What freedoms do you give yourself when you’re alone?

The wind that ignites the flame

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A friend of mine is a voice coach.

She teaches musicians, actors and other performers how to understand their vocal body as a resonant instrument.

One of the tools she uses to motivate her students to achieve full sonic expression is by telling them:

Give us what you give to yourself when you’re alone.

What an inspiring mantra. Because it asks us to hold nothing back. To use the public performance as an invitation to feed and find ourselves, get connected with the space, elevate whatever and whomever is around us and give ourselves complete command to be fully occupied in that act, just as if we were alone.

It’s like watching an orthodox rabbi who’s lost in the rapture of prayer, swaying and rocking back and forth, nullifying all sense of self.

Hassidim call this holy ritual davening, whereby the movement helps the person lock their mind and concentrate on god. And so, the swaying is an unconscious reaction to feeling of the nearness of the divine.

Which may seem like bizarre public behavior to the untrained observer, but the rabbis are simply doing what they would be doing if they were alone. As the story goes, they view the human spirit as a candle flame. And when they’re lost in prayer and in the presence of that spirit, their movement creates the wind that sets the flame in motion.

Our challenge, then, regardless of our singing abilities and regardless of our spiritual proclivities, is to give others what we give to ourselves when we’re alone.

To narrow the line between our onstage performance and backstage reality. To allow ourselves rare moments of unguarded pride. To permit ourselves a grin that’s untangled in false humility. And to surrender our sense of self and just be.

Anyone can sing in the shower, but if we truly want to share our authentic voices with the world, we must find a way to carry the spirit of the shower with us wherever we go.

What freedoms do you give yourself when you’re alone?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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