Today, I interview Georgann Low who has a compelling story of facing inner struggle and losing her voice after a journey through the tumultuous landscape of the ’60s and ’70s. From an outspoken and sassy youth to a period of drug-induced turmoil, Georgann’s journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
After graduating from high school, Georgann spent years in New York and California, going to college until she dropped out to become a full-fledged hippie. The drugs she took opened amazing new perspectives, however her experience very quickly degenerated into a living hell of loneliness and paranoia – her sense of herself and her confidence were gone. She lost her ability to speak for a time. She was terrified of the world.
Eventually, at age 28, she gave up all drugs and learned to meditate which became her saving grace.
Yoga and meditation have been her tools for spiritual growth. Untrained in music, she became a professional singer starting out when she was 30 with Country and Blues and eventually moving into jazz. She still performs in clubs both here and in France with excellent musicians. She’s delighted to say she learned to speak French when living alone there.
In the days when she didn’t speak, she took up drawing and continued to express herself through pen and ink and lots of color.
Georgann is an international singer, artist, and author of the new memoir “Dancing Alone”. She is known in musical circles for her unique blend of jazz. She is also an everyday mystic open to varied contemplative traditions.
Through meditation, she discovered her saving grace and regained her voice, empowering her to share her wisdom and gifts with the world. Her message resonates with all of us: open your heart, take a deep breath, and embrace the journey with a joyful spirit.
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Transcript of Interview
Transcript of Interview
Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast
Podcast Host Dr. Doreen Downing
Free Guide to Fearless Speaking Doreen7steps.com
Episode #118 Georgann Low
“Grace, Meditation, and Voice”
(00:35) Doreen Downing:
Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing, and I’m the host of the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast. I invite guests who have life stories about having been in some kind of struggle where they didn’t feel like they really had a voice, but guess what? They went on a journey and something happened, and that’s what we get curious about. How is it that they found their voice and now are able to share their gifts out into the world?
Hello and welcome. I am so excited today and it is Georgann Low. And, I’d like to say a few things about you, but first I just want to say hi, Georgann.
(01:22) Georgann Low:
Hi, glad to be here with you.
(01:24) Doreen Downing:
Yes, wonderful. You wrote a few things and I want to just reference that and say some of what I learned about you already. You grew up in the Colorado foothills and you said you were sassy, rebellious and loud, and you had no trouble expressing yourself in any and all situations.
But after graduating from high school, you went on to college and you became a full-fledged hippie. And we know what that usually entails is drugs. And even though they opened up an amazing new world, I think for you, for all of us during those times, however, your experience very quickly degenerated into a living hell of loneliness.
Oh, and paranoia and your sense of yourself and your confidence were gone and you lost your ability to speak. And that’s what we’re talking about today, that kind of loss of voice and being in a world which asks you to speak up but you were too scared. But it sounds like at an early age of 28, you gave up all drugs and learned to meditate, which became your saving grace. So that’s a little bit of intro to the listeners. So they know that you’ve had a background of having lost your voice, but it started out with being somebody who was prettyoutgoing, and outspoken. And then, meditate. So that’s the highlights of what we’ll be talking about today.
(03:09) Georgann Low:
Yes, it’s pretty right on, it’s funny as you talk to me and tell me my story, which I gave to you, I have to go back even further and look at what happened with myself as a very young child. It just occurred to me that my relationship with my older sister, she was not a real happy soul.
Bless her heart. But she took my voice from me as well. I hadn’t thought of this for a while, but she told me I shouldn’t talk to myself and that’s very much part of what I still do. I love to talk to myself. But she said, “Oh, no.” My nickname’s Bunny and she said, “Bunny, you can’t do that.”
And she told me a lot of things I can’t do. And she said you can’t tell stories. You’re not as good as I am. I’m really good. She’s four years older. I’m very resolved or I’ve forgiven her completely because she made me who I am. She made me have to work really hard, including that time.
And I believe partially what happened to me in the late sixties and the seventies, losing my voice through the use of drugs. I was so sensitized to the world around me that maybe her voice or some voices, negative voices, negative self-talk, let’s put it that way. Just depleted my ability to express myself and I lost complete confidence, as you said.
(04:46) Doreen Downing:
Yes. Let’s go back to that first story of having an older sibling, which I think a lot of the people that are listening, and I know I’ve heard that having older siblings sometimes impedes your own ability to have a voice, because four years difference in your case, really, there is a lot of maturity already.
