Meet one of healers who’s been integral to me finding my voice … a path so many of us are walking collectively.
“Talk to it. Ask it why it hurts.”
I’m mid-Skype session with British healer Gail Love Schock, and I’ve just told her how my neck has gone out again. How I’ve finally put the puzzle pieces together, and realized this happens every time I launch a project, or put myself out in the world in a visible way. It had ocurred yet again as I unveiled the Four Bodies Wellness program I created for The James Hotels—waking up the morning of the launch with a stiffness in the left side of my neck, which progressed throughout the day leaving me unable to move my neck more than a few inches in any direction.
And now Gail is asking me to speak to the part of my body that keeps doing this.
The answer comes so fast and seems so obvious: “Because … you’re putting your neck on the line and you need to be careful.” Of course! Immediately, my mind adds another piece to the puzzle: “I wonder if there’s a past-life memory of a hanging or a guillotine …”
We’ve heard of muscle memory, but could this extend to past-life traumas? Gail doesn’t seem to think it’s so far-fetched. Having briefly lost her own ability to speak after a car accident in 2011, her work is focused mainly on voice retrieval. Also “being more human, less personality. Less pretense, more essence.” We began a series of sessions together last year as I was anticipating my book coming out—and facing the fear of being asked to do a lot more public speaking as a result (the #1 most common fear in America in case you’re wondering.)
During each session, Gail let me in a guided meditation, asking me to visualize different versions of myself as a set of Russian dolls. To speak to these parts, and show them to their seat in my being, inviting the most mature self to the forefront. She passed on breathing techniques, ways to feel at home in my body. She advised me to chant, sing, massage my jaw and beat my chest before I speak, to free up the channel.
She also spoke to me of “sacred privacy,” knowing what to share and what to keep to myself, and the difference between the voice of the “controlling” and the “mature” feminine. One shrill and demanding, the other rock solid, forgiving and full of love. All ways to feel safe and secure in my truth, helping me speak without fear of being judged.
And all work that’s done its part in me feeling more comfortable speaking up—a path we’re also walking together as a collective. So many putting our necks on the line in the name of truth, justice and equality. Oh and by the way, three days before my book launch my lower back froze up so badly I could barely walk.
“Ask what you can do for your body,” Gail guides me, as we near the end of today’s session.
“Be aware, protect yourself, create good boundaries,” comes the answer. I think this one was for all of you, too.
Gail Love Schock is a Spiritual Life Coach and Mentor, Meditation Teacher and InterFaith Minister. She teaches worldwide and is writing her first book. Discover more about Gail and her work and book a session HERE and follow her on Instagram.
Heal the instrument of your voice to not only speak but also live in your truth, says Emma Whitehair… Artwork: Dr Steve Hinkey
The throat is a physical bridge between our body and mind, while its chakra governs our communication and search for truth. It’s the most powerful but also the most vulnerable of all seven chakras, and with so many of us struggling express our true needs, a blocked throat chakra is more common than a cold these days (even if the “symptoms” could feel the same).
If this chakra does not have a healthy flow, not only will your relationships with others be difficult but you will not be receiving clear guidance from your intuition. On the other hand, however, once beautifully balanced, negative experiences are transformed into wisdom and ultimately you are open to a higher level of consciousness.
My business is PR and writing, and no one who knows me would think I had any blocks in the area of communication. However, what can’t be seen is that I’ve had a pretty much permanent, choked up feeling for, I don’t know, months, years…lifetimes! It’s hard to tell as I only properly noticed it early this year, when I started to really get tuned in to Self.
At its most intense, it’s an energetic constriction like a noose around my neck, but mostly it’s a lump in my throat, like I’m on the brink of tears—even when there’s no apparent reason for it.
After googling ‘throat cancer’ and ‘thyroid problems’ then giving myself the all-clear (with a deep sense of relief!), I found myself drawn to a chakra workshop with James French advertised at the Yoga Loft in London—I was ready to find out if this throat funk was a spiritual malady.
