SPEAK: Open By the Spirit – Open Your Mouth and Speak Up

SPEAK! … By the Spirit™ with
Erica A. Hawthorne

Open Your Mouth and Speak Up

© 2010 Erica A. Hawthorne

May 5, 2010

Be willing to open your mouth and let your best self come out! (in this photo: singer Fefe Dobson)

It’s a wonder that today I hardly ever find myself at a loss for words, when at one point in my life you could hardly get me to speak above a timid whisper.  As a little girl I was often asked to speak up to be heard and somewhere along the way I learned that to speak too loudly, too boldy or even too honestly could result in less than positive responses from others.

So I learned, very early in life to withhold my full voice.  I opted on many occasions to leave things unsaid to avoid conflict.  I even picked up the precarious knack of speaking passively…just another way, I would later realize, of co-opting my real voice.

As I got older, it was my creative world that pushed me, however indirect it may have seemed, to ultimately speak up.  As a theatre actor I learned to project, more specifically, how to speak from my abdomen…my core.  Learning how to do this meant being able to cast my voice to the far corners of the room without straining my voice.  To simply try to speak loudly would not have the same affect and would probably result in straining my voice.  So it was through theatre that I learned the importance of speaking in a way that was supported by my most centered place.

We can take this same skill and apply it in our daily lives.  But first we must know how to tap into our center before we speak.  You know you are speaking from your center when you are able to speak without judgment, without anger and even if you feel nervous the words are backed by feelings that are sure and filled with confidence. In order to speak from this space we must take time to sit still, clear our minds and listen.  Some people do this through prayer or meditation, but however one gets there, it is important to clear your mind and heart of all that can block the way for clear, nonjudgmental thoughts to flow.

Years later I worked with a vocal coach.  After only a few minutes into my first session the coach stops playing on the piano and turns to me and demands: “Open your mouth! Aaaahhhhhh!” he demonstrated.  I laughed nervously, but it would take multiple sessions for me to get comfortable with my own voice and being able to open my mouth wider as I sang.  I think it was a mix of fear of failure if I hit a wrong note, and worrying that if I did so I would lose control or worse yet, look completely crazy and vulnerable.

How many times have you hesitated to fully open your mouth for fear of what would come out?  I don’t mean the time you held back so you wouldn’t say something unbecoming to the person who recently upset you.  I mean the moments we opt out of opening our mouths for any number of reasons mostly commonly out of fear.

I wish I could say that I opened my mouth and only beautiful harmonies came out, but during many sessions awkward, off-key notes emerged…and yes, it was embarrassing and uncomfortable.  But on one occasion, I opened my mouth and one of the strongest, longest notes I had ever hit bellowed out, filled the room and vibrated off of the walls. Wow! “Was that me?!” I thought.

I know now that when we open our mouths and speak confidently, fearlessly and from our core, we have the power and ability to fill a room. I know this may take practice, but practice we must.  Our voice is a megaphone for our soul. It has the ability, when utilized without judgment and fear, to change the very way we interact with the world.

It’s not about loudness…nor is it an unconscious declaration to “keep it real”.  Rather, it is the manner in which we learn how to utilize our voices maturely and for the good of our greater purpose.  It is the way we tune into our core, express our needs and hold our centers from which our best selves can operate. When put that way, why wouldn’t we want to learn how to open our mouth and speak up?


My voice is a tool.

I will use it to consciously assemble my sincere desires.

I open my mouth and build a path of light.

I speak my truth without nails of judgment or fear.

My open heart is the foundation for my open mouth.


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