All posts by Jeannette LoVetri

Registers, Vowels, Formants, Harmonics

The topic of formant/harmonic tuning is a very hot one in voice science circles these days. It explains a lot of what we hear as sound in various vocal qualities and gives us clearer guidelines about how the vocal tract is functioning acoustically.

Knowing, however, isn’t doing. Knowing is learned through trial and error by listening and feeling over time, hopefully with educated eyes and ears nearby to guide you. Only singing can teach you to sing, just like dancing can teach you to dance, playing can teach you to play (an instrument or a sport) and acting can teach you to act. It isn’t possible to be good at anything by knowing about it. It’s not like arithmetic (which doesn’t change and can be learned from a book) or by any of the hard sciences which are definable by math, geometry, physics or the laws of the universe as we presently understand them.

The same can be said of music. You can learn to play or sing notes, you might even learn to make them louder or softer or sustain them for a longer time. You cannot learn to be musical or expressive by making pitched-based noises. There is an element of sensitivity required that might be cultivated but in some people it’s just how they react naturally. Someone like me, who never worked on being expressive with any coach or teacher, who had to learn to control my reactions not develop reactions, is a natural in the sense that the music does a lot of the work. Singing in this way is not difficult, and can be very fulfilling.

Can I line up my formants and harmonics? I suppose so. If I have the right equipment and I understand what I’m doing, could I align them in specific ways? I guess. Do I need to do that to be a good singer? Nope. It’s good to know and to understand. It’s useful to grasp the material world’s functional parameters including those that occur in the body. Does that help me sing? No. Does it help me avoid stupid explanations about what happens when I sing? You bet!

If you understand registers as both feeling and sound, and if you can adjust the shapes in your throat and mouth, including your face, your jaw position and your lips, all you need to add is volume, pitch and duration. Being artistic, however, is not found in those ingredients nor is it to be discovered in formant/harmonic tuning or open/closed quotients. It’s found in your body, your heart and your imagination.

 

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I’m Good Enough Already

I just encountered this again. Sadly, there are people, even professional people, who think this. They get to a place they like and they stay there, sometimes forever.

What kind of artist thinks, “I’m good enough already?” What kind of  singer has the idea that there is no further place to go? A bad one, I would say.

Being an artist comes with the responsibility to always be looking for the next discovery and if you sing, that discovery should be at least partly in the voice itself. As you grow, and later as you age, the body is constantly changing. Working to be the best vocalist you can should be an on-going journey for all the time that you sing. It should continue if you become a teacher after no longer performing, as not to keep digging will make you a less dynamic, interesting guide for others.

There are a lot of reasons why people do not continue to work on their singing, most of them not good. Unless there is some kind of debilitating illness or a change in life circumstances that warrants a period of withdrawal from vocal study, a singer who is lazy, complacent, disinterested, lacks confidence, afraid, bored, or simply an egotist, should be addressing the voice as a life task. I have been asked by students, “Why should I work on my voice any more? I like it the way it is.” The answer to that is always the same. “How do you know that you have found all of what your voice can do? How do you know the voice that you like so much couldn’t be even more wonderful? How do you know if you are doing something that isn’t good which could be improved by working with a true expert?” Really, who are you, who is anyone, to think, “I’m already good enough.”

I have been blessed in my life to work with some of the top vocal artists in the world — people making their livelihood by performing as singers — and none of those people (zero) was “content” to rest upon his or her laurels. The more professional they were, they more willing they were to work on being not just good  but excellent.

If you have run out of ways to work on your voice and on your singing, you need to acknowledge that it is completely unnecessary to be stuck there. Skilled teachers will find ways to take you to the next place, to challenge you to grow and to find new ways to be artistic when you sing. You might have to look to find the right instructor, but if you seek, you will find.

Never rest on your past or current accomplishments. Doesn’t work.

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Branding

Some recent articles about the profession of teaching singing have strongly protested branding. Seems a few people are outraged that singing teachers have brands and give out certifications. These critics say that all the information anyone ever needs has been for around for years and that nothing else is necessary.  They are condemning and suspicious of branding. They believe that what you need, of course, is a doctorate (in classical singing).  That’s better than anyone’s brand or certification. 😬 Right.

