SOUNDS WONDERFUL NEWSLETTER APRIL 2013
'Develop Your Natural Voice' for Health Care Professionals
The Art of Communication, Self-care and Active Listening - with Chris James
We recently held this seminar at the Sound Training Centre in the UK. There was a deep appreciation and the experience that taking the time to observe, self reflect and listen, allows for greater clarity and quality of care in everything we do for ourselves and others, and of course a deeper understanding that clear expression is paramount in every walk of life.
Below are some of the professions that were represented:
Physiotherapist, Nutritional Therapist, General Practice Doctor, Surgeon, Naturopath, Music Therapist, Holistic Therapist. Hospital Admin.,
Practice manager, A & E Nurse, Access to work assessor, Occupational Therapist, Massage Therapist, Phlebotomist, Volunteer Care Group, Movement Therapist, Health Care Advisor, Health Care Assistant, Alzheimer's Soc. Support W, Registered Nurse, Care Support , Research Physiotherapist, Psychologist.
This course benefits all health care practitioners, and we would like to bring it in your area.
Develop Your Natural Voice – The Art of Communication, Self-care and Active Listening
A course for all Health Care Professionals.
Professional Development certificates available.
Contact the Sounds Wonderful office if you would like some more information.
Email: email@example.com Ph: +61 (0)2 66 283308
Below are some testimonials from participants
Thank you Chris for a wonderful course. As well as having great fun on the day, I found the tools I learned could be applied straight away when I returned to work. The results have been amazing. Now three weeks on I can report not only am I clearer in my own expression, I find I am able to listen to others more effectively. Conversations flow more freely and problems which arise are discussed with much greater ease. It feels great to communicate in a way that supports me and how I feel and equally my colleagues and patients.
"It was a fabulous day! Packed with great tools, self awareness exercises, expression practice of all kinds, listening skills, and really spot on examples that relate to everyday life in healthcare. It was great to be gathered together with others in healthcare taking the time to look at our communication and expression with such honesty. I look forward to doing more of these with you Chris. Thank you."
The art of true communication is fundamental to excellent healthcare and is crucial to establishing a fruitful and nurturing doctor-patient relationship. Lack of communication is often one of the main reasons for complaints by patients and their relatives. It is beholden upon us as healthcare and medical professionals to continue to develop and expand our communication skills. Chris James offers workshops to assist healthcare professionals with the art of true and clear communication and expression. The workshops are fun and light hearted and bring awareness to the connections between the breath, the body, the tone of voice and the quality of communication. Think you are a good listener? The simple exercises demonstrate we are perhaps not as good at truly listening in a non-judgmental and compassionate way as we like to think we are! Furthermore, the workshops highlight the importance of reflective self-care and the positive impact that can have on our communication skills. Simple, practical tools and skills can be taken away and implemented into practice straight away along with a renewed and healthy appreciation of one's self. It's a win-win all round!
I attended the Health Care Professional Day presented by Chris James recently, and realised how disconnected I have been to my voice and my body most of my life. How can I help people if I'm not looking after myself ? We all know what it feels like when an angry person speaks to us, we can feel the force of the emotion coming through, and it feels like it can hit us like a brick in the face. So we also know when a disconnected person speaks to us, they are not very interested in what we are saying and look away, and we can feel from the tone of their voice, they are elsewhere. I am now working out a rhythm, connecting to my voice and my body, and my relationships, work and life are changing incredibly. Thank you Chris!
After the course my preparations for the day became much more supportive of me. I found I was no longer looking at the clock in the morning but was waking earlier doing all my preparations and arriving at work earlier than usual in a much more enlivened way which means I fulfill my role at work more fully and leave work at the end of the day still feeling good.
I would like to thank you for a very enjoyable and thought provoking day. I have realised how stressed I have been with work over the last few years and I now feel focused to make changes in my way of working and thinking. I enjoyed the meditative and the mind/body awareness processes which we practised - a new experience for me- and I will continue to do so.
I am going to feedback to the other staff that I work with and tell the managers that we could all benefit from your help/instruction, especially in these stressful times working in the NHS.
