What song should I sing?

What song should I sing?

What song should I sing?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

This simple question can leave you wandering around for years:

What song should I sing??

Our attitude towards choosing repertoire is informed by many things: your tastes, your musical interests, your professional aspirations, your mood.

On the surface, the selection of one song does not seem like a big deal. But it can quickly lead to overwhelm. Why?

Because we attach so much of ourselves, and our worthiness, to what we sing. Questions abound about whether this is right for me; where will I ever perform this; does this define who I am as a human being; will people think I am strange or reaching too high or playing it too simple; will I be hired; will I be capable?

My friend, this is a lot to hold for one song. I know the feeling, though. Overwhelm is real, and in most cases it leads to inertia. If we cannot commit, we then leave this choice to someone else (like your voice teacher!), who may choose something out of alignment for you. 

Choosing your repertoire does not need to be so emotionally laborious, if you are able to break down the process and reframe your approach.

When I worked as a voice teacher at the National Cathedral, I had to choose gajillions of songs for my students every semester, year after year. Out of necessity, I became nimble at selecting songs for each student, personally suited to each voice, personality, and desired musical and vocal goals.

I liken this process to wearing the Sorting Hat at Hogwarts: using my intuition, I would say the person’s name in my mind, and hear the title, or a composer’s name, or a genre, or some little breadcrumb that would lead me to some definitive choices for that student. I was not overwhelmed by the choosing, because I did not have any existential questions about their vocal futures! I was trying to serve their best and highest interest. 

When we are young, or are beginners, we are always going to look to our teachers for guidance. If you have had any musical training at all, this is pro forma, and an important way to learn about repertoire, your aptitudes, skills, and tastes. 

But what happens when you feel that inner pull towards something else? (I know you have.) Maybe something that other people either would not approve of, or agree with, or recommend? Or even something your past self would not understand.

Maybe you feel pulled towards something you don’t know about yet? A new genre, perhaps, or something else that is causing you to step outside of the box, or leading you into a new career path. Scary, right? Overwhelming?

That makes perfect sense. But let’s break this down. First of all, let us celebrate your urge to make your own music! This is a crucial first step on your voice journey, and as far as I am concerned, is totally awesome.

Your sacred voice is calling you to your purpose.

And then… stop. Wait. Where do you go from there? 

This is where you are bombarded with all of those questions.

First of all, choosing one song does not determine your worthiness, or your career path, or your entire Self. It is one song. 

A song does not define you. A song is a piece of art, created by another person, or people. You do not need to conquer a song. You enter into a creative relationship with a song. And guess what? Songs need singers to sing them. That’s you, my friend! 

I believe that a song chooses you, as much as you choose a song.

I also know that other people have told you what songs you should sing. This may have been for very Good Reasons. I have chosen many songs for people to sing, all for the greater good of the student.

But as you evolve, you will notice – and feel – that the creative choices of other people and organizations are no longer aligned for you.

Because as a creative person, you are going to need to choose the musical vehicle for your own transformation, growth, and personal expression. That may be very different than what you know. That may intimidate you because it means stepping out of the  only box you know. (Thank you, classical voice training.)

My friend, I applaud you. This is a big leap, and it is important. It feels scary, because it means you are reaching into a new level, and stepping closer towards your calling to use your voice in the world.

So when you feel overwhelmed, know that something big is moving through you. You are ready to make a leap for your voice, and yourself.

Not that I am any kind of authority, but if it helps, I give you full permission to sing whatever your Higher Self calls you to sing. Whether that means a big change, or something you never would have done before, or seems like a reach, or goes against everything your teacher has told you. 

You must trust your own intuition and inner guidance. You must honor the force within you that says, “this song is calling to me.” Or follow your hunch to listen to something, or find the sheet music, or ask about something.

You may actually have to break some damn rules. 

It is only by honoring our inner voice that we discover our true purpose. We must learn to recognize and shed the voices that hold us back. Sometimes they are the voices of others. More often it is your own Ego Voice, keeping you safe from unleashing that magnificent force you have held within you, but without a clue as to what to do, and hoping you will not actually die from choosing a song.

