Rachel Thompson

Carla Woody – How Singing Spills over to Writing and More

How Singing Spills over to Writing and More

by Carla Woody

When I was a young girl I had a vivid inner world but reticent to share it with others, being painfully shy. Even at an early age, I wrote stories but kept them to myself. Oddly, one thing I wasn’t shy about was my singing voice. I sang all the time. The summer I turned fourteen my family moved to a different state, the latest in several moves during childhood. A neighborhood girl and I spent hours recording ourselves singing Mamas and Papas songs just for fun, when we weren’t getting in trouble for one thing or another. That was the late Sixties…and you were expected to push the edges.

But something happened in September. My newfound ally went to a different school. What bit of security and grounding I felt in the new environment was no longer present. Over the next months I made my way tentatively, finally settling in with a handful of girls, cliques being a matter of survival in junior high and high school. But when I’d join in with songs on the radio…or hum under my breath…you’d have thought I’d grown two heads, the responses I received from my friends!

Everyone feels out of place and wants to fit in during teenaged years…and at the same time we want to be different, a terrible conflict. So, we shut down aspects of ourselves. In my case, it was my public voice. My singing voice was silent for decades and so was my ability to express in the most basic ways outside my family.

It was only years later that outer expression began to come again, part of an evolutionary process. By that time though, being so unused, my throat would hurt; my voice was so weak that it refused to emerge fully when I’d attempt it. I even went to India for a short time to study raga, Indian classical vocal music, with Sufi leader Shabda Kahn, in hopes of overcoming the block. I succinctly remember the day in practice when Shabda looked at me in what could only be described as loving irritation and bellowed, “Get your voice out!” Yet, I physically couldn’t.

In 1998 I moved to Prescott, Arizona. Strangely enough, I found a small Sufi community here. I’ve always been drawn to the Sufis for their inclusiveness. Yaqin Lance Sandleben held monthly zikr, a Sufi chanting devotional practice. I attended religiously for years until travel and my own work made it difficult to be there. I am indebted to Yaqin for the space he continues to hold all these years. My voice varied little…until one night. We were well into zikr when suddenly a voice burst forth with a sweetness and power I hadn’t ever heard before. Surely it had come from someone else. But I had to acknowledge it as my own…and acknowledge it still.

Giving voice comes in many forms: stating our needs, writing, singing, public speaking and myriad other ways. It’s your birthright to express. Sometimes it involves a journey toward healing, so that you can offer the world your own special expression.

What is a way your own voice has opened when it used to be closed? I’d love to see your comments below.


I’ve adapted the content of this post from my mentoring program
Navigating Your Lifepath, which guides folks on how to live through their deeply held values—and thrive.

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Preston Johns Cadell is tormented. He attempts to outrun discontent and the void in his heart. His mother is hardly around. His father’s origins and disappearance are shrouded by family secrets. His sole remembrance of his father is flying through the stars nestled in his arms.

Any comfort Preston derives is from an unseen advisor who teaches him of the invisible world. Now he is coming of age. Memories arrive from long ago when a brown-skinned woman cared for him. But she, too, vanished. Finding the buried remains of his father’s altar, Preston must answer the draw to his destiny, to discover his lineage–even though he has no idea how or where it will lead him.

Portals to the Vision Serpent is a Hero’s Journey into the realms of shamanism and the Maya world. Interwoven are the struggles of indigenous peoples to preserve their way of life and tragedies that often come from misunderstandings. Through a family saga of dark wounds and mystery, spiritual healing unfolds.

The author donates 10% of profits from book sales to Kenosis Spirit Keepers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit she founded whose mission is to help preserve Native traditions in danger of decimation.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Fiction / Coming of Age / Historical

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Carla Woody on Facebook  & Twitter

Website http://www.kenosis.net/

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