I’ve always been able to sing. When I was a kid I thought there was nothing better in the world than making music. It seemed unearthly and magical the way it could be saying nothing at all yet evoke emotions that spoke straight through to the human heart. One of my first memories is of my mom showing me how to read music in church as we sang along and being blown away by the fact that music can actually be captured and written down.
In the 4th Grade I marched home from school one day and told my parents I had to take piano lessons. While most of my peers groaned and moaned about having to learn the piano, I was fascinated. But I guess there is a difference between knowing what you are really interested in and having it forced on you. My parents luckily supported all of my musical endeavors, buying a piano and finding an instructor, getting me to choir rehearsal and performances and when it was time, finding a voice teacher as well.
After years of saying I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up, I finally spoke my truth – I was going to sing for a living. For me, there could be no better profession. But with this proclamation I became very serious about music. If someone asked me to randomly sing or if there was a karaoke machine nearby I would quietly take a backseat. I wasn’t prepared to sing, I hadn’t given it proper thought, and therefore, I wouldn’t be at my best.
When I went to college and majored in Vocal Performance it got even worse. Music was still my dream, but it was also going to be my job and you just don’t give that stuff away for free. Singing was still fun for me, but in a way I had taken the fun and spontaneity away from the entire process. I was hoarding my voice, my talents, and gifts and not allowing them to be shared with others. I would only sing when it was appropriate, when I felt confident, and when the circumstances were right.
As I ventured into audition land after college and started landing gigs at theaters I would marvel at the actors and musicians around me that would hit the karaoke bar after a 2-show day, or randomly start singing in a public place. I admired their carefree attitude towards their talent, yet never joined in.
And then one day I found myself at a friend’s house during one of their family gatherings. As the party started to come to close, the family began to clear the living room and round out the chairs in a circle around the piano. When I asked what was going on, my friend informed me it was time to sing. It was a family tradition to go around the room and sing or play an instrument when they came together. And that’s when I literally panicked. These people had been kind and generous with me, but to sing…unprepared…I would rather not.
Seeing how uncomfortable I was, my friend’s mom took me aside. “It’s just for fun and it doesn’t have to be perfect. When I was growing up if you had a talent you shared it. It is your responsibility to share your talent with the rest of the world. That’s why the talent was given to you.”
When someone puts it that way, how can you say no? So I sang that day. It was not perfect, in fact it was kind of a hot mess, but it was fun. And from that day forth I have always remembered her words.
Now that I don’t audition anymore and my days no longer revolve being in, “good voice,” when someone asks me to sing at an event or out with friends my deal with myself is to always say yes. (That being said, I won’t just start randomly singing at the check-in desk at the studio or out on the street if you ask me to, as that will always feel weird.)
But I guess the moral of this story is to share whatever you have been graced with in this life without always looking to be compensated or for an end result. Give everything you’ve got to others and the returns will always be coming your way. Every person on this earth is talented in a multitude of ways. There is no one path. You might have a passion for numbers, but are also intrigued by plants, home décor, or speed skating. Whatever it is give yourself to it and offer it to others.
My life now revolves around sharing the yoga. It’s a good life. I never feel like I’m working when I take the podium and that’s how it should be. The more information I acquire about yoga, the more I have to give away to my students. The message and lessons of yoga, and all of its benefits, are simply meant to be shared with as many people as possible. That’s the beauty of it.
Your life is a message to the world. Be passionate about what you do here. Let your work here be filled with passion and the voice that speaks from your highest Self. If you have a talent share it…you never know where it may lead you. It’s always been your time to shine.
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