E061 - The Anti New Year Resolutions

authenticity communication freedom humanity vocal liberation Jan 25, 2024

It's early 2024, and some of us have chosen words for the year or set up New Year's resolutions. So how's that going? Is your year unfolding the way you wished? You may have set some lofty goals—hopes for a better life, a more easeful life or anything else.

I think it's great to be intentional about life, but there’s also a danger of setting up a narrative rooted in dissatisfaction: “My life isn't good enough the way it is, I don't love my life. It should be better… other people have got it right somehow, or some other people are having a better life, and I want what they're having.”

In this episode I explore feeling comfortable with what is, feeling comfortable in our own skin and sharing this lovely feeling with the world. We'll explore an intention for our communication system and our voices to be at ease in a body that is deeply settled and relaxed.

Watch the video to dive in, or read on below!

One of the great promises of this work is working with our nervous system while communicating, and helping the whole body and the whole being and the brain slow down in the body. We can relax, and essentially our whole system slows down, relaxes, warms, feels unmoored from control.

The parts of me that want to know what to say next or need to get it perfect ebb and relax and let go. Ease and relaxation and comfort take over, a kind of trust that the right words will come up. This nervous system state is referred to in polyvagal theory as the ventral vagal state, a beautiful unicorn state I sometimes call the labrador state, because it’s like being a happy labrador with the world.

In this state, we are settled in our bodies. We are comfortable. We're okay to relate and interact with each other, and we’re often loving. There's compassion and connection in us when we're in this state.

So why not set this as an intention for the year: play with being deeply comfortable in your own skin. When communicating with others, with groups of people, when selling yourself—or even when talking to the internet, because being in front of a camera can make us shut down, feel a need to be perfect or just be very, very normal—because we're afraid of what they will think.

The best thing to do in response to that shutting-down feeling is to sloooow down and take a breath. Settle down and relax into yourself and your body. Feel your body in the seat, feel the heaviness of your legs, feel your butt in the seat. Feel your lower back as it is supported by the seat. As you do this, all those concerns are in the background, and what's foregrounded is this ease and relaxation, a sense of feeling settled.

So let's explore some resolutions.

The first resolution is to have fun with our voices. It can be fun to express ourselves, or we can be shut down on a white-knuckle ride. Elements of control, fear, and suppression in our communication systems are completely normal, because we're taught to shut up and be quiet at school and by our parents and by our peers and so on. This teaches us to behave—otherwise there will be consequences!

We want to start relaxing that a little bit, allowing in some ease and flow and for the system to be a little bit weirder and wilder and more playful, and to have more fun with our voices. And this includes speaking, making jokes, having fun, being silly, and sharing our weirdness with the world instead of trying to be Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.

It also includes letting our singing voices out. And if you consider yourself a non-singer, I recommend getting into humming or chanting or otherwise moving air and sound through your vocal chords, that beautiful instrument just waiting to explode into a symphony of color and sound.

The second big intention for the year is to put our work, our creativity, and our ideas powerfully out into the world. To let go of the shackles of fear and the feeling of “Who me? I can't take up space! What will they say if I put this big amplified vision and voice out into the world?!”

This resolution is to courageously put your work and ideas out into the world, and to really enjoy doing it. Overcome your fear and limitations, and control the need to be accepted and to not be judged.

A third intention for the year may be a bit more difficult: have hard conversations when they are needed, don’t avoid the difficult conversations. Get in there when there are triggers or when it feels like your boundaries are being violated or something doesn't feel comfortable. Speak up, and speak up quickly. Get in there and say “Hey, I don't feel comfortable with that.”

But do so with compassion and warmth and connection. We want to speak, to speak up, to speak clearly, but we can do so with kindness, creating connection and trust. We can raise the standard of conflict so that when we disagree with someone, we want to find out how they feel. It doesn’t have to be that one person must be right—allow both voices into the conversation. Be clear and try to connect in conflict.

Fourth, let's have the big conversations that make more money. Most of us would like to earn more money, but many of us have shut-down patterns speaking about money, about marketing ourselves and selling our work, about asking for more or asking for what we want or even asking for what we deserve. So let’s walk towards those conversations about money we would normally avoid, and let’s learn to speak about money without shame or shutting down. Let’s live an abundant year where we all thrive together.

And lastly, let's connect and share love. It's so easy to become fact-driven and have transactional conversations rather than recognize the preciousness of the moment or the preciousness of the relationships around us. So let’s share more love this year: appreciate more, connect more, let people know we care more… reach out and have those soft and tender conversations just that little bit more.

In summary, may our voices bring us abundance and wealth and connection and joy—but also really authentic relationships that we can trust.

Let me know how your New Year's resolutions are doing and what's happening with your communication in 2024.