Thank you to you and the team at The Sound Foundation.
'Awesome presentation. I got a lot out of it, particularly on the importance of looking after myself as a health professional and how self-care can really benefit me and my patients so it is a win-win!'
It was awesome and revealing. Great to be reminded about the depth of listening required to be fully present to ourselves and others. And to be able to take another step of awareness towards even greater self responsibility.
SOUNDS WONDERFUL NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2012
I have just returned from presenting 3 healing Power of Sound residentials in Europe, and am back into the swing of things at home mixing the new album " The Call" presented a workshop in Adelaide yesterday, have been fishing with Gabriel, and generally enjoying being at home.
Whilst overseas, I also presented a staff development workshop at The Royal London Society for Blind People, this was very well received, as skills and awareness of communication, expression, active listening and self care are at the core of any company truly working together, enhancing productivity, creativity and providing great service.
One of the highlights of the residential workshops was developing our awareness of 'stories', and having the opportunity and time to connect with our expression enough to feel when we are going into 'stories', and how awareness of this can keep us from re-creating old habits and really free us up energetically and practically to be who we truly are at any given moment. ( see the short article below)
Your fellow student
What’s in a story?
What’s in a story? Well, when they are our ‘old stories’ about ourselves that we are in a habit or pattern of repeating in conversation, they can be extremely destructive and don’t help us at all in our daily lives, especially when we are really wanting to let go of our past and start to live life fully, for ourselves in the present.
Do you find that when you meet people you often embark upon what almost feels like a ‘prepared speech’ about yourself, and not expressing the true you? Do you say things about yourself in conversations that belittle yourself, or pump yourself up? These can be called ‘stories’, or “patterns of expression’, and they are like a series of self-destructive little vocal bombs that we let off inside and outside of ourselves every day.
So how do we recognise these conversational millstones that we continually load ourselves up with? Well, it really helps when we start to feel more connected to our body, which could be called being ‘present’, being aware of what we are truly feeling, and what is ‘going on’ within ourselves and around us.
When speaking it is very useful to begin to be aware of how we can actually feel the vibration of our words in our body. When kids start to explore their voices its great to get them to feel their voices in their body. They hold up their hands and yell “wow” and yes, wow they can feel the ‘pulse’ or vibration of their voice in their hands. Working with adults in a similar way, its not long before everyone can feel that their voice CAN be felt all the way through their body.
This really does open people up to a new awareness of their voce, What was always, in a sense, a ‘2 dimensional’ relationship with sound and voice, that is, it just comes out of our mouth and our voice box, is expanded to a more ‘3 D’ experience, that involves our whole body. This can also be the start of re-connecting with ourselves and feeling a lot more of what is going on within us.
It is not such a big leap then to feel that there is not just a physical quality to feeling sound in our body, but also an energeticquality that affects us. Once we start to build a more ‘conscious’ presence within ourselves and our body, we can start to feel the effects that our words and conversations have.
Its like we are continually building up a restricting energetic deposit in the pipes or arteries of our expression, until our expression itself becomes limited and damaging.
Neuroscientists can now measure that prolonged exposure to negative expression in general literally peels away neurones from the part of the brain called the hippocampus, affecting 'neuroplasticity.’ Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to reorganise itself and develop new connections – literally our ability to be flexible and expansive, thereby affecting the way we live, learn and evolve. In other words, continued exposure to negative expression causes the deterioration of the brain’s neuroplasticity and a ‘shutting down’ occurs.
What are your favourite stories? Just pause for a moment and contemplate what you say about yourself (or others). Once we start to re-connect with ourselves our body and our expression, we can start to identify these patterns or stories, and this starts to bring a great ‘spring clean ‘ effect to our words and speech. Our expression starts to feel lighter, we are not dragging ourselves down with our own words, and we begin to feel what it is like when we express from who we truly are (the 4th dimensional effect.) And this is the start of a whole new world of expression.
By Chris James
SOUNDS WONDERFUL NEWSLETTER JUNE 2012
We recently completed our first professional development course for doctors and medical practice staff,
which has recently been accredited by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
The Art of Communication, Self Care and Active Listening.
