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’. Women were often not considered to be as interesting, exciting, or important as men – there was a cultural assumption that men knew what they were doing, better than women did, and were therefore most qualified to be in charge, to share their opinions, and to be listened to and respected. They were the ones who started and ran things.

Sometimes I find it hard to really crock what that meant to my self-esteem and my sense of entitlement to how I contribute to, and in, the world. Sometimes I get it, I can see the largeness through the warped goldfish bowl – it’s reach and its implications for my entire life – this idea that I’m ‘second’. And, beyond that, the way this whole world has been pilfered as if the planet, and all its inhabitants, are in a continual ‘going out of business’ sale and we must grab everything as if there’s no tomorrow.

Talk about self-fulfilling behaviours.

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, capable and at home, able to contemplate things and communicate with life itself without filters or irritating interruptions.

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 puffy lilac dress… I could 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, so please listen’. They were 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’ve always known what’s important. And I mean that in an ‘in situ’ kind of way; i.e. not to say absolutist ideas but site-specific gestalt 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 – how can I help others, and protect myself from all the toxic energy of confusion, resentment, hostility, and the murder of truth, life, and honour, whilst staying open to, and inviting in, love, intimacy, and hope?

It’s been a lifelong journey and not an easy one. Much has gone wrong, but when things go right, when my focus is true and connected to something larger than me, the worlds open up and I feel that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. Everything feels precious and alive, everything feels possible.

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 (compared to what I’d like to do), I feel the volcano rising. The feminine is rising. There is a time when the deep listening, the focus on innate wisdom that is part of having a body, starts to speak up. The feminine within each of us, must take a stand, step up, and allow that wisdom that inhabits a balanced soul, to speak, to sing, to object, to navigate the essential changes to our collective self/selves. The feminine needs to manage the masculine in order to halt this insane ‘progress’ – for it is killing us.

There is no time left to wait politely, quietly, hesitantly. We learn on our feet. Life itself depends on it. I’m watching friends and strangers around the world take turns to fly the flock forwards – and we are each needed. 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.

The hesitation will fall away as the truth of who you are takes over, once you lean in. And also the truth of how much the Earth needs you, how much life needs you to rise. So, lean in, learn who you are, take risks and rise – all as you fly – no longer in the classroom of your own doubt. You’ve got this. We all have. Life depends on this rising, on you and I rising. We are, quite literally, in flight already… together.

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

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