Jack's story - the impact of monthly group GV sessions - over a 5-year period

Updated: May 7


These monthly sessions led Jack to experience himself in freeing and unfamiliar ways; they also led to a heightened sense of awareness, including about connectedness, responsibility, play, and service. He shared thus –

How do you describe an experience that is always different, and that has an impact on so many levels? What follows barely scratches the surface.


I LOVE IT.


At one level, the Giving Voice (GV) process involves singing, but more than that, it involves letting go, of thought and judgements and any emotions that are stirred up by the song. The more that this letting go can be achieved, the greater and deeper the experience, the greater the healing, and the deeper the integration. The monthly sessions are important opportunities to re-connect to my body, emotions, and soul. The process comforts my intellect and helps develop trust. My continued involvement also provides an opportunity to explore how I might re-create the experience away from the group, and how to avoid sabotaging such efforts. To feel part of a group session - integral to it and of equal importance to anyone else - and to feel connected to the other members of the group is a feeling I rarely had the privilege to experience. To feel that way with people I have no other contact with and, in some cases, would not wish to have, is also important as an example of what is possible in the wider world - to feel connected, even to strangers. To never again feel alone in this world. And to hear 20 voices, each singing their own thing, coming together in beautiful harmonies, gives me hope for the possibility that mankind may, one day, learn to live in harmony ... To be singing with passion and intensity, but quietly and together - sometimes it just feels so beautiful I could almost cry for the joy of the experience. Improvised singing And I delight in the totally improvised singing: many voices, each adding their own unique contribution. It can be such a surprise, as none of us has any idea what the others will add to the song … It's easy to think of it as almost magical. Sometimes I just love to ‘play’ ... following my sense of where the song should go, seeing if the group will follow me, or whether it has a momentum that will draw me back. Sometimes I feel like maintaining a constant rhythm around which everyone else can ‘play’ if they wish. On one occasion, I ‘picked’ a rhythm out of the sustained sound. It was almost as if I heard its absence. Jill picked up on this and introduced a counter rhythm. The rest of the group followed Jill and were encouraged into smaller groups doing different things. I just continued with my own rhythm. Perhaps unnoticed. And yet I felt an integral and important part. I do not know what influence I had, but when I felt that the rhythm should speed up, it did. And when I felt it should fade to completion, it did that too. So was I leading, or was I just in tune with it? It does not matter”. On another profound evening, I listened to Jill singing ‘I am gentle with myself’ [on Jill's CD, and No. 9 in the book], and then, as the others gradually joined in, I enjoyed the growing texture and depth of the piece. Eventually I felt the desire to add my voice: I'd felt that there was a gap – a space for me to fill – that invited me to join in, just because it was there. And so I added my voice to increase the depth and texture of the whole. On another occasion, as the improvisation developed, I felt I was providing the central rhythm that was holding everything together. Effectively the central reference point that held and maintained the rhythm. (I am not saying that this is true - only that this was my experience.) My experience of the improvising in GV led me to a combination of: responsibility and the need to hold the rhythm, even when it felt like a struggle, commitment to provide this service to the group, and honour about being ‘allowed' this role. I am struck by how this compares with the rest of my life where I seem to resent and rebel against such roles. I feel strong, consistent gratitude to Jill, Rachel and Caroline for the generous caring skill with which they have treated me and taught me."

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