Most people live their lives — and go to their graves — with their music still inside them. This troubling thought is what calls Barbara McAfee to her work of “midwifing voice into the world.”
As Barbara says, “Your voice is how you get the gift inside of you out! Nothing much happens in the world until someone gives it voice.” That’s why the words “voice and vocation” share the Latin root vocare.
The capacity for voice and agency is one of the Habits of the Heart that Parker writes about in Healing the Heart of Democracy.
Parker Palmer’s Fourth Habit of the Heart:
“A sense of personal voice and agency. Insight and energy give rise to new life as we speak out and act out our own version of truth, while checking and correcting it against the truths of others. But many of us lack confidence in our own voices and in our power to make a difference. We grow up in educational and religious institutions that treat us as members of an audience instead of actors in a drama, and as a result we become adults who treat politics as a spectator sport. And yet it remains possible for us, young and old alike, to find our voices, learn how to speak them, and know the satisfaction that comes from contributing to positive change — if we have the support of a community…”
Parker Palmer speaks of “voice” as all the myriad ways we express selfhood. Physical voice is only one of those ways, but Barbara McAfee reminds us that the presence of our physical voice is intertwined with our other ways of being, and being heard.
In the TEDx video above, Barbara shares five different “voices” you can use in your life and leadership to communicate with more people, around more ideas, more effectively. She calls these voices Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Air.
As Barbara says, “To free the voice is to free the person. I hope you will set your full voice free to express your gifts in the world. And that you will hear the support of this community singing you onward as you do.”
How do you bring your voice into the world?
You might only need to sing one word: Yes.
With gratitude and best wishes,
P.S. Develop your sense of voice and agency at a Courage & Renewal program.
P.P.S. A few weeks ago in Minnesota, Courage & Renewal facilitators had the great joy to sing and learn together with Barbara McAfee. We were so grateful for the experience that we wanted to share her work you!
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