A course for GPs and Practice staff in today’s workplace.
An RACGP accredited PD Course
Activity no. 761 125
Total 40 Category 1 Points
Professions attending were medical practice manager/owner, GP, psychologist and Social worker.
Self care is such an issue for health professionals that the Australian Medical Association’s emphasis for 2011 was on self care for GP’s. To be able to deliver high quality care, service and honoring to patients we first need to deliver it to ourselves.
When stress, tension, anxiety and exhaustion are not addressed they are held in the body and become part of our expression. We reveal much by the tone of our voice. And then, what are we communicating?
The research we conducted during the accreditation process of this course was very revealing. There is a wealth of documented research showing that awareness of communication and active listening skills are essential in order to practice health care safely.
Surgeons’ tone of voice: A clue to malpractice history
Several variables were rated that assessed warmth, hostility, dominance, and anxiety from 10-second voice clips with content and 10-second voice clips with just voice tone.
Controlling for content, ratings of higher dominance and lower concern/anxiety in their voice tones significantly identified surgeons with previous claims compared with those who had no claims.
Surgeons’ tone of voice in routine visits is associated with malpractice claims history. This is the first study to show clear associations between communication and malpractice in surgeons.
Also revealed in the research was that if a Doctor allowed a patient to voice all of their concerns without interruption a more successful diagnosis and a higher standard of patient well being resulted. (Note, when patients were able to complete their talking without being interrupted it only took 6 seconds more!!)
During active listening exercises experienced at the course, participants were struck by the feeling that the way they had been listening and communicating was in fact exhausting for themselves and ineffective for their client. This very clear, self-initiated insight brought about the realisation that they were choosing to engage in a mode of communication that was ineffectual and possibly even counterproductive.
The stark difference between the two realities was deeply felt and acknowledged. The freedom to choose a truer, easier and more effortless way of communicating allowed access to a deeper level within themselves.
The survey sheets completed at the end of the course indicated that the key learning objectives had been well received.
• Enhance the doctor/patient relationship and improve the patient’s experience of health care by active listening and interactive communication skills.
• To use self-care tools and strategies to release personal stress and anxiety.
• Develop self-awareness and reflective interpersonal skills to improve relationships with others.
• To deliver information to patients in a way that can be clearly heard, understood, and followed through.
• To create a more efficient, supportive and safe medical practice.
One doctor summed up the experience by writing “ this is the start of a better me, and as such, a better workplace experience.”
To book this course email the Sounds Wonderful office at firstname.lastname@example.org
This professional development course is suitable for doctors, psychologists, nurses, practice staff, carers, and healthcare workers.
Chris James, Program Presenter
Jenny James, Program Developer
With special thanks to Marianna Masiorski for coordinating and great input with program development.
SOUNDS WONDERFUL NEWSLETTER JULY 2011
It has been wonderful observing ‘everyday’ folk waking up to the possibility, that although they have been shut down, and not feeling and expressing ALL their lives, it is never too late to address the ongoing tide of numbness spreading throughout the world and our lives. The account below of “Singing With The Seniors” is an example of this.
And then there are all the schools we have been teaching at. The kids are so responsive.
We had a lovely time with some so called ‘problem kids’ recently. We had a session with 15 kids for over an hour. They were just great , and so attentive. A quarter of the way through Jenny played tamboura and I played guitar and sang and they just started to lie down and feel, it was very beautiful.
One boy around 11 was extremely attentive. He was up the front singing and loving all of it, he even had a whole song he wanted to sing to us at the end; which he did, ( shaking a little.) . . It turns out he has been expelled from 5 local primary schools for destructive behaviour.
We can all feel our voices resonate in our bodies and this is enhanced when we begin sounding in gentleness. The great thing is, that the gentler we are, the more we feel. And then, once we start to feel the connection between gentleness, feeling, and expression, we have the opportunity to begin to really feel EVERYTHING.
SOUNDS WONDERFUL NEWSLETTER MARCH 2011
Awareness of our expression, and the ongoing re-connection with our body, our stillness, and our gentleness, is vitally important. Here are two practical examples.
