires words. Being present is more profound than any words. As I’ve often said about sound and silence; silence can say much more about itself than any words can. There’s a way of being that has dignity to it , where the internal encompasses the external – and there is no longer any need to negotiate or compromise.

I have taken a long time to develop my voice and it is still very much a work in progress, because I am a journey unfolding. Whether I’m thinking, writing, singing or speaking, silence is at the base of all things that I value and learn from. My hesitancy is every day diminishing; especially as I watch the male leaders of this world seek to continue to devastate the planet and the future of life. It incenses me that such foolhardiness is still allowed. The answer may not be as simple as women taking over – pendulum’s tend to swing – but I do think there is such a thing as time telling us what to do.

As a woman that has waited in the wings, watching, and learning. Now, I feel the volcano rising. The voice is rising.

The time has arrived for the transition from silence to voicing in spite of fear. This is coming from a place of deep listening, and as long as that is true, it keeps me in touch with wisdom. That’s my security.

I am not alone in knowing that the time for waiting politely, and quietly, is past due. With our deep listening intelligence, we can learn on our feet. Life and lives depend on it. I’m watching friends and strangers around the world take turns to fly the flock forwards – and we are each needed. Right now, I am hearing talk on the radio about mining the deep oceans – surely there is nothing more suicidal than that for all of us and our collective future. It is insanity – patriarchy at its most demonic.

The hesitation falls away as the truth of who I am informs me – this happens as I lean in. That’s how it works for me. There is also the truth of how much all the Earth families need us to rise. Our voices matter.  So, lean into the Earth, the Oceans, the Sky, the Mountains, lean in with me. Learn, as I am, who you are, by taking courageous risks. Life is now the one waiting, so our gestation has ended. Time to birth our voices! Let’s fly the flock forwards.

And, remember, we are not just doing this in opposition to patriarchy, we are doing it in fulfilment of our Planet’s expression through us, of us – each of us a passionate and gentle, intelligent, and persistent, creative and capable power within her miraculous living network of families. 

Clare – singer/songwriter, healer, human being, spirit being, connector of truths and souls. Available to help you grow too. Namaste. Thank you for being alive at this time.