I remember sitting under the piano with my doll while she sang. It was magnificent old black Beale.
Every Friday morning I would go along and bear witness to her magnificent voice. Un bridled, soul deep and unique to her.
My grandmother’s singing teacher was an older lady, an accomplished pianist and singer herself. They had known each other for years and had a bond, a synergy that only develops over time and between two masters of their craft.
Nanna also tool me to my ballet classes most Saturdays, but something felt different when I went to her singing lessons. I was always a little apprehensive on the drive there and felt a calm sense of relief when it was over.
I never found out the intricate details before she passed away, but from what I understand, she was never allowed to pursue her dreams as a professional singer. My grandfather forbid her from the stage after they got married.
My apprehension was fear. I feared her getting into trouble for singing when Pa was so adamant she wasn’t to do it. What would he say if he found out? Does he even know? Is she allowed to do singing lessons but not perform on stage? Would I get in trouble for knowing and keeping the secret?
The secrecy and risk made me uneasy. I was worried for her. I was confused. Why was I encouraged to sing and dance but not her?
The sound of her voice I remember, would go through me. It felt like it vibrated every cell in my little body. In this one hour a week her soul was given voice. Often accompanied by tears, she openly released, expressed her creativity, experienced her passion and felt deep, deep joy.
Knowing my Nanna as intimately as I did and listening to her recordings as an adult, I didn’t need to have a degree in music to know she was incredibly talented.
It hurts me to the core that she felt unsupported in pursuing her passion. That her true gift and her legacy was tainted by rules other people thought they had the right to make. That her singing voice was only allowed to bring her joy once a week and audiences were robbed of her soulful expression.
Life for women was so different back then wasn’t it. Often shackled. Denied. Abandoned.
Even though Women now days have so many more opportunities to pursue their truth and their passions, they often fall victim to not so much others but themselves.
The women I work with come into my Nest shackled by their beliefs and negative patterns, deny themselves joy and pleasure and long ago abandoned their important needs. They are crumbling under the weight of everyone else’s demands and expectations and need a safe place to rest.
In that moment she enters, I become her accompaniment. Her accomplished pianist, ready to bear witness to her untapped uniqueness. Each week we make music together. It resonates through both of us. The healing within her begins.
She gives herself permission to release all she’s been holding onto for so long. She expresses the truth of what she desires, let’s go of the guilt she travelled here with and experiences relief in the knowledge that everything is going to be OK. She’s going to be OK.
With her inner strength returning and the fire in her belly well alight, before long her voice of truth becomes the perfect accompaniment to her newly refined inner compass. She now works in synergy with all the parts that make her whole. She’s accepting, less burdened, empowered and nourished.
Living her truth brings her joy and she is a shining light to those closest to her.
Helping people rediscover the ability to speak their truth and find the way home to themselves is both my pleasure and a burden free duty. I only hope a small part of Nanna’s legacy can be passed on through me and the women I walk beside.
Until next time,
Take good care.