I guess these people have never heard of The Alexander Technique®, Feldenkrais® work, Suzuki® training, Montessori® schools, The Lee Silverman Method®, or dozens of other branded methods of training in different fields that are educational in nature. They may not have heard  of copyrighting a book or article that addresses a specific pedagogical point of view.  Haven’t all the good pedagogy articles and books already been written? Who needs another “expert” opinion on breathing or formant/harmonic tuning? Don’t we all already have that information? Since a few of these people think you can teach belting by “matching up the right numbers”, even though they can’t sing a belt song under any circumstances, I wonder how clearly they grasp anything else.

If operatic training prepared you to sing metal rock, all opera singers would be able to sing metal rock. If metal rock prepared you to sing opera, all metal rock singers would be good opera singers. (After all, they are both loud.) If singing in mix was a great way to sing either metal rock or opera, then no one would need lessons and everyone would, indeed, sing every style of music with equal ease. Guess that’s not true, huh? Maybe someone should point that out to these experts who may not, in fact, be as expert as they themselves think, particularly when it comes to the actual singing and not just the “talking about” singing. 😶

Being outraged that some teachers have discovered a successful way to organize singing training that isn’t based on breath support, resonance or formant/harmonic tuning only shows profound ignorance. Being against branding is like being against high speed rail trains……useless. Sooner or later, all trains will be high speed. Some countries are already using them. Sooner or later, the most successful methods of singing training will be recognizable brands. Some already are.

Yes, there are some really crazy teachers of singing out there and yes, they have methods and give out certifications but not everyone is in the noodnik category of Mr. and Mrs. Outrage’s articles. Some people who have brands actually have the endorsement of high level voice scientists, speaking voice pathologists, medical doctors, award-winning singers, highly experienced singing teachers (with doctoral degrees) and university music departments who are open to learning new things from someone else. If you lump everyone with a brand into the same “lousy” and “suspect” category, you are simply showing your own prejudice and exposing that you have not done your investigative homework. It’s like saying McDonald’s is bad because the food you get in every McDonald’s all over the world is exactly the same. No, that’s actually one of the strengths of McDonald’s. It may have problems, but that’s not one of them.

Since the profession has been completely unwilling and unable to organize itself to have even the smallest amount of agreement about what singing training is or should be in any style including classical, it leaves it open to individuals who have been willing to take a stand to do so. The educational vacuum left by the professional associations will be filled. The profession cannot, then, be angry when that is done. Individuals who protest branding should look at why such training programs are so successful when they are.

Those who write to vent should take care. It doesn’t work. I would say to Mr. and Mrs. Academia, “A majority of your information seems  to be about things that have existed for 200 years. Maybe it’s time you had the humility to explore the new things you have dismissed as being beneath you and find out why other people want a certification. A method based on solid premises and a long established public history might be well worth your exploration. Who knows, if you actually see it with open eyes, you might learn something. Wouldn’t that be an illuminating experience?”

 

 

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“Post-Truth” Singing

It is hard to imagine but we are currently living in an age of “post-truth.” It is difficult to wrap my mind around the idea that truth is not real but whatever someone says it is, yet this is being stated every day. This is incredibly dangerous. There is also “post-truth” singing.

Hiding behind things that are lies is not new. Many have done that  since recorded history began. What’s new is that our mainstream society has become comfortable with that as a new normal. It has taken on the idea that we each “create our own reality” and grossly distorted what that means.

Let’s get something straight. Each of us is responsible for our own lives. We can choose how to react to what happens to us, or has happened in the past, and we can choose to deal with all repercussions of our existence in a positive manner, even if that is sometimes very challenging. Together, we create families, groups of friends, organizations, local and state governments, federal governments and world governments. In each of these we have groups of people who, more or less, agree to hold the same or nearly the same point of view. As the group increases in size, the power of the thoughts that hold it together magnifies. When the beliefs are held by millions of people, they get very powerful. Those who know how to harness those beliefs can be helpful or harmful, depending on their own philosophical ideas.

Only those beliefs which are uplifting are worth holding. All negative beliefs lead to pain and suffering, to harm and to deterioration. That which is dark, hidden, distorted and twisted produces the same. The only counterbalance to this is light, openness, honor, and yes, truth. That which is redeeming and uplifting is worthy and that which is degrading and condemning is not. A choice. A necessary choice, in every human being, every day. As Yoda would say, “Beware the dark side. It will overtake you if you let it.”

