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Giving Voice and me, during lockdown and isolation

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

Rachel balancing on a log across a stream
It's a balancing act

My name is Rachel Healey. I teach Giving Voice and have been practising it in my own life since 1998..  This is my first blog.  In this article, I’ve written a bit about myself and about my relationship with Giving Voice, how I became a teacher, and how I use it in my own life.  Finally, I’ve said something about how Giving Voice could be really useful for me and others at this particular time, during the global coronavirus crisis, to help us cope with, and even grow through, enforced isolation and lockdown.

Rachel Healey
Rachel Healey

My first experience of Giving Voice was a residential weekend with Giving Voice founder Jill Rakusen. I loved it so much that I set up a group in Leeds, where I lived, for Jill to come and teach on a regular basis.  I also asked her if she would train me to teach Giving Voice. She had to think about it for a while, but eventually said ‘yes’.  I graduated in 2005, after completing a first level training followed by an apprenticeship. I’ve been teaching GV regularly ever since.  Jill and I jointly set up the National Foundation for Giving Voice, and together with GV teacher Caroline Thorpe, we now run the Foundation, which is a charity overseen by a Board of Trustees.

In 2006 I became ill with a long-term chronic illness.  I was bedridden a lot for the first 2 years, then got around using mobility aids, before eventually getting back on my feet.  Giving Voice was an absolute lifeline - it was something I could do alone at home, without even having to get out of bed. I used it in so many ways to support myself during that difficult time. I went back to regular work in 2010, and back to full-time work in 2016.  Giving Voice continues to play a major part in my ongoing recovery and managing my condition. I don’t know how I’d cope without it.

This blog has been prompted by the coronavirus pandemic and the amazing initiatives around the world linking people up using social media and online platforms. Giving Voice is such a wonderful resource for people who are isolated, alone and/or ill, as well as a great way of bringing people together to deeply experience what togetherness can mean.  It helped me a lot when I couldn’t leave the house, and stopped me from feeling completely cut off and useless. I can still feel like that sometimes.  Doing Giving Voice practice, and teaching it, helps me appreciate how much each of us matters, how much everyone has to offer and contribute, and how we can give and receive support in subtle and surprising ways.

Social media and online links can be the way you get hold of material about Giving Voice, and get a sense of the community of people involved.  Then you can go offline to practice with it, and hopefully tap in to that sense of belonging and togetherness, without having to be on a device or connected to the internet.  It’s certainly a welcome break for me, as I find being online and looking at a screen really tiring.

I do Giving Voice practice every day for at least a few minutes, and sometimes up to an hour.  I have a big repertoire of songs that I work with, but usually stick with one for a few weeks or months, so I can develop a really deep relationship with it.  I also have an intention that I bring to mind before I do my practice – what do I want from this?  At the moment it can be to address my anxiety about the pandemic, tackle the overwhelm I sometimes feel, and cope with feelings of fear and disconnection.  It feels like building an inner resource that I can draw on, and be more resilient and fit enough to get through each day, and when needed, to connect with and support other people.

During this coronavirus pandemic I want to spread the word about this amazing resource, enable more people to learn how to use it, and to connect with others who are also using it.  If you’re interested, have a look at our Facebook page.  If you want to learn more about unlocking the power of song, you can join our Facebook group find the link on our Facebook page.

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