My heart in my hand (photo: Kimberly Barber 2020)

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day, and what better time to think about matters of the heart? The stuff of the heart has been themed on these pages before. No surprise, since singing is so connected to emotion–indeed, I would argue that singing without emotional connection is not really worth anyone’s time. But oh, it’s so challenging to open ourselves and present our truth from a fully authentic place of feeling. We worry that we will appear foolish, be ridiculed or shamed, or probably worst of all–not heard or seen. We’ve all experienced moments in life where we made ourselves vulnerable and things like this happened. So we armour ourselves up and shut down the feels. So here’s a thought, gleaned from a recent workshop with both Nathalie Vachon (who facilitates The Emotion Code–check her out at and Leigh Graham (founder of, mentioned in last week’s post) :

“If you don’t stand up for yourself, your body will stand up for you”. One way to understand this is, if you don’t sing/speak your truth, your body will shut down in places in order to protect you. We can get very caught up in trying to hold everything together, to the detriment of true, honest connection, which is the goal of the finest singing and acting. Nathalie and Leigh talked to us about being “egoless”. That we stand in the centre of the space as we perform, but we are always part of a whole. Not all eyes and ears are on me, I am part of something bigger. When we don’t feel so alone, or that it all depends on us, it becomes easier to access our heart. And when we do that, we implicitly give others courage to do the same.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s follow Brene Brown’s path and Dare Greatly, singing loud and proud from our hearts!