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!)


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.



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.


Listening to desire

Listening to desire

I decided on Valentine’s Day that I would no longer be a soprano. I mean, a “Soprano,” as a title on my resume. Ironic, that this decision should come to me on the Day of Love. I made a decision to let something go that made me feel no love. (I love that!)

I had uncomfortably worn the title for a long time. Indeed, it is something that we all expect and understand in the world of classical music, coming out of conservatory, hitting the pavement, and making a go of a singing career. But what I knew was that it was making me quite unpleasant to be around. It made me cranky and upset and withdrawn and spiky and a liiiiiittle crazy. And also, incited homicidal inner thoughts about my voice.

What I also know is that this is not reflecting my typically peaceful and harmonious state of being and ohmygod what I would never choose to be. Yikes!

I had been growing into my work as a voice coach, developing my ideas and framework around the nature of the Sacred Voice. This continues to unfold at rapid pace and feeds me like no other work ever has. I have a vision to serve others, to connect with my own sacred center. And I desire to be liberated from that ego voice which was ruling the show for sooooo long.

So I can plainly see this soprano gig is not working. About a week prior to my big decision, I had actually started updating my performance website. I had gotten some new slapdash-get-’em headshots (after many years of ashamedly using the same ones) and knew my site needed some TLC. I started to edit the thing, and inadvertently started pulling it all down. I mean, I actually started accidentally deleting pages from the site! I started destroying my own website. (Oh that makes me smile to think of it now!)

My Valentine’s career revelation organically followed this subconscious identity destruction. I realized quite plainly that I could no longer follow this path for my voice. I had other career fish to fry. It’s time to move on.

Ok, let’s do it.

I drew a line in the sand for myself: I will no longer suffer on account of my voice.

I will let this go in order that something much more precious, joyful, and purposeful will come into being.

If my desire is to be free, then dammit, this must be the way towards that goal. Right?

It hurt for about five seconds. Then it didn’t. And now here we are.

Interestingly, I have not touched that site. I had been avoiding it. (It’s, if you are curious. It may be down by the time you read this!) For decades I had been scrambling and hustling and longing for others to accept me, to hire me, to approve of my talents, to look at what I have done and say this is impressive!

My self-worth was swept up in the ebb and tide of this external validation. It is absolutely the most normal thing in the world in the field of classical music: singers need to get noticed, they need training, they need street cred, they need to get hired. Mind you, it is wonderful to get hired! But not if it means that I sacrifice my own worth if I am not hired. Which I have done about a million times and it is basically The Worst. My level of Mettle was not sufficient enough to weather the tide.

But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I will stop singing music that provides a wellspring of joy for me, and that exercises my artist muscle.

It is an interesting, unsettling place to be, shedding my old skin and growing into my new. I am not at all sure about where my “voice career” is headed, and I am ok with that. I have settled into a new role: Teaching Artist, which is something that feels aligned and awesome. And I am witnessing the path towards honoring my desire.

It is nothing short of a blessed miracle that when you do honor your desire, your desire turns into reality. I trust this process, I have seen it unfold in my own life many times. I believe that the trickiest parts are 1) determining to follow your desire and 2) being in the process of unfolding and uncertainty.

Everything is so unknown! What am I supposed to do now? Who am I if I am not this? What is the right way?

But I still recommend it. The desire for my own voice is to be free of any obstacles from my ego. My vision is to use my Sacred Voice in service of healing, both for myself, for others, and the planet. This may seem a little broad right now, but the details are filling in.

My desire informs my vision.

It is rather delightful to have both of these elements fulfilled in your career, when you have a second to notice that they are actually there. Because that is what is happening, and has been happening since I committed to myself to feel better. Tricky when you are so used to them not being there?

What I can assure you is that I have never once, since Valentine’s Day, ever criticized my voice.

Now THAT is a pretty sweet gift, indeed.