Everyone is born with a beautiful voice
A medical specialist friend referred a client to me for a private session. She has been deaf since birth, and was now 68 years old and her dyspnoea ( shortness of breath ) was enough to warrant ongoing medical attention and was compounded by significant grief and frustration. Her throat was closing literally through lack of expression, and she was choking with anger and grief. The client expressed how she had some speech therapy when she was a child but since then nothing. In fact she said deaf people were actively discouraged from using their voices. I told her that I have taught many professional singers and that they also felt, as she did, the restriction in her throat. And that I taught them also how to make very gentle sounds, called toning.
We did some toning together... It was VERY interesting, as witnessed by the interpreter, that many of the sounds or tones she did (for the first 5 tones,) matched my note perfectly. She was eventually able to feel the vibration of the sound in her hands, then in my chest (with her hands) and eventually in her own chest and body. Then it started to make sense to her what we were doing. I then said to her that even professional singers had to learn how to breath and tone gently, and we went through the process of learning about the gentle breath. She expressed (out loud and joyfully,) that she felt that she understood and felt this.
She now understands that when she becomes frustrated or stressed to return to the gentleness in her breath , and when she feels her throat tighten , to make a very gentle sound on the out breath. She feels that she will now use her voice a lot more, and she expressed how she felt very much better at the end of the session. The interpreter and client expressed that it would be good for me to hold a workshop at the Deaf Institute. When the client left she was joy-fully singing “twinkle twinkle little star.” :-)
For information about Private Sessions and bookings click here.
A Vocal Adventure in Schools
The week before I left on the last tour to Europe in February, we presented the Vocal Adventure for Schools workshop to over 1100 kids in Victoria and NSW in Australia. I have also presented them in Europe. These are SO much fun. They help children discover their natural voice and self expression joyfully. Usually the groups are around 200-300 at a time and the sessions 30-45 minutes long. At one school the teachers commented that even the more ‘challenging’ children who could never concentrate for more than 5 minutes were focused for the session. These events happen usually by parents approaching the schools. Jenny has prepared a great presentation pack for this purpose. You can contact her (email@example.com) if you would like us to bring this course to a school in your area.
For A Vocal Adventure in Schools information pack click here.
SOUNDS WONDERFUL NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2011
"Everyone is Born with a Beautiful Voice"
In our last newsletter we talked about the Grace-full Instruments sessions. We held a series of these sessions over Dec/Jan .... they have been just wonder-full ... they just got bigger with over 40 people coming on Sunday again. We had Oboes, Violins, Mandolins, Guitars, Lyre’s, Viola’s, keyboards, and of course.. Voices! Last Sunday the singing was the most beauty-full I have heard. ( truly!) Many commented that it sounded like 100’s of people singing. Here’s what a practitioner who attended said ...
“Yesterday I went to my first Chris James‘s Grace-full Singing and Instruments group. Once our bodies and voices were warmed up Chris supported the women singing without the men .... It was a wonder-full experience - I felt deeply in my body the women's' beauty and a fullness of wisdom and strength underneath that - a strength for all of us as a group and for society in the bigger picture . There was maybe 30 women and it felt like a 130 were singing . The men then joined us in full support and there was such a union and completeness - it filled the hall and beyond as if hundreds were singing.”
We will be incorporating Grace-Full instruments sessions in our courses whenever possible. It feels so lovely to have the opportunity to be working with people, feeling a deeper and deeper connection to our bodies and our inner hearts through expression. This IS the time to build a strong foundation of truth-full expression in our lives, and to feel the energetic quality of our spoken words. If we do not feel this our very OWN words will be sabotaging our return to truth. If we do re-connect , our words will sweep away our doubt and confusion.
For information about Private Sessions and bookings click here.
A few very basic self help observations.
When NOT centred the personality loves to talk faster and slightly higher in pitch - you will feel the ‘push’. Feel into the way you are talking. Notice if you are used to, and in fact have accepted, being hyped up and talking in this way. ( Do you allow or ‘get off’ on drama?)