On this two-day course, I discovered that Vishuddha (the Sanskrit name for the throat chakra) has a developmental age of 7 to12. Probably no coincidence that this was when my parents divorced and I was packed off to a strange boarding school. I also learnt that the corresponding sense of this fifth chakra is hearing, giving me the excuse I was looking for to connect with sound healing practitioner, Ashera Hart, who I had met a few days before.
Ashera had hosted an incredibly powerful sonic breath + gong bath event, that had been listed by The Numinous, which had helped open my throat and started to stir things up in that area. Wondering if my unbalanced Vishuddha could be realigned further with the power of sound, I made the most of the opportunity to have a one-to-one session with Ashera in my home, while she was in London (rather than her usual base of Bali).
After this session, I met up with my healer, psychotherapist Fiona Arrigo to help me process what my body had shown me. She explained that traumas to the throat chakra are often connected to early childhood issues; when, if we experience emotional pain, we encounter separation. She commented that my adult vocal personality—which “on the surface is ballsy, clear and wise” is in juxtaposition to the inner child—who swallowed down her tears, and never expressed how she felt.
I asked by subconscious to say out loud the stories I may have been holding onto, and one resonated deeply: “no one is taking care of me…I’m alone.” And with that tears of relief fell down my cheeks. It all suddenly made sense—that part of me, the child, who had swallowed her sadness, was physically manifested like a bitter pill, stuck in my throat for over 30 years.
Fiona reminded me “to meet the understanding that we ARE alone in this life.” She also explained that the feeling I encountered during the sound healing, of being held, was the Universal holding, and in that moment, I had flipped my scratched record. Rather than archived pain, I had experienced something way more profound—a spiritual embrace so meaningful it had helped heal that source fracture.
My journey with this continues. Read on for 10 STEPS I’ve investigated to help with starting to CLEAR YOUR THROAT CHAKRA.
:: STEP BACK IN TIME :: What unexpressed emotion or story are you holding on to? Once that’s understood, then it’s important to try and change the record, in order to free yourself. Byron Katie’s The Work might do it for you. Alternatively, perhaps you story is more complex—could it be from a pre-verbal era, or another life?
I spoke to Sue Minns, who’s book ‘Bodies & Souls’ touches on the throat chakra (as well as the others) and she explained the following to me:
“Chakras are like micro-chips of soul information that are links to our past experiences on earth, and connection to where we came from. The throat chakra, if holding negative memories, will become a bottleneck, a block to our true Self expression. Many of us (especially as women) have had gruesome deaths as a result of speaking out, spreading the word, saying the spells.
The throat is the chakra of secrets and lies, whispers and screams—and of speaking your truth without fear. A historical ‘block’ will obstruct cosmic, divine energy coming through the Crown and Third Eye to reach the Heart. It will short circuit at the throat if it cannot pass through. The central column (Sushumna) needs to be an open conduit between heaven and earth so that we can remember both our source and our purpose on this earth.”
:: SOUL MANTRA :: “The 1st Law of Healing—all disease is inhibited Soul Life. The job of the healer is to lift the downcast eyes upward unto the Soul, and the Soul does the work” – Dr Steve Hinkey
So how do we allow the soul to work its magic? Mantras should allow the soul to take position naturally and Steve gave me these to use to unblock the throat chakra:
Because ‘I am…’ is so powerful, and soul infusion the ultimate achievement: “I am the soul infused throat”.
To use if starting to experience, or resist tension in the throat: “I am wanting to know my soul’s process, as it expresses itself through my throat chakra”
As no-one evolves without loving what they have, including dis-ease, this as a good all-rounder:
“I love myself as I am”
:: SOUND HEALING :: Ashera Hart hosts The Frequency Shift solfeggio journeys, which encourage a Theta brainwave state, through healing vibrations, helping you access intuition, transform limiting beliefs and most especially—clear energy blockages.
I attended one of her ‘Sonic Immersion’ events (at Kind Yoga in London) which was a blissfully relaxing 90-minute experience. With the Zobet (solfeggio) healing frequencies along with sounds of the ocean, the cosmos and nature, Ashera accompanied this with an ethereal vocal invocation, tuning forks, chimes, shamanic drum and percussion.
