Time and time again I have experienced a similar phenomena. I will be working with one of my clients on their voice, and there it is, the magical moment, when they are totally connected, when their soul is singing and all ears in the room are listening.
We do sense the moment of brilliance in others when they are aligned and their words are on purpose. Their tone has that “something special” that keeps an audience longing for more.
What amazes me. is often the singer, who is the center of it all, is not able to hear it. They do not sense their own beauty. It doesn’t matter how much I rave and how much the other people in the group shower them with compliments. The singer stands bewildered and struggles with accepting their own brilliance.
I have observed this for years now. Whether I am coaching songwriting or opening a singer’s voice, we have been conditioned, deep down, to feel like we are never enough.
We are conditioned to look for our failings. Our mistakes. We are programmed to observe what is not right in a situation, instead of looking for the goodness and things that are working well in our day to day accomplishments.
We feel oddly enough safer, when we can claim that we are not adequate, never enough,
We are more accepted by our society when we stay in struggle mode. Everyone nods and shakes their head in approval as we we talk about how difficult life is. How hard it is to write a lyric. How tight our throat is when we reach for the skies. How scary it is when we sing our truth.
Yet, then the moment comes when we finally get a taste of freedom. We break the chains that are holding us back. We are immersed in the beauty and our whole body comes alive. Our heart is open and the tones flow from our heart with ease. And it doesn’t end with us.
The music flows out into the space we are in. Everyone gets goosebumps and smiles and can feel the magic happening. It is palpable.
Mozart said, "love, love, love, that is the soul behind genius." And I agree. When we feel love and can allow love to enter into the equation, something inside us shifts.
I am not saying that everyone can sing well. I am saying that everyone has a genuine voice that can express their life with dignity. Everyone knows that place of pure love. It is the seed from which we have been born. It is the miracle that we carry inside our cells.
What I experience time and time again is the huge gap in the greatness we are capable of and how we perceive ourselves and our work to be.
We beg to feel whole and alive and then when it happens, when we are standing front and center and our knees are shaking like a leaf dangling off a limb and our voice is trembling like a gentle breeze hitting the porch wind chime. We feel our pulse quicken and tap into that immensely powerful place of brilliance that we carry within 24/7. We focus on the trembling and shakiness yet can not claim it. What is IT? It is the aliveness and the strength of having life energy pulsing through our veins and transforming itself into sound and music.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~ Marianne Williamson
Claim it. All of it.
Everything I do as an artist is aimed at trusting my own rhythm and voice to come out into the world. Everything I do as a teacher, is to support my clients to trust their own voice and singing and writing from this pure authentic place. I share with them the road I have traveled and experience I gained too make it easier for them.
I work from many different angles and have a zillion tricks I have gathered over the years.
I love the moment when each person in the group has broken through their resistance and stands feet solid on holy ground. Their voice breaks through all barriers and they have fought all their inner demons. My heart swells. I have nothing to say. Simply a broad smile.
Once you have found your essence, all the rest is simply frosting on the cake.
My gaze strays from the singer’s eyes and I look around the room. Everyone is peaceful, calm. There is a hushed joyous silence. A deep respect for the others. Smiles are abundant.
We were witness to something grand.
We hold this space for a few seconds. Yet then I watch the disbelief ascend. The conditioning enter the minds of all the participants.
Reminds me of the moment when we were a child and are holding tightly a balloon in our small fist. We feel proud and full of joy and suddenly the balloon slips up and away and we are devastated.
Our parents say, either "it’s OK, we will get you another one," or more often than not they say, "You see? You should have been more careful. You know that balloons can fly away. You did not hold it tightly enough. So get a grip on it."
And oddly enough we give up on wishes and stop believing in magic.
We let that moment of loss and incompletion lead us through our days. We hold ourselves back and rarely give ourselves permission to live in the blissful feeling of brilliance, joy, oneness.
We forget that as adults, we too can ride on carousels. We can blow up balloons and carry them with us anytime we wish. We can whistle down the streets and ride our bikes singing. We can take poetry breaks and dance in the kitchen while sharing our stories.
Instead of claiming our true longings, we slip back into our day to day muck.
It is not only with beginner students that this self-sabotage pattern happens. It is also with professionals. And with all my training and experience writing and performing, I too, experience the doubts and the fears come-up to once again be looked at. I see how these deep insecurities play a key role in holding us back from bliss and that the only way to inner freedom as an artist is to claim our voice and stand in our essence. Even if we shake like a leaf dangling on the limb. We are alive.
We are ALL Buddha. I can see you are Buddha. You don’t believe me. When you see you are Buddha, you are awake. That is what enlightenment is.
~ Katagiri Roshi.
We have difficulty seeing the value in our own lives. We struggle with purpose.
Why have we been given our life? What does our voice wish to give to our world?
Every day we have the opportunity to speak from our heart and sing from our soul.
Everyday we can create beauty in how we talk and how we write. Every single moment we can choose to claim it.
Over time we learn to arrive back to the beginner's mind and stand in our pure essence. We learn to value what we are and all that we have been given.
We learn to embrace the creative selves that we are. We relax. The more we claim our voice and all the nooks and crannies of ourselves, the easier the path is.
I am not talking about being a braggart. I am talking about honoring your life. The voice has an easier time opening and being present for you, when you start respecting all its many nuances.
Ask yourself Can you embrace yourself as the miracle you are?
When we claim ALL of ourselves in the present, we are present and presence is a given.
The confidence many artists struggle to find is easily won when we begin to claim all the goodness and brilliance we have together with the rough edges, instead of bashing ourselves time and time again.
This is the secret. This is the small flame that gives us the energy to become a burning star and shed light on the darkness that we still carry within. This is the key to showing up in a world that is longing for our full participation in the dance we call life.
Are you able to claim that piece of brilliance and say, yeah, that felt awesome? Hold that space of connection and oneness and don't let the judges sabotage your moment.
So, next time you are writing or standing front and center. be present to the moment. When the work is good - it is good. Acknowledge it. Stand by it. Claim it.
This shift of perception will give you the strength and compassion you need for our world.
Here's to your continued success. Stay Gold,
P.S. Share with us your experience, and feel free to join the Voice Your Essence™ Community over on Facebook. I'm really excited to hear what you have to say. Thank you, as always, for tuning in, reading and contributing.
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VOICE VISIONARY, SINGER- SONGWRITER AND COACH, KARA JOHNSTAD IS PASSIONATE ABOUT TRANSFORMING THE WORLD THROUGH THE POWER OF VOICE: She works one-on-one with clients to open their voices, write powerful songs and anthems, and create a lifestyle that allows them the freedom to create and live as independent artists. www.karajohnstad.com
Images of Kara by Joerg Grosse-Geldermann
Image: "Female Singer" by pixybay / CC0 Public Domain
Image: "Afro-American Singer by pixybay / CC0 Public Domain
All other images by Kara Johnstad
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