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The Reverent Vessel

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I've recently been speaking to a man in England with a very interesting problem. Or better, a very common problem, caused by a very precious dynamic. Many people I work with are wrestling with fears of rejection, failure and success. These fears manifest in the body and voice, causing issues that on the surface seem entirely physical in nature. This man in England however is another matter. His fears are the same -- of rejection, of failure, of success-- but not for himself. Instead, he's worried that he is simply not good enough to express the gratitude he feels within his heart for life. He feels unworthy -- not of the world or the audience, but rather, unworthy of music. Oftentimes, I've found that reverent and searching souls are plagued by a pervasive sense of not being good enough. Never feeling adequately wise or worthy to teach, they often remain in the role of perpetual student, seeker and learner. In ways, they feel worthy enough to take, but not to give... a rather curious irony. The reality though is that this man -- and all of us -- is good enough to both give and receive. Not because of what we've done, or dream to do, but because we are, because we exist. And therefore, no better, no worse than anyone else, we have as much right to sing as we do to listen. We have the right to humbly give thanks, express our awe, celebrate where we are, and what we are experiencing in this moment with our breath and being. Ambition, as you might imagine, is another issue for this man. He becomes very uncomfortable when people compliment him, not because he feels inadequate in his performance, but because he doesn't like the attention. My advice to him, as it is to you, is to accept compliments like a wind that blows by you, touches your face for only an instant. These compliments people share are not meant for you, anyhow. Your gift isn't the gift of the sound of your voice, or your performance of the song that carried it, but rather, the place to which your voice has taken listeners within themselves. You are a vessel through which life touches the lives of others. Hold that idea for a moment... is there any more reverent -- or worthy -- purpose? This essay first published November 3, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008. To read more from Jennifer, visit: http://jenniferhamady.blogspot.com/.



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