So we don’t choose at all. We would rather circle in a state of indecision than choose one, single, two-and-a-half-minute song that could make us shift into a state of being that is amplified, but unknown. Refreshed and quenched, but terrifying. Maybe even happy.

A song does not define you. A song helps you discover the best things about your voice. A song is a container for you to develop your artistry. 

Try not to read any further. No existential crisis required. Just pick up a song. Literally any song. And follow your inner voice to what is next.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

take the quiz!

Discover your path forward into feeling more capable and trusting in your singing.

ps: I created this worksheet to help intuitively guide you towards choosing musical works that are in alignment with your creative voice. Click here to download your worksheet!

further reading

What song should I sing?
What song should I sing?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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to err is human
to err is human

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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on being capable: an essential teaching
on being capable: an essential teaching

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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healing from voice rejection

healing from voice rejection

healing from voice rejection

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

I’ll never forget the time when this man laughed in my face when I was just about to sing.

Or looked down at his desk in disappointment after I had just started to sing.

Or spent 45 minutes telling me why I wasn’t up for the job. And then asked his personal assistant to further the argument as to what was wrong with my voice.

Or told me why my best friend was better for the role. 

Or requested that I sit out a on a 19-voice piece, of which I was the 20th participant on the gig, left to pace around the nave of a massive cathedral, emptied of its chairs, vainly fighting back the tears of shame that wanted to spill forth from my eyes like raging torrents.

Voice rejection is just about the Worst. Thing. Ever.

For me, the sting of these events is worse than the transgressions of friends and lovers.

This is my voice we are talking about: the thing that matters most to me.

How about you?

It is clear that our voice is a reflection of our self. Indeed it is an amplification of our self. It makes perfect sense that the ego will take an event such as a rejection, and draft its own self-destructive tract of shame and victimhood to be replayed over and over again, until we are convinced that it’s real.

Now, let’s set the record straight: it is perfectly, utterly normal for someone to not receive a job, or land a role, or “win” an audition. This is standard practice, akin to any application process. 

But after a while, my ego could not distinguish a standard rejection, or piece of critical feedback, from a rejection of my entire self.

Why not?

Because I had been shamed while being rejected.

Which cemented my inner terror of opening my mouth in front of anyone in case they were listening, for fear that I would be thrown out of the room, or outed in some way for being a totally fake singer!

This is, as they say, not cool. I am not cool with this state of being. There must be a better way, right?

I am not able to change things now. I am not able to single-handedly dismantle the broken audition process, or the patriarchy, or insist that someone exercise some decent manners when they have something unpleasant to say. This would be great! 

But it’s not a better way. The better, wiser way is to change my perception of the events that have formed this distorted perception of myself and my voice. Am I a terrible, worthless person because someone laughed in my face? Of course not. Is that a completely inappropriate action for a person hearing an audition? Um, yes.

But we cannot miss the larger point.

I believe that the events that I have experienced – the very worst, the most cringeworthy – confirm for me that I must fiercely believe in the value of my voice. Indeed, I accept that these experiences have crucial lessons embedded in them, if only I have the capacity to recognize their alchemical potential for healing and wholeness.

Do they tell me that I should work harder? Or prepare more? Or improve my technique? Or reconsider my repertoire? Or toughen up? Or learn to be emotionally bulletproof? Or just deal with it and move on because it’s normal??

Maybe. All helpful points.

I could also choose to ditch the whole singing thing because it’s just too, too painful. Which I have considered, and I know some who have chosen this path.

But I put this to you: 

How can we turn rejection into gold?

We have to see the truth: our soul voice is longing to be free to express itself here, in the world, on planet Earth.

When we experience a rejection, our ego will desperately try to protect us, and say, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN BECAUSE IT WAS AWFUL.”

But the soul says:

“You must step into your own individuality. You must love me. You must accept me. You must confront and acknowledge your very own sacredness.”

You can tell which voice is louder. But the softer voice will make you weep with inner joy and recognition because that’s what this singing business is all about: the expression of your inner sacredness.