In singing, there have been individuals who have decided that what they believe, others should also believe. Some have done research (if you could call it that) on their own throats, assuming that what holds true for them automatically holds true for others. With hubris, these people decide that everyone else should cause the same movements within their throats that they see in their own. They dictate that these manipulative movements, whatever they may be, are good and useful. This ploy is powerful particularly to those who know little about the voice and who are easily swayed by any argument.  We in our Western society have for hundreds of years rested upon the belief that science is based on truth, on data, on findings which are shared in order to be replicated without bias by others. Those who use science to build their case by manipulating the data to favor their own ideas are dangerous, as this is not science at all. It is “post-truth” information.

Only by observing a wide range of behaviors in a wide range of singers and comparing them, one to the other, can there be any science, valid and provable by objective measures. And, without a context in which the data is evaluated, the importance of it cannot be known. If I study gorillas in a cage in a lab, what does that tell me about gorillas in a rainforest? If I study “belters” in African bush culture is that the same as studying “belters” on Broadway? How can any valid conclusions be drawn?  If I study myself, and I assume that all singers do exactly what I do, is that even possible to assume? By what means can we determine that?

Beware those who claim something based solely on their own experience. Beware people who would make themselves more powerful than others by declaration. “I am the only person who can tell you the truth” is never truthful. No. The only things that cannot lie, that will never lie, are the body itself and the throat as part of the body. Therein only lies the truth of freedom, of expression, of being alive as a human being.

Now, more than ever, it is necessary to take only that which can be found to be objective, and proved by objective measures, to be true. Beware all those who tell you they have the only answers. Do not be fooled by the noise, the packaging, the show, the marketing, the media circus. Trust, instead, your own voice and body, your own wisdom and your own heart. In singing and in life.

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Conscious Singing

Most people do not fully understand the power and depth of sound as a creative force in the universe. Conscious singing, that is, being  a conscious sound-maker, or being one who brings forth the primary creative energy of the Universe, is an extraordinary experience. It is  simultaneously transformative to do and to hear.

Someone singing from the depth of his or her soul, pouring all mental and emotional energy into the sound and the intention of the words and music, is aligning with the energy of life itself. In the beginning was the Word or the Sound is real. Particularly for those who do not process the voice through any type of  electronic amplification, sound uttered in this manner carries an irresistibly riveting  magnetic energy.

In some traditions such as Indian, Islamic and Hebrew, the people who are the “keepers” of the sound understand this and are trained to be able to encompass it. It takes years of dedicated work to be able to “get out-of-the-way” and let the sound sing you. In order to be able hold and use such sounds, made through the physical body,  a singer must develop an exquisitely prepared mechanism, one that is both pure and strong.

Sometimes these people become famous singers, recognized in the world, but not always. Some are known only to small groups, some are never known. Those who dedicate their lives to generating sound as this level are moving the sub-atomic particles of the universe (as we understand it now). This requires the purest heart and the most profound willingness to serve the highest good with nothing asked in return. That there are people who do this could be hard to imagine but they do exist although they are very rare.

At this time, when our entire planet is being challenged by energy that is dark and forbidding, conscious singing is needed to help strengthen everything that is of love and light. If you respond at all to these words or if they seem to stir in your heart any awareness or desire to know what the words truly mean, you must listen to your intuition. Singing not for fame and fortune, not for recognition in the world but to transform daily life, asks for many spiritual qualities: dedication, perseverance, humility, courage, insight, clarity, open-heartedness, sacrifice and many other qualities. Singing consciouly  becomes a force for healing and for good. It lifts up those who hear it and it carries the vocalist on a stream of energy that is indescribable.

When ones sings from the source of sound in the Universe, out of, as it were, the heart of God, the entire planet hears and is energized, whether they are aware or not. If you are called to sing in this way, you will not find in the many popular methods of vocal training a quick answer in maneuvers to give you special effects as if you were a singing circus. You will not find answers on YouTube in the “trending” videos or on Facebook from teachers of singing who have thousands of “likes”. No. To find a teacher who can guide you on this specific path, you have to arrive at his or her studio through the guidance of the Universe itself. And do not be  quick to judge the book by the cover. Sometimes those who look least likely are the True Masters hiding their inner glory from the world. The light within cannot be seen with just your physical eyes and the information in your intellect.

Stand, if you will, in the light of your glorious, beautiful, effulgent, radiant voice. Do the necessary work to liberate it in and through your physical body, harnessing the depth and power of your breathing to the clear intention of your mind. Allow your sound to be the bridge between this world and the next, between your body and your soul. Allow the sound to be present in each moment by releasing it as it passes through you to die away after you utter it. Accept nothing less than that as truth and let what sounds you make in this way ring out to the world, if only in the solitude of your home. Be a conscious singer.

