Authenticity and Your Creative Voice
I talk a LOT about authenticity and using your authentic voice - in singing, art, and life. It has been the foundation of my personal journey over the past decade and has become the cornerstone of my business and practice.
But what does it MEAN??
We hear it increasingly as a buzzword as society becomes more 'woke', but what does it mean to be authentic, and how do we know if we are, and more to the point, if we determine we're not, how do we cultivate authenticity and become more connected to our authentic voice?
To the first question, Merriam-Webster.com offers these 2 definitions that resonate with my own usage:
- not false or imitation : real, actual
- true to one's own personality, spirit, or character
Original, genuine, true, and pure are additional synonyms and meanings that arise.
Therefore, I would define your authentic voice as the expression of your most genuine self.
The self beneath all the societal programming, beneath the need to please and seek approval, beneath the need to conform to others desires and expectations of you, beneath the need to manage appearances and others' opinions.
Your authentic voice - in art, life, and singing/speaking - is the communication of your essence and deepest truth.
How do we know if we're using our authentic creative voice?
In short, it feels delicious.
Scary at times, most definitely, but exciting and fulfilling, too.
When you strip away the outer layers of who you've thought yourself to be to reveal the magnificent bloom you truly are, a palpable sensation of solidity develops internally that feels like integrity in the deepest way. And magic in the form of synchronicity and seeming miracles begins to show up everywhere. Your connection to your intuition heightens and you may find yourself with the uncanny ability to dream things into existence.
I know it sounds unbelievable, but I swear it's true!!
When you're using your authentic voice, you feel alive, on purpose, and soul-led.
So if this doesn't describe your current reality, how can we cultivate authenticity and begin to unleash the authentic voice?
Step 1, practice silence and stillness and active connection to the small, still voice within. This can come through meditation, chanting, stream-of-consciousness journaling (i.e. morning pages), intentional walking and many other ways. The way is not as important as that it is done!
Step 2, seek support. The journey to the genuine self, while immensely worth it, is not necessarily fast or easy, and can be filled with speed bumps and potholes. A supportive community, teacher, coach, friend, or therapist who understands where you want to go and can walk alongside you is crucial. Books and videos are incredible resources, but they're no substitute for personal attention. The people around us tend to reflect our beliefs and serve as a mirror for ourselves and trying to change our path without a new mirror can lead to a LOT of u-turns and circles.
Step 3, be brave and practice small courageous acts. The path to the authentic creative voice requires vulnerability, with yourself most of all, and taking tiny courageous steps forward. Those steps will look different for everyone, whether it's putting down the ice cream and stepping away from the fridge, to writing one paragraph a day of that play that refuses to leave your mind, to writing letters you'll never send to the people who have wronged you. The path can be rather spiral-like with lots of winding turns, but by continuing to put one foot down in front of the other you'll move each day closer and closer to your soul.
And when you create, live, and communicate from your soul, your art will nourish you and help heal the world.