We are part of something much bigger and grander than one small moment in time. But those painful, unpleasant moments are the triggers for deepening our love and acceptance of our Self.

I have become a fierce warrior of loving and valuing my own voice. Believe me, it drives me crazy trying, and sometimes I am so incredibly frustrated I have to laugh in exasperation.

My voice is not perfect. It is freaking challenging. But it is lovable, because I am lovable. And because I believe in the capacity of my voice to express my inmost desires, even if it sounds like a wobbly mess.

I have no idea if I could even “win” an audition any more, because it has been so long since I’ve even tried. But my voice will find its way into the world.

Accept that your voice will find its way into the world, too. Indeed, I believe your soul longs for it.

But first, acknowledge the moments that set you off course. Own them, and be free of them.

I invite you to write them here, put them down: let them go.

I will hold your hand, and we will walk together in freedom. We will use our voices to uplift the world, to heal ourselves, and expand into our own sacredness.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

IMAGE: Photo by Sharosh Rajasekher on Unsplash

further reading

What song should I sing?
What song should I sing?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
to err is human
to err is human

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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on being capable: an essential teaching
on being capable: an essential teaching

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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clarify your vision for your voice

clarify your vision for your voice

clarify your vision for your voice

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

 As we have safely landed on the shores of 2021, I have found myself wanting and hungry for the Next Steps.

What in the heck should I do now? 

However, I know now that I am getting ahead of myself. Because one of the most valuable lessons I have gained this past year is that: right action follows clarity of purpose.

Of course, we can continue to go about our business, bumping into things and figuring it all out for ourselves as we go. But it all feels a bit meandering, and not entirely satisfying. But there is a wiser course of action. It requires cultivating some inner space and time to get clear on the bigger picture.

So I have a question for you: What is the vision for your voice?

If you ask the question earnestly, and take the time and space to ruminate upon it, you will come closer seeing your vision not only clarify, but manifest in your life. 

I so sincerely believe in this exercise. It has changed the course of both my personal relationship with my voice, and my professional career in profound ways.

I encourage you to create some space for this question, especially if you, too, are hungry for the Next Steps but are not sure where to start.

The Practice

This is a journaling exercise. If you are someone that journals, you will understand the power of this practice. If you are not, or feel resistance to it, I understand. But lean into it. Clarity will pursue your hard efforts, and the results will be worth every drop of emotional sweat.

Create a quiet, safe space for yourself where you will be free of interruptions, and can meaningfully engage with these questions. Take out your favorite journal, or keep a voice journal, dedicated to the voice journey you are on.

Start — always — by mindfully connecting with your heart center, and inviting your connection with your Sacred, inner voice. (Here, my friend, is where the real wisdom lies within you.)

Allow your breath to flow. Do not concern yourself with the distraction of the quality of your breath. Just let it be your companion. 

And now, read each prompt and let the question sit in your heart. Then, let your pen flow. It will move of its own accord. Your practice is to simply allow it to move, without judgment or analysis of the response. 

When you finish with the prompts below, continue to write whatever you wish. You needn’t stop! The journal is a holding space. It serves as your own personal incubator for the spirited creativity that resides within you that needs a place to be born.

Journal Prompts

+ What is the vision for my Sacred Voice?

+ How am I called to use my voice?

+ How do I want to feel when I sing?

+ What is the music?

+ Who is my audience?

+ What am I meant to learn?

+ Do I need a guide to help me realize this vision?

+ What do I need to let go of in order to realize this vision?

+ What do I need to heal in order to realize this vision?

+ What is my healing process?

+ What action do I need to take in order to live into this vision?

 

Enjoy the process, Dear One. Your ideas are precious, and your voice is sacred. What we need out here in the world is for you to unleash this force of beauty, spirit, and personal vision. It is your gift to give, and ours to receive.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

IMAGE: Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

further reading

What song should I sing?
What song should I sing?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
to err is human
to err is human

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
on being capable: an essential teaching
on being capable: an essential teaching

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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replace strife with wonder

replace strife with wonder

replace strife with wonder

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

When I was in graduate school, a small but stout music conservatory, I had to take one of the most lethal classes: Graduate Seminar. Required for all grad students, it was a hodge-podge of this and that, overseen by the conservatory’s director. 