If she’s five, you’re one. She already has language. And I don’t know what else was going on. What about your parents? How did they treat you?
(05:19) Georgann Low:
My parents they just loved me and I got a lot of support from them, all those years. Because of that, I was well-loved but she was pretty sneaky getting her little hooks into me.
(05:33) Doreen Downing:
Wow. Okay. This idea then, because already just today in talking to you, I feel that you do have some underlying grace. You’ve got a beautiful soul. And I think that those of us who have had good mothering early on, you might say, maybe even fathering, have some kind of foundation.
So then here you are growing and you’ve got this older sibling who overshadows you and you don’t get to grow. What do we call it in psychology? Arrested development.
(06:09) Georgann Low:
Yes. That’s right.
(06:13) Doreen Downing:
Yes. That is your growth, your natural growth with the most positive energy, luckily parents were positive growth.
(06:20) Georgann Low:
(06:22) Doreen Downing:
But there was some impediment for natural growth. Oh yes. So I get it. I get that was early on, but you told me you were sassy. What is that?
(06:33) Georgann Low:
Oh, I had to be really sassy because I had a sister telling me how I should be. And actually, my dad was pretty strong in that as well.
And I used to bundle up my fists and go like that at him. As a child of four, three or four, because I didn’t want to do life his way. And I felt like a lot of people were telling me and not my mother, but a lot of people were telling me that this was the way you do life. And I just was, I did not buy it and I never have bought it.
That’s why I’m not well-schooled. I don’t like school. I don’t like them telling me how to be an artist. I don’t even like art classes as much of an artist as I am. I wanted to find my own voice always. Yes. That was really important to me.
(07:25) Doreen Downing:
Oh, that’s so wonderful. I really enjoy getting to know you better today.
And so that listeners can hear that there were some ways in which you could have been held back, but the holding back was even a part of what made you stronger. Yes, for those who aren’t watching you today, but just listening, you put up your fists and the spirit of speaking up and stepping up to challenges, The wild bunny.
Oh really fun to be with you today, the wild bunny. All right. Then you did manage to mature and go off to college and, yes, hippie. Tell us.
(08:09) Georgann Low:
I didn’t stay in college because I think I spent a year in New York in school, but I was in Manhattan all the time.
I was upstate. I was in Westchester County but I’d come into the city all the time, hang out in the village, and find out what was going on. Who were these people? Who were these interesting artists and musicians? And so that’s who I chose to be with. I made that choice very early on. I didn’t want anything to do with school.
I went to acting school the following year because I thought I was you know, wanted to be an actress and I followed that pursuit for a little while, and then I left LA and went up to San Francisco and the summer of love. Ah, the world changed. I changed. But I wasn’t comfortable in myself, I loved what was going on outside me.
I would have quiet moments that I really felt pretty good. But it took me until I started meditating when I was 28 to start to know myself. And Love myself. Love myself.
(09:22) Doreen Downing:
I love the tone of your voice you just went into when you talked about loving yourself. I noticed I’m doing it too.
Kind of a softer gentler. But before we go into that transition this whole idea, I actually just spent a few weeks on the East Coast and was in New York. And in that kind of environment where you can just express, it seems like a lot of, no, but it doesn’t matter how who you are, what you say.
I don’t know. It just seemed like there was a lot of activity, but this hippie stuff you said in San Francisco summer of love and I was over in Berkeley. And the People’s Park and all of that kind of free speech movement of all things. In drugs, you mentioned drugs being taking you into a more negative state.
You said loneliness and paranoia. Do you have any stories about what that was like?
(10:34) Georgann Low:
Yes, I think so. Because, actually the initial experience of LSD, say for instance, was fabulous. And as we all know, it was mind-opening. I was open to the universe and it was something I’ve never lost, frankly, never lost that.
And I don’t feel the need to do any drugs ever since I had kids, 45 years ago. I haven’t felt any need for drugs. It’s just the meditation that I knew at the time, even when I was experiencing that I would have to find it on the natch. I would have to find it. It would have to be real for me.