We were told we may have dreams that night, that might reveal what is unresolved and one of mine was quite interesting. The throat chakra’s traumas can include alcoholism and yelling—both themes which were visited while in an abstract and gentle dream featuring my much loved childhood pet dog…
:: CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION :: Which means honoring your feelings, understanding your needs and kindly requesting that they are met. With authentic expression however, comes responsibility. There’s also a delicate balance between being honest and tactful, and on some occasions silence is golden.
Voicing irritations and raising one’s voice, for example, can pollute the throat chakra, as can gossiping, blaming, criticizing, or any other type of negative communication. If you start thinking in these terms, try to raise the vibration before saying anything. Also use this checklist:
Is what you are about to say true?
If so, is it necessary to be said, and does it need to be said by you?
If the answer is yes, ask yourself if what you are about to say is kind/compassionate/loving.
Hearing is the fifth chakra’s sense and therefore listening is one of its most important realms of communication. That means listening to both your inner voice, and the voice of others. I think I may have an overactive Vishuddha, as I speak super fast (often with no filter) and sometimes feel impatient while listening.
With this in mind, I have made a conscious effort to start listening more intently, giving the other person my full undivided attention, putting away any devices and waiting (patiently!) to hear the them out completely before jumping in. This helps me to read between the lines and decipher others’ real needs, in order to respond in the right way.
:: THE AH MANTRA :: To cleanse and purify any impure energy of speech, let the “AH” sound fill your throat for a few minutes.
One of the most powerful mantras on the planet, this sound is found in the name of most deities: Tara, Buddha, Krishna, Yah, Yeheshua, Saraswati, Wakantanka, Quan Yin, etc., along with many of the sacred words (Amen, Alleluia, AUM).
‘AH’ is also a sound related to the throat chakra, so it’s no coincidence that ‘AH HEM’—is the sound unconsciously made when a person clears his/her throat. While on a more conscious level, the Buddhist mantra ‘OM AH HUM’ is explained by my yoga guru Cat as “translating to body, speech and mind—speech being an integral part of having a harmonious co-existence with all living beings and speaking up for those who may lack a ‘voice’.”
:: USE YOUR VOICE :: As long as the intention is pure, ANY way that you use your voice will help draw fresh energy through your throat chakra. I touch on the benefits of singing in this story and you can also hum, whistle, groan, sigh—ask your body what sounds need to be released, and just go for it, dialing up the volume if need be.
:: TEAR JERKERS :: The throat is where I store my tears, and those that came with discovering my stuck story were beautifully cathartic. And as I know there are more to come, as part of my healing I chose my moments to indulge in deliberately triggering a little cry, with film.
When we watch weepies, it releases not only emotion, but also oxytocin, aka the love or cuddle hormone, which also regulates crying. A boost of oxytocin gives feelings of bonding, empathy, trust and maternal behavior, and it can’t differentiate between actual human beings and flickering images of them. If, like me, you have stuck emotion to release, this 10-minute supercut of tear jerking movie moments should have you sobbing in no time, letting those loving feelings wash over you. You’re welcome!
:: MUSIC :: As sound is Vishuddha’s sense, music can also be a powerful activator. Partly down to some of the lyrics, melody, story or my personal associations, these tracks seem to resonate with the emotions stored within my throat chakra, allowing me to feel and heal.
What would be on on your Vishuddha playlist?
:: YOGA :: Correcting one’s posture is key when re-aligning chakra’s, and these two yoga asanas, should help open up and/or activate the throat:
Fish (Matsyasana): Not only does this stretch the neck, it also strengthens the neck muscles needed to balance and stimulate the throat chakra.
Shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana): considered the Queen of all yoga poses, because of its amazing healing abilities. Doing shoulder stands regularly is an excellent way to keep your thyroid healthy and helps sufferers of asthma (like me).
Two Pranayama exercises that also bring heat and stimulate the throat chakra are the Ujjayi and lion’s breath.