This is what is needed now on this earth. Now is the time. Are you called? If so, then seek and ye shall find.

Please share this with anyone who may be interested.

 

 

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Never Too Late

It’s never too late to find your true voice. If you are open to exploring, if you have a sense of singing, if you are willing to have that experience, age is no barrier.

Recently, in a master class, I was able to help someone find his voice in a way that he never had. In about 30 minutes we shifted into a sound that was truly beautiful, in a classical vocal production, and he was surprised and delighted. After we were done he said he felt he had found the voice he had always searched for. This man was in his mid-60s and has been singing all his life. The shift was small but produced huge results.

With my work, this happens on a regular basis in master classes and in the studio. It also happens in the studios of those who have taken Somatic Voicework™ into their own hearts and use it wherever they may be. It isn’t some “magic” that exists only in me. It works because the throat and the body function in certain ways and when you sing in ways that are in concert with those behaviors, the sound emerges. By itself.

It hurts to see people teach things that tie a student in vocal knots, or force a student to sing in a particular mode or style at an early age, or ask for the student to make the throat do things it doesn’t like or want to do, or ask the student to strive for “resonance” at any cost, or deliberately constrict, hold, move, position, force or manipulate any structure within the throat itself. Absolutely none of that is ever necessary. If you don’t believe that, go back to the home page and listen to me go from Bellini, to Carmichael, to Three Dog Night. I did not need to do any of the above things to make those changes. Live. Unedited. At 66. With a bum left vocal fold.

If you still want to force your voice in the name of “vocal technique” you need to ask yourself why. It’s never too late to come home to the voice you have always had and couldn’t find.

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Accommodation

Some people are very accommodating. They will do their best to help you, grant your request, assist you, or even inconvenience themselves so that your needs are met. This can be very important in relationships and in life.

If you sing you have to accommodate the lyrics to the music or vice versa. You have to make sure they work together well. This is true whether or not you sing someone else’s music or if you write and sing your own. You must accommodate the intention of the words — what do these words mean to you and why is that important? If you are hired to sing something you don’t necessary like or would have not chosen to sing on your own, you have to find a reason why doing it really enthusiastically makes sense. You must accommodate the work you are being paid to perform. Period.

If you work with other musicians or vocalists you accommodate them by being a good colleague, making sure to maintain a flow between you all as you rehearse and perform. If you want to make any situation work, you need to take in the largest possible picture and then work to accommodate the overall good of the scenario, even if you have to step your own expectations down.

Sadly, some people can’t be accommodating to anyone ever. They have to have their way, they have to get what they want. They view accommodating someone else as an insult to their own sensibilities. Those people don’t do well unless they have other attributes that compensate — a great sense of humor, a brilliant mind, or perhaps a generous pocketbook. Sometimes even that isn’t enough.

If you are running a singing studio, please remember to accommodate your students by being attentive and adjustable as you meet their vocal needs. Go a little out of your way to do someone a favor, to bend your policies or to offer more than you had planned. Yes, keep clear boundaries. You don’t want to end up feeling like you were used or taken advantage of by the students, but you do not need to be rigid or strict in your behaviors either.

Being accommodating is the opposite of being self-involved. It is what used to be called “the customer is always right”. It implies that the other person or the situation is more important than you are or your life is and that by adjusting to the needs of others you are doing something good. In this day of “me first” it is more difficult than ever to find someone who is willing to be accommodating. When you encounter it, be sure to be grateful.

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Getting Your Voice Together For The First Time

Some people have never had the opportunity to experience singing with freedom and ease, making a pleasing sound and expressing their feelings while singing. This is a terrible loss.

If singing teachers were doing a good job across the board, anyone who took regular lessons for two years and practiced in between lessons, would end up sounding better and feeling better and enjoying the process, regardless of where they started. People who had little background would begin to sound good and people with natural ability could sound really terrific. Sadly, this is often not the case with training. In some small percentage of the cases, the issue could be with the student, but most of the time it is due to inadequate teaching. There are few good ways to learn to teach singing, as even in the schools that offer degrees in vocal pedagogy, most schools do not yet have programs that focus upon how to teach CCM teachers.