And because what I found was as glorious as LSD was, or whatever I was taking at the time, I took a lot of stuff, which is probably a problem too. But the coming down was jarring, and then I wouldn’t know where I was or who I was. And I got to the point where I could read people’s minds, and still can pretty much mostly, but, that was very upsetting for me. So it was seeing myself in a new way as part of the universe, universal self or soul that was so marvelous. But it also frightened me because I wasn’t, as you said, developmentally. I wasn’t capable of coming back into myself and being groovy. I was not groovy. I was like, oh, my God.
And then I just shut up. And people in San Francisco or even when I lived in New York, they would hustle me around to different places, different scenes and I couldn’t talk to them. I could only absorb their wisdom because there were so many teachers everywhere. And I was drinking plus hearing all this stuff about who I was in the future, who I was in the past, all this mind-boggling soul work.
And so it really changed me tremendously. And it was through the meditation that I could integrate what I had discovered.
(12:55) Doreen Downing:
Oh, this is wonderful. Before I hear more about the meditation and that journey that you took, I’m going to take a quick break and, come back because I’m so curious and already this idea about opening up to another reality and, what using a substance to do that did for you post, afterward, and so we’ll come back and I really want to hear more.
(13:44) Doreen Downing:
Hi, we’re back with Georgann Low, who’s telling us a story of her life. Having been somebody that had some challenges as a little girl with an older sibling and then moving out into the world and having a natural spirit. She called it sassy and we called her wild bunny because she naturally has that kind of, hey, world, here I am.
And, then got into the world of hippiedom and, found that the drugs were expansive but also depressive. And that is where we are now already in your story. You mentioned that there had to be some growing awareness that this was, I don’t know, good or healthy, or that the coming out of or down from drugs was something like misery.
Did that happen enough times, or how did you actually go enough already?
(14:49) Georgann Low:
Really Doreen, I think it was grace, and I’ll use that word as the way we are loved. If you want to call it by God, by divine mother, by the cosmos, by the energies that be, I don’t care what we call it, but we are loved.
And I know that I did not feel that because I wasn’t able to love myself because I was terrified of myself, but I actually got messages. Even in my stillness and my non-speaking, I got a lot of spiritual input from people. I don’t even know that they knew what they were saying, but the way I was processing it was, Oh, okay, I get it.
And that’s what led me to discover at 28, I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and not even decided. It was an awareness that came to me that I was so miserable, basically, that I’d probably die. I’d probably just die. There’d be not much reason for me to live until I took on a spiritual path, which for me was meditation.
(16:08) Doreen Downing:
Which teacher or which spiritual? Which type of meditation there’s so much?
(16:13) Georgann Low:
In Santa Fe, I was hanging around a lot of wonderful gay guys and, a few of them were involved in transcendental meditation. And, so I started with that.
I got hooked up with that and, stayed with that for maybe a year and then moved up to Boulder and went to Naropa and became involved in Tibetan Buddhism and, learned to meditate Allah The Tibetans.
And that worked for me for maybe another year, it was a very good path, but there was something in me that missed the whole Christian idea of Christ. Which I had encountered when I was a little girl, and it had meant a lot to me until it didn’t. I left Boulder and actually, that’s when I got married and had three kids and I got onto the Self Realization Fellowship path of Paramahansa Yogananda, which included Christ, although it was a yogic, very powerful beautiful yoga teachings.
So that’s where I stayed for about 40 years. And now, I guess I just do my own thing, I meditate daily and I embrace the whole thing. I like religion. It’s okay for me. I like it. Not all of it by any means at all. I know what a travesty it is, how much damage it does and has done.
But there’s a kernel. There’s a thread in. True religion of any kind, from anywhere, that is love, and that’s what I have discovered is my message. Is my guidance and is my support.
(18:13) Doreen Downing:
Your message, your guidance, and your support. It’s all the trilogy, wonderful hearing what you just, explained to all of us, painted a picture of your discovering TM first, which I did too.
And I was living in Malaysia and I was a Peace Corps volunteer and, there was a TM retreat in Singapore and that’s where I first learned meditation and I understand what you’re talking about moving through and experiencing other forms of meditation that come from a certain school or lineage. But I love what you just put together. All of it is the thread of love. That’s the purity, and you use the word grace. And even nowadays, how does meditation play a part in your life and you having a voice? How does it relate to having a voice?
(19:14) Georgann Low:
I have been a performer, a jazz singer on stage, and as I’ve grown, as I’ve kept meditating, that role has become more authentic.