I was in there with every manner of student, but it was terribly lonely. I had no solidarity buddies from the Early Music department, and anytime we stepped out of talking about performance (like learning Schenkerian analysis or whatever) I was lost. I am pretty sure I cried.

Except every once in a while, we had a guest speaker: Benjamin Zander, a motivational speaker who would blow off all of our grumpy, overwhelmed, self-conscious, conservative conservatory tops. He would say things like, “Sit in the front row of your life!” and I would sit there and think, “yes, I will!” and then look around at the class and wonder, “is this amazing to everyone else, too? What the hell is going on right now? Is it safe to participate with joy and show that this is utterly life-changing?” 

Zander introduced me to the art of The Reframe. I have fairly described myself as a myopic musician. I was not evolved or self-aware enough at that time to consider the potential of this perspective and his excellent advice. But I have never forgotten.

I recall him telling a parable about some Student who kept Messing Up. Over and over and over again, the same bloody mistake: a rut. You know that student, right? It’s you and me. What is our typical response?

I am so stupid! I suck! What’s wrong with me? I am never going to get it! Duh, I should know better! Etc, etc.

Zander suggested a reframe. Rather than, “Oh shit, I did it again, why not… how fascinating?” (I’m pretty sure that is word for word, even after twenty years!)

This was an indelible moment for me. It has shaped my journey of personal growth and completely altered the path of my voice practice. 

Dear One: you are going to make mistakes. You are going to make some clunkers. You are going to look funny. You are going to kick yourself. I’m sorry. I do it, too. But be wise about it. Mistakes are not a character flaw: they are an essential element of our humanity. But let them teach you.

What happens when you reframe your mistakes into valuable lessons?

I know it is much easier to berate yourself, but that will not serve you in any way, whatsoever. So the next time you have to, say, record yourself (which I did the other day: good times!), and you keep seeing or hearing that thing that is bothering you, try to absorb it rather than reject it.

I keep doing that Thing I don’t want to do. How fascinating!

Here is the jewel of understanding: when you bring an unconscious pattern to light, you evolve. You stop making the damn mistake. It is only possible to bring the unconscious to light when we take the timeand have the willingnessto understand our patterns.

Mr. Zander’s appearance those dreary mornings in seminar were potentially more impactful than any musical training I received at school. His ideas gave me an understanding that it is not simply the content of what we offer as musicians, but it is about our wholeness as beings who vessel that content. But we are all simply too blinded by our faults to see the true power and potency of what we do. 

So please, try to gain some perspective. With your singing, at least! 

The next time you make a bloop (which you will), or are disappointed with your performance (which you will), or pull back in fear (which you will), STOP the critique. Assess the situation. Here is my personal reframe of Mr. Zander’s question:

What is really going on here?

I swear it will help. I probably ask myself this question ten times per day. It is honestly harder to ask when I sing, but that, to me, is the most important time.

Because I recognize that my mistakes are borne of my fears. And when I can shed light on my fears (even teensy ones), they are transformed into feedback. Feedback that can help me change my habits and undo those tendencies that irk me the most and hold me back. Feedback that can help me heal.

Try reframing in your practice. Remove the Strife, and replace it with Wonder. It works. You will feel better and sing better. You will show up with greater authenticity and self-regard. You will become that vessel of something that is much greater than we can possibly conceive.

You just have to get out of the way first.

Hugs,

 

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

further reading

What song should I sing?
What song should I sing?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
to err is human
to err is human

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
on being capable: an essential teaching
on being capable: an essential teaching

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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overcoming the singing squelch

overcoming the singing squelch

overcoming the singing squelch

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

“We are meant to shine as children do.” – Mariann Williamson

When do singers lose our joy of singing? When we do we become fearful of being heard? When do we become terrified of making mistakes?

Last year I had the eye-opening experience of sitting on a panel with other musicians at Towson University, home to an enormous department of voice majors. I was there to speak about careers in ensemble music, and it was a truly wonderful, enriching event. 