In order to get into a conservatory or a college as a voice major, you have to be able to sing decently or you would be rejected. The people teaching in those institutions do not have to teach you to match pitch, or to be able to sing a song, as you wouldn’t be a voice major if you couldn’t do that. And, with students who are mostly talented, mostly motivated and mostly open-minded, even generic teaching will help them gain more ability over time. Teachers don’t have to be particularly gifted for their students to improve.

When you work with singers who don’t have great voices, or are not very expressive, or do not have natural musical acumen, the opposite is true. You must really know what you are doing. You have to be creative, resourceful, dedicated and patient and keep your expectations modest. If you are successful with these students, you really have to be a very good teacher. If you succeed in helping these people get their voices together, sometimes for the first time, you have done something monumental and should be congratulated. Does that happen? Not usually.

This applies equally to helping an injured singer regain their ability to sing, even if they do not sound like they did prior to the injury. If you have been singing all your life and then suddenly you can’t do what you have always done, it is devastating. Finding a new way to sing, however, is far better than not singing at all. Locating a teacher who can assist you to make that possible is not an easy task, as many singing teachers wouldn’t have a clue as to how to start that process, but if you are persistent, you could find a skilled expert who could re-acquaint you with your larynx and vocal folds. You need someone who can also offer psychological and emotional support as you work your way through a difficult and daunting process. Getting your voice together for the first time in a brand new way is also monumental. It is always worth the effort to try.

Coming home to the voice you have always had but didn’t know you had is an extraordinary experience. Coming home to the voice you had to cultivate to take the place of the voice you had once upon a time is equally amazing. Either way, the journey is dynamic and challenging but rewarding. Finding a guide to help you along the way is a blessing.

Remember that Somatic Voicework™ exists to help you find the voice inside and let it out. It exists to help you create a vocal path that is satisfying, happy and musically powerful, but also healthy and functional to whatever extent is possible. If you seek to be a singer, Somatic Voicework™ will help you understand how to get there slowly and with conscious awareness. There are no gimmicks or quick fixes to get to be a star, just honest, useful tools that make sense to anyone who seeks to make use of them.

My work is for elite teachers of singing who view teaching in the broadest possible manner, with an eye to detail, who believe that everyone is capable of greatness. Revealing that greatness is a gift to be shared. Don’t forget!

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Teaching By The Numbers

Did you know that every vocal sound we make can be reduced to five numbers? Surprising, but true.

The human vocal tract has five specific “vibrating peaks” based on the length and diameter of the open tube between your vocal cords and your lips. As you sustain a vowel it interacts with that tube and, depending on the pitch and the volume, you get an interaction between the vowel and the tube that produces boosts in the sound. The boosts are called formants and when they align with certain harmonics of the pitch, you get a special configuration — one which seems like there is “more sound” or resonance.

Currently, in voice science, it is the hot topic everywhere that the first and second formants  and the first and second harmonic must “talk to each other” in order to help get a good sound. That interaction, coupled with the first and second harmonics, are about the differences between belting and singing classically. When you get the specific alignment that “hits the target” you win the prize, sort of.

How do you know you are aligning these ingredients? You have to have the equipment that measures them. There are software programs that can do that, even freeware. You just sing into a microphone and watch what shows up, sort of.

If you have to squeeze, contort or generally manipulate your throat into doing these maneuvers, well, too bad. Just get the right numbers, then you have it. It is this scary fact that has allowed some teachers of singing who don’t belt, have never belted, and will never belt, (in a song in front of an audience) to assume they can teach belting because they understand the acoustic science and read the info revealed by the software. They can tell you that you have the right harmonic/formant (H/F) alignment or not. Great.

This is not moving us forward. The only positive aspect of this development is that suddenly belting has gained credibility in certain classical circles. Since the teachers who have only classical training and classical experience have no idea what “good” belting versus “bad” belting sounds like, unless they have really developed  ears and perceptive eyes they might miss that difference. And, if the belting is deemed to be “bad” because the person is straining, even though they match the harmonic/formant partnership, whether or not the teacher has the means to get the singer to the correct response as well as keep the H/F configuration is completely unknown.

This “teaching by the numbers” is supposedly credible because it is based on objective measurements. So much for vocal pedagogy. It is the new version of “vibrate your eyebrows” instead of “vibrate your cheekbones”. More or less a waste of time, potentially harmful. Certainly disconnected from any kind of authentic communication.

I say again, this is NOT progress. It doesn’t even make sense in any professional universe. You do not audition by showing off your H/F ratio in a song.