:: HEALING ROCKS :: You can re-balance Vishuddha by stimulating its reflex points in the feet and hands: the connection point of the big toe with the feet, and halfway down the thumb. I’m taking this a step further by wearing a memento mori, which I had made by Zoe & Morgan, that hits this point of my left thumb. A gold ring depicting a skull with diamond eyes on angel wings. A little reminder of both my mortal and immortal self—to help me be more conscious and stop sweating the small stuff!
Zoe & Morgan have also created this beautiful throat chakra ring. Featuring Aquamarine, the stone of the sea, which helps the throat chakra to open, and communication to flow like water.
Other stones that are good for rebalancing the throat chakra include: lapis lazuli, blue topaz, turquoise, chrysocolla, sodalite and my favourite—sapphires, which I wear on a necklace and ring. Try wearing these stones so they sit on your throat chakra for the full healing benefit.
:: TRUE BLUE BABY I LOVE YOU :: Considered a hue for health, blue’s calming effect helps restore balance to the throat chakra, and for me, my blue healing comes from connecting with the ocean. My happy is getting out under blue skies (ether—the throat’s element) whenever I can, and in the sea at least every few months. However, when that’s not possible a pool also does the trick. So treat yourself to a spa day, and the immersion in water as a kind of soul soothing, spiritual cleansing.
Plus: healing my throat chakra, refining my elevator pitch, and conversation with the sober curious…
:: MONDAY :: Skype chats about possible future collabs with beautiful Fern Olivia turned into a mini coaching session for me, after I shared how nervous I was feeling about hosting our Club SÖDA NY event this week (see below!) Public speaking is NOT my thing you guys. So Fern gives me a beautiful meditation to do beforehand to help open my throat chakra: lying down, place a crystal (either something blue, or a Rose Quartz) on my throat, and slowly chant “haaam,” feeling the vibrations resonate through my throat. This while visualizing a ball of blue light spinning and expanding there, until it fills up my whole body – and beyond. Which I share with YOU in case, y’know, public speaking isn’t your favorite thing either.
:: TUESDAY :: My 11-year-old nephew (visiting from the UK): “What’s your book about Ruby?” Me: “Well, it’s about how I used to work in fashion, but it was really unfulfilling, and so I decided to use astrology, and things, to bring more meaning to my life…” Nephew: (looks non-plussed) THE NEXT DAY… Me: “You know what I said my book was about? (nephew nods) Well it’s really about how to be happy, by always making choices that are right for you.” Nephew: “Sounds great!” *way to work out your elevator pitch*
:: WEDNESDAY :: A delivery from shamanic skincare line Trimaran Botanicals – as in, it’s skincare made and blessed by a shaman! Made in Vancouver, products are not only vegan, toxin-free and filler-free, but are also blessed with spirit messages from the plant and crystal realms, and imprinted with transformational mantras and vibrational potencies. I’m trying out a serum, which smells heavenly and feels like magic as I anoint my (almost 40-year-old) face with it. Self-care doesn’t come much more high vibe.
:: THURSDAY :: Blown away by the beautiful souls who came out for my Club SÖDA NYC event with Biet Simkin (see main pics). The discussion was on learning to trust your body to make you feel fantastic, your life to get you inspired, the people you love to feel connected, and your SELF to stay true to a life of high integrity that supports your highest purpose. And to quit outsourcing any and all of the above to the quick fix of alcohol. We pitched the event as a social experiment for the sober curious – and our findings were that this is a conversation that’s only just getting started… Join the Club SÖDA NYC Facebook group to connect and find out about our next events!
:: FRIDAY :: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!! And what a moment in time astrologically to be stepping into my FIFTH decade. Not only did yesterday’s Aries New Moon (potent intention-planting potential) conjunct my natal Sun to the very degree, Uranus (planet of breakthrough transformation) has passed over the exact SAME degree these past two weeks. Talk about the stars aligning for me to step into my future self with a whole fresh perspective on life, the Numiverse, and everything – which I’ll be shaping during a two week vacation in Hawaii. Which is a long way of saying, no Mystical Week column now until April 29. See you on the other side!