And has allowed me to express the things I just talked about. And I’m not so interested in doing that right now, although I love being part of the music. I love jazz. I’ve been an artist and so on, but now what I’m doing is I’m teaching. So I’m teaching wherever I’m given the chance to teach and right now I’ve been a yoga teacher for many years.
I just didn’t do it for the last 20 years, but I’m being asked or called upon to do that again and do it with older people who have forgotten that they have this possibility of change, energy, and all the stuff I think about and perceive in my meditation. And in my life that I can teach them, so I just teach them what I know, it’s not just yoga.
I like to get them up moving and dancing to the music and, getting it back I say it didn’t go away you just forgot about it. That’s what I’m doing now. And writing also, I’ve written a couple of little books.
(20:33) Doreen Downing:
Very powerful. Tell me.
What’s one of the little books?
(20:38) Georgann Low:
The first one I wrote was called Dancing Alone and it was about my life in France because when my parents died, I bought a little tiny French farmhouse on a hill in a tiny hamlet where they spoke nothing but French and there were a lot of cows. And I could be by myself and I love it.
I love being by myself. I really love people too, but essentially I like my solitude. So I wrote a good book about my experiences in France. They’re very funny. A lot of my writing is funny because I can’t help it because I just see the humor so much and what’s going on.
And then the other one is Resurrecting Bunny, a Wild Child’s Pilgrimage, which is more about my spiritual, evolution. I love that book too, it’s just the kind of meandering of memoir, and they’re both on Amazon under my name or under the names that I gave you.
But even more importantly, I have to refer back to what you asked me before that. And that is how am I shaped now with my meditation path, my spiritual path, and I’d say I am filled with hope and positive energy, no matter what anyone does. Whatever I see that so and so is doing, or is happening in this world right now.
I still have this awareness that we’re going to come through this. We are loved, we are part of a greater and loving whole, and being part of that is important right now because it affects us. All the negativity that’s happening. Your voice comes from a deeper place. It’s not just words.
(22:40) Doreen Downing:
It comes from, to me and listening to you and energy. And you talked about energy and working with folks and helping them wake up to more that’s possible for them. And I just love being touched by your energy, which to me feels like a voice.
(23:06) Georgann Low:
Lovely. I love getting to talk with you. I think you’re a real gift.
(23:14) Doreen Downing:
Thank you. Thank you. Listeners, I’m having a moment. So in a way, it feels like I have a mirror going on because of your journey and my journey seems so similar where we both have traveled a few years and have learned so much, and now feel like what our sense of purpose in life is to have this voice that says, hello world, wake up.
There’s more that’s possible. And it’s within us. And don’t be afraid to go within because yes, there are blocks but there are those of us who know how to navigate those blocks because we’ve gone through them. And we’ve discovered more. The more that’s here for us in this universe that we happen to be dancing in.
(24:10) Georgann Low:
Yes, it’s definitely a deepening. So no matter what. Whatever I interface with, I come from this place where I feel all of the teaching that I’ve had for all these years deepening my experience. Deepening the dance.
(24:28) Doreen Downing:
Wow. Yes. And embodying it. You’ve done that a couple of times. Again, for those who aren’t able to watch and are just listening, there’s just a beautiful, graceful, and energetic movement that you do that I feel, stimulates those to respond, energetically when you do it, it’s we want to dance with you.
(24:53) Georgann Low:
I love it.
(24:54) Doreen Downing:
And laughter. We’re coming to the end, Georgann, for today. Who knows what’s ahead for us, because this feels like a door opening for us together. I always like to ask, is there something that you want to leave my listeners with? Some kind of just whatever seems to be in the moment.
It’s obviously not something I’m asking you to make up and make sure you have an ending, but we’ve had a conversation, and how are you wanting to close this for yourself?
(25:23) Georgann Low:
I guess I’d have to say, open your heart, take a deep breath, and laugh. That’s what I could leave you guys with.
(25:410 Doreen Downing:
Okay, and I just did that.
Open my heart. Let’s all do that together, those who are listening. Feel like you’re opening your heart, taking a deep breath, and feeling the listening to the heart, and expressing that laughter.
Beautiful. Bless you, Georgann. Thank you so much.
(26:06) Georgann Low:
Thank you. It was lovely. All the best to you, Doreen.
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Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.