Many of the proponents of this approach are middle-aged white males with classical backgrounds who do not belt. I can’t think of any women in this category. There is a popular speaking voice therapy that rests on “resonance” created by an older white female speech pathologist. I do not know about the details of her work so I can’t say whether it is related or not.

Most of the thousands of people who have sung CCM repertoire down through the ages and survived vocal problems did not know voice science. They did not have it to use as a tool of learning. They went by how things sounded and how they felt. Those are still the best two tools. Understanding the phenomenon from an intellectual place and knowing what things are is important. I need to know that I have an engine in my car and that it runs on fuel. It won’t help me drive or give me a good sense of direction.

Be very careful about people who have quick solutions to any singing issue. Elite singing doesn’t happen in anyone “right away” and attempting to get it to do that is a big fat mistake.

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Integrity, Respect, Humility

I was raised by a father who was born in Pennsylvania to Sicilian immigrants. My mother was from New Orleans and was of German and Irish descent but her family had been there for at least 6 generations. I rarely saw my mother’s family. I was in Connecticut and was surrounded by my father’s family and consequently, my social programming was largely that of working-class Italians. All around me was a large wave of people with similar backgrounds who were raised the same way.

One of the primary things that was emphasized while I was growing up was respect. (The mafia guys don’t kiss the ring of the Don for no reason.) Respect had certain parameters but was oriented towards the family, towards church and community, towards authority and civic duty. It was very very important to show respect. Everyone around me in the larger community had those same values. It was a shock to me as I ventured out into the world as I grew older that some people did not have those values or any values at all.

The idea that there was a clear right and wrong about things in life was a given of my upbringing. There were things that one did and did not do that fit in with the above ideals and you just did not go against those things unless you wanted to cause yourself a lot of trouble. We can see from the present election, some people just do not have values based on truth, honesty, decency, kindness, decorum, and, yes, respect. The horrible man running for the POTUS is an example of people who truly do not have any values that I recognize. Being rich and famous is a qualification for nothing.

Throughout my life my values have been both a source of great solace and  a source of self-examination in order to sort through what I was taught. I needed to decide for myself which of those values, repeatedly taught to me as a child, were premises I wished to keep as an adult whose life was very different from the one I had growing up. Interestingly, I kept much of what I was taught because the ideas fit who I wanted to be in the present.

I am keenly aware every day of how easy it would be to dwell on my own foibles, weaknesses, limitations, failings and obstacles. I know very well my negative habits that intrude into my life as a woman, wife, friend, and teacher of singing. I work to be the best person I can be, knowing that I will never be perfect, and strive to keep an open heart and mind, a loving point of view towards everything and everyone, to be honest in what I say and how I deal with others. Of course, I make mistakes, but since I will always want to forgive those who injure me, I hope that the same courtesy will be offered in return. I choose to look at myself and my life positively, gratefully and with compassion. It is what allows me to get out of bed in the morning and face the day with hope.

You cannot teach well if you do not look into your own mind and heart and face your dark side. You cannot hide from the places where you are wounded, small, frightened, and withdrawn. If you would bring light into the world, you must own your darkness. If you cannot be responsible for the harm you do to others, (regardless of any reason or motivation) you will carry the burden of the unexpressed guilt with you until and unless you can confess it, at least to yourself, and seek absolution (from yourself or others).

We all fail at teaching singing, even when we strive to be as effective as possible. When we sincerely want to help our students sing with beauty and joy but we can still not be able to find a way to illuminate that path.  If we cannot hold and acknowledge that we are human, our teaching becomes stilted and dry and our hearts heavy and occluded. If you teach, realize that you are not now and will not ever be perfect. You will never be the best or only good teacher, you will never help everyone, you will at times make mistakes in spite of all good intentions not to. You must realize that all of this is OK. It’s real. It just is what it is. To go forward with courage you must trust  your own inner integrity, knowing that you will always take the high road. That is all that you can do. It is a choice and must be made on a daily basis.

If you do not respect yourself it is not possible to respect others at a deep level and to live out of that respect. If you act with impunity to make yourself look good, or seem important, or glamorous, or smart, you will actually create the exact opposite. Do not be surprised if you cannot compensate enough for your own behavior and choices and that your own falsehoods and lies cannot be camouflaged with excuses and dismissal, denial and blindness.

Have the humility to face yourself with grace and kindness and allow that to inform your piercing honesty. Integrity requires nothing less. If you want to be respected you must first be respectful. If you do not begin with yourself, you will never get the respect you deserve from  others.

 

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