As you re-connect daily to your gentle breath and stillness, your connection to your inner heart becomes stronger and you will feel the effect of your voice in expression. You will notice the effect your voice is having on yourself and others, and that it is; either healing or harming.
In general, take your time, disconnect your voice from your head (and your foot :-)) reconnect your voice to your heart, and feel the difference, understanding more and more about that extraordinary statement .... “Expression is Everything” by Serge Benhayon.
SOUNDS WONDERFUL NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2011
What a time to be choosing to work with expression, with expressing ourselves, and to be making the conscious choice of energetic clarity in our expression, whether it be through singing, playing an instrument or simply taking full responsibility for that magnificent instrument of creation our speaking voice. Our speaking voice is truly magnificent or truly destructive. Magnificent ...? Yes .. Mag-nified. When we simply start to express truth-fully what is happening within us, our body experiences an energetic release that can re-configure our day to day life.
Example:- we are holding a months intensive of Grace-full Instrument sessions in the Innermost Sound Groups held here at home...our community finally getting to play, sing (and drum) together with everyone being as energetically accountable as possible. Local musicians are taking the opportunity to nominate long held tensions and suppressed feelings about their playing and their instruments, and many are claiming themselves AND their expression through letting their voice OUT!. We are having quite a few private sessions along these lines as well. A young student attending who plays many instruments, had a private session recently. Very talented musically. After a ‘tuning –in’ through the gentle breath he played a note on one instrument... very graceful and spherical.. As soon as a simple rhythm was set up he lost the grace-full feeling and his connection to the gentle out-breath. (Most musicians I have worked with can only play one note eventually, without going into mental constructs and old patterns). Another instrument was felt into before playing. What was immediately felt was that this instrument was played to please others. As soon as the student nominated this the feeling changed, and one note was able to be played gracefully. THEN as soon as the note finished a mental energy came in and what was it?? .. Self-judgment! Again this was nominated. Then a third instrument that was brought along was tuned into, This one didn’t even get to be played.. But again the feelings were nominated. A bit later the student said a whole Pandora's box was now opened, which was going to lead to an interesting year of music classes! So now when this student plays they will not be trying to push through a myriad of unconscious things weighing them down, but will be much more aware, and therefore able to make much more informed choices about their expression.
Make sense? Apply this to yourself and your own expression.
Are you ... Pleasing others first, being nice, forgotten how to say what you feel? The list is huge! Imagine if, by finally being able to express honestly and truthfully how you feel, you re-configure yourself energetically and create an energetic freedom to be able to move forward, to create rhythms in your daily life that will support your return to your inner heart to your own vital expression of truth. And if this is what actually happens, then consider what happens when we DON’T express in honesty and truth... The magnification is the same but is now numbing and destructive, and reinforces the old contractions and patterns. So ...
... YOU have the opportunity now to express your energetic choices about your life and its rhythm and expression. It is vitally, crucially important to KNOW energetic truth in expression, because, as Serge Benhayon says .... "Expression is Everything".
JUNE 2010 NEWSLETTER
“Expression Is Everything”
We are ALL born with a beautiful voice. Reclaim yourself and your heartfelt sound.
I just came off skype after an hours interview with a web show in Virginia USA. A good interviewer, allowing the heart of the subject , “The Gentle Voice”, to be brought forth and even insights of her own leading to some great observations. She came to my music many years ago, and when I sent her some music for the show she wondered if it was the same Chris James. She expressed how she felt the new music expand her heart centre and then upon listening to the old, a sense of longing was invoked. This demonstrates that clearly no matter how sincere I was, the music was not clear, and emotion was coming through the music, and that this was felt. The longing she felt was leading her outside of herself rather then allowing her to feel her own beautiful essence and expand from there. This lead us to be able to talk about the importance of knowing the difference between emotions and feelings, energetic responsibility, diet, life choices etc, and especially talking about understanding the expression “listening with the ears of the heart”.
This show will officially air on Tuesday, April 20th at 11:00 a.m. (USA EST) Click on the following link to hear it.
In the next few months events will be presented in Australia, (NSW & QLD), the UK, Denmark, Holland, Canada (Nova Scotia) and the USA (Arizona).