I noticed something, sitting on the stage, looking into the student’s faces. As I began to speak about my own singing journey, about having a hard time with my singing, but also how I gained a clarity of  purpose and moved past my blocks, hands began to shoot up to ask me questions. I detected a real hunger for answers: answers that helped them make sense of why this singing gig is freaking hard, and how can they overcome it. After the event wrapped up, students began to line up en masse to chat with me, in the hopes of having their questions answered. They were having a hard time.

I was heartened to help. I was also heartbroken.

The other day I was tagged on a Facebook post: a colleague was asking other music teachers about how to get students to practice more effectively. Oy, a veritable Pandora’s Box for me, having worked with a million young students (and being one myself), and the invariable battle with urging students to practice. 

Why do students resist practice? They are afraid. When you are afraid of constantly making mistakes and facing your worst insecurities–on a daily schedule–this can be torture. It can also begin the undoing of joyful music-making. Of loving music. Of loving singing. Of being heard.

I came across another post of a client of mine, we worked together only once. She recorded herself singing a sweet folk tune, it was beautiful to read her post and witness her step up courageously to her community, embracing her fears and being honest about her singing gremlins.

When we met, she was very quiet. She told me bits of her story, thoughtfully took in everything in as I spoke and offered my guidance, and then when she started singing I almost fell off my seat. This person had a formidable talent, skills, all the “goods.” Why was she so fearful?

I scanned the comments of her brave post. I read the reactions of other singer friends, presumably also with formidable talents, who were struggling to find their own voice again after they finished their undergrad. One even confessed that she had stopped singing altogether. 

My heart broke again.

I have met many people who have struggled with finding their voice after school. Me, too. 

Traditional voice training is a system that means to develop a singer’s basic functionality in order to maximize the resonant potential of their sound. This means buffing out imperfections and bloops that stand in the way.

For some people, that is no big deal (or at least, it would seem so). 

For others, it is a life-threatening process. I am not exaggerating. Especially if you are highly-sensitive, which is probably a LOT of singers. 

Why would someone stop singing after learning how to sing? After stepping into an educational experience that is meant to hold them up and develop their skills and expose them to the inherent beauty of fine musical literature. Why do we run for the hills? What causes us to become so squelched?

I believe that the means by which we have been taught to improve our singing are the very same used to sabotage our singing. 

I witnessed this in my studio over many years, as every trap we fell into, every disgusted moment we have with ourselves is all connected back to one thing: thinking our singing

Let’s get out of this loop.

For some singers, this method is volatile and inefficient, and I will be frank: it instills fear and shame.

Here is the thing: your voice is not broken. It is sacred. You will not be told this in traditional music training, I’m sorry to say.

I have been told over and over in every lesson about how to fix my vocal problems, since I was in the ninth grade. A gal begins to think that her voice is broken, you know? She can even become ashamed of her voice, and herself. That is a lot to manage emotionally, especially for young people who are not equipped with the emotional tools to manage those big emotions. Especially for a real squishy emotional absorbent softie, like myself. Shame is a big deal, and the fear is real. No wonder we run away from our fears and shut down our voice.

My friend, you are not in need of fixing. You are, however, in need of healing. 

The first thing to do, right now, is acknowledge the sacred nature of your voice. Unfortunately, the voice of the mind is much, much louder. So you need to be a little bit quiet in order to begin this process.

Start by inviting the connection. It’s as simple as anything and anyone can do it.

Connect with your heart center. 

Say these words: “I call forth my Sacred Voice.” And go from there.

Hugs, 

 

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

further reading

What song should I sing?
What song should I sing?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
to err is human
to err is human

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

read more
on being capable: an essential teaching
on being capable: an essential teaching

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel [dssb_sharing_buttons columns="5" btn_padding="0px||||false|false" _builder_version="4.9.2" _module_preset="default" share_font="Alata||||||||" share_text_align="left" width="90%" max_width="100%" module_alignment="left"...

