“Healing Trauma Through Singing”

A Not-So-Known Benefit of Singing

Certain sounds or noises can make us jump and react in a way that says to our nervous system, or, rather our nervous system says to us, Danger!  We are, for lack of a better term, hard-wired to this nervous system response to impending danger.  Some more than others.  Our reptilian brain is only trying to do it’s best to keep us alive, it just doesn’t recognize there is no impending danger, that we are in fact safe, now.

I work with people to find their voices and to work through the many layers of fear that can be in the way of their beautiful expressiveness, and, the inner joy the singing voice can reflect from within us.  When I am with clients maybe for the first time I ring chinese bells that make a penetrating high sound that people react to in many different ways.  Some have no response whatsoever, some I watch grip in their bodies to protect themselves in a way that is unconscious, and some react as though there is great danger.  It is their nervous systems reptilian brain that is responding.  These reactions let me know a great deal about how they have been wired due to certain events or traumas that might still lurking there, or at least the nervous system thinks so.

Traumas are real, they have happened, they happened to me also.  It’s what is left in the years and years of recovery and the missing piece of our nervous systems reactions that can get overlooked.  This is what I am addressing here.

Our voices can act the same or elicit the same response as those bells do.  Either with an alertness that is calming and that stills the mind, or, with a flight or flight nervous system reaction that says, ‘danger!’.  What then is this so-called benefit I am speaking of here?  It is to re-train and re-organize the nervous systems response to; our voices, to others voices, and to challenge these impending danger alert responses.  To develop a tolerance to stimulation in a safe and supportive environment in which the participants are continuously being triggered by people’s voices and the sounds of bells and noises.

By opening ourselves up to sound, to our voices and to the inherent penetrative nature of our voice we open ourselves up to a world of safety, of calm, and of beauty that is also charged in nature.  As our singing voice holds a charge of energy that then is projected outward from a reciprocal charge that moves downward inside of our bodies.  This is what people block and what is being read by the ANS as ‘some potential threat.’

Why is it that public speaking is so scary? Why is it that singing can feel so exposing and make us feel so vulnerable and exposed?  Maybe it is our nervous system that is making us feel this way.  Maybe it is safe? And maybe it is also there telling us that this situation is indeed unsafe?  My purpose of inquiring into this is for us to simply begin to have a choice in our reactions.  Some are reacting to traumas that have made permanent homes inside of their brain and some only turn their heads in mild curiosity and indifference, and, some will never go near the flames.

Being touched and moved by the sound of someone voice opens the heart and this is beautiful, yes, however, there is a great deal of the population who cannot receive, feel or even recognize this beauty anymore due to overload in the nervous system and old reptilian reactions to danger of varying degrees.

Singing and connecting with our voices directly contacts the nervous system, the invitation is are we ready to find new pathways that heal and calm us versus being overcharged, overwhelmed or even numbed out from the sound of our own voice, or other voices.  Waiting for us in the calming, para-sympathetic side of our ANS is the gift of beauty and feelings of well-being and joy.  This is what I do all of this for, and, it’s worth it.

This is not any easy process, to face the charge of energy that we have been pushing away or reacting to in such extreme ways.  We cannot help our reactions to such stimuli and as I have mentioned our nervous systems are simply trying to alert us to keep us safe.  However, over the years I have witnessed many of my students find calm and peace where there was none.  I myself have experienced the same peace, and the real proof has been singing in front of large audiences.  I now experience the same calm and peace, where before it triggered old traumas and memories of danger and the need to protect myself in anyway I knew how.

I don’t have full understanding of how these things work, nor do I need to, but I have experienced and witnessed the healing powers of singing most certainly in myself and in others, and I am forever grateful to the intelligence that guided me to this understanding.

For the Love of Sound,
Anna Beaumont