When I was in elementary school I started playing the oboe. It was the easiest instrument for me on “try the instruments” day. Little did I know that the oboe is the instrument that you use to tune the whole orchestra. At the beginning of a concert the concertmaster looks at the oboist and the oboist plays a clear note that everyone else in the entire orchestra uses to tune to. They all take their cues from that one single note. Before that happens however the oboist has to make sure she is also in tune. I would get my tuner out and put it right under the oboe and I would play my note. Meanwhile everyone else is warming up around me. I would have to listen very closely and hone in on the perfect sound. I would have to make sure that once I hit the perfect note that I felt how my body and mouth were positioned so that I knew how to recreate it. I had to learn how to listen.
When I first sat down to write this blog post I couldn’t stop thinking about that experience of having to force out all the other noise around me and listen to just my sound. Just my voice. It makes me laugh to think that everything I have been trying to do for the last 18 months of my work of finding and listening to my innervoice I was trying to do for years as an oboist. Frankly, it’s not that different. We have to figure out what in our lives is noise that we need to eliminate. What within us indicates when we are truly listening and tuning into the right sounds.
For me tuning into my own voice is a multi step process. First, I need to reduce the outside noise. Sometimes this means literally putting on a pair of noise cancelling headphones and sometimes this means setting boundaries so people who are a little too noisy are not in my life. Once I do that I need to set myself up for success by taking part in activities that let me be still and silent. Then, and only then am I able to listen. Now to be clear, being still and silent does not necessarily mean that I am not moving or even listening to sounds. I may be cooking or walking or running. I may be dancing it out to music. But internally I am singularly focused and able to be still.
Here are a few ways I tune in and invite my innervoice to speak up:
- Take deep breaths
- Short (or long) walks
- Dance party
- Practice gratitude
Have you found other ways to tune in?