Monday, April 19, 2010

The Resistance

"Offer up your best defense. But this is the end of the innocence."
- Don Henley

If days are a song, then last week's soundtrack may as well have been entitled "The Resistance."

That's not to say that the struggles weren't beautiful, or romantic. Anyone who's ever seen or danced the Tango knows that the push and pull of yes and no is one of the sexiest and most attractive dances around.

The problem is that off the stage and in life, the glorious angst leads not to applause, but rather, to isolation.

Take, for example, a client who came in aching that yet another man walked out on her. She's tried everything... she wanted it to work so badly, yet she was now alone, heartbroken, and devastated. Again.

Memory is short and shifty in the long game of victimhood, especially when we're unaware of the payoff we're getting from being a martyr.

The reality, however, is that we alone write, produce, and star in the screenplay of our lives, often getting less than we say we want in exchange for The Reward we secretly or overtly prefer, or believe we can't live without. This movie starts with the illusion that we're really putting ourselves out there, and our hearts on the line, when in fact, we're already and always hiding in a solitary prison that we built long ago.

The walls came crumbling down for my client when I asked her to answer one simple question:

"What man that you've ever dated, or wanted to date, have you actually wanted to be in a relationship with?"

After running a few miles of well-rehearsed lines from the script of "it's them, not me", gently and with a touch of humor we looked at Her Reality: the fears of being unworthy of love and abandoned ensure that she either picks people who will leave, or drives those worthy of staying far, far away...

In short, she's been playing a game that no man can win.

While this realization wasn't fun for her to see, it's a true beginning of a new game, a different movie. Her honesty allowed and will continue to allow her to move through fear into humility... the best place to start any and every journey. Especially those that really matter: Learning, Loving, and Living.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Aching Honesty

A client came in the other day longing to improve her R&B sound. Herself a professional jazz singer, she'd just picked up Mary J Blige's new album and wanted desperately to learn how to create "that aching honesty..."

Isn't it funny how often the answers to our questions lie within the questions themselves?

So many people I work with- singers and non-singers alike- are looking for explanations for how to create more sincere musical and personal statements, unaware that they already possess the answers.  My job is simply to help coax out from hiding what they long ago deemed unable or unworthy of properly learning about and achieving their dreams and goals.

The great leaders and artists- those that indeed ache with honesty- do so because they constantly pour out from within what they've culled from the deepest reaches of their interiors. Their gifts are not necessarily those of inherent greatness, but rather, the ability to search for the uniqueness within themselves, and the bravery to proudly express whatever they find.

The true source of my client's longing became clear when we explored what Mary J Blige's voice and image represented to her: "uninhibited, sensual, powerful, emotional voluptuousness, dripping with self-love..."

... none of which she felt about herself.

Together we began the journey of uncovering and releasing the sensuality within her, as well as the buried belief that she has the right to express it. Once we did, what began as a desire to imitate turned into a truly unique and special voice making itself known... quietly at first, then louder, stronger, and more sure...

Watch out, Mary...

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