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truly, wildly self-configuring

truly, wildly self-configuring

I had a dream the other night that was such a transparent display of unconscious fears that I laughed out loud when I woke up.

In the dream, I was trying to help out some conductors. (Oh God, this is too much!) By “helping” I mean pleasing, being pleasant, can-do, will-do, think highly of me, know that I am capable and responsible and good enough to be part of the group. For the first dream segment, I was grabbing a courtesy coffee at Starbucks for Conductor #1, cue maddening dreamy obstacles to obtaining coffee, then BOOM I am running late to rehearsal. In the second installment, I was compiling a list of Christmas rep, but was late with the deliverables and invoked Conductor #2’s sullen disappointment. Such dream frustration! 

What I appreciate right now is how upset I was. I was so frustrated, so myopic! This dream was a condensed replay of how I Used To Be. And now I see how much of my precious self I frittered away in my desire to please and to be accepted by Others. 

These fears used to keep me in shadows. Shadows that kept me hidden, my good sense and intuition and creativity and worthiness tucked away for another day, another job, another time, another life. 

It is uncomfortable to write this. Literally. But my present awareness is the greater pleasure. It is a relief to see how I have pulled my energy out of these external outlets. I have woven these strands back into my own source, which I am learning to manage anew. I feel strange, and still filled with massive, slobbery, unruly doubts. But I recognize them now. I am less near-sighted.

I also have a greater awareness of a life pattern. It is a cycle that I have repeated countless times, and I am faced at this time with a reckoning.

I give away (myself). I suffer. I awaken. 

But I have always fallen short of the final piece: I reclaim

To Reclaim means you have to change. It means you have to freaking grow, bigger and larger than you have been conditioned, and condition yourself, to be.

I don’t know what A Larger Self looks like. It is a fairly intimidating, overwhelming prospect.

But once you decide to reclaim your personal power, well, lurking back in the shadows of yourself becomes unacceptable and seriously uncomfortable. 

I have reclaimed the power of my voice. I have decided to reclaim everything else in my life, too. That hilarious dream and those shadowy archetypes were a reminder that I must hold true to myself. (And frankly, a pretty lousy attempt at pulling me backwards. My poor ego, she must be sorely disappointed!)

My Self will not be overtaken by the fear of others acceptance, validation, approval. Period. Rather, I will believe steadfastly in my truest, wildest self-configuration of my voice and my artistry. 

Do we not look at our musical idols and say, oh how I wish I had their courage? Their tenacity? Their brilliance at themselves? Do we not long to do the same? 

The more I deepen my singing practice, the closer I get to that place of courage, and trust, and knowing that I am on the right track. I am so proud of myself. I am so much lighter inside myself, so much more caring and kind and understanding and for sure my voice feels like a million dollars, like liquid silver, like a factory showroom model.

The only thing is, I have no external proof. I have no person or institution saying to me, Congratulations! You have self-realized as a singer and sound awesome and are brilliant and you can now proceed to fame and fortune!

(Oh that is hilarious!)

Dammit.

But… I do have these teeeeeeny-tiny whispers. They are of inner knowing. That’s it. Teeny-tiny. This quiet, inner place of Yes. I understand. Now go. Do it. Just be yourself. It’s alright. It’s important. In fact, your life depends on it. 

So what else can I do?

Can’t hide in the shadows. Can’t ask other people what they think. Can’t wait for the phone to ring. Or for a lucky email. Can’t hope for the best. And I certainly cannot ask others to provide validation for myself and my voice. The very thought of it seems ludicrous! But there you go.

So, I will actively practice being myself.

I will rely on my inner knowing as the only authority on that self. I will listen to this inner knowing when I sing, when I create, when I make choices, and when I guide others to do the very same. I will sing, create, and make choices. I will guide others. I will be in the constant unfolding of Reclaim. I will live into Larger. I will truly, wildly self-configure.

May you always listen to your dreams.

Hugs,

allison

ps: this post is partly inspired by “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. I recommend you read it. I wish I did that yesterday. It is in synchronistic alignment with my life’s timeline right now. It is brave and fierce, and I hope it may inspire you to craft your own true, wild self-configuration.