by Pamelah Landers
Intuitive Leadership Mentor
This article was first published on November 29, 2015
"Put on whatever music feelings intuitively right to you," Drew tells me as we are driving south from San Jose to Los Angeles on the darkened freeway. We had shared a ride for Thanksgiving with our family in San Jose. He drove and I was so grateful! I could take photos along highway 101 which I had wanted to do for years!
Drew is my 34-year-old (now 41) professional singing nephew with an exceptionally stunning tenor voice. Oh, by the way, he teaches voice lessons for singers.
The music I chose is a CD of tracks I had recorded to sing. Over the previous 13 years (now 20 years ago!) I've recorded over 40 songs thus I have over 40 guitar only tracks to which I sing. This particular CD I call "healing tracks." They are songs that feel like they create a healing space "in the room" when I sing them.
For example, A Dream Is Wish Your Heart Makes from the Disney movie Cinderella. Or You'll Never Walk Alone from the Broadway play Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein that later was made into a movie. One of my favorites, Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel, takes me to a very soothing place inside.
Drew is driving on a very curvy part of the Southern California freeway, no streetlights on the roadside. It's dark and in the hills. Again, so grateful he is driving. I tend to feel a bit nauseated on curvy roads and singing helps me feel better.
My eyes are closed as I sing each song, 8 in all. The first is Love by John Lennon. Easily hitting the notes because they are in my easy vocal range, I'm in total pleasure.
My nephew, Drew Tablak (you can see him at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA as one of the Dapper Dans. Discover more on his website, www.DrewTablak.com
However, the next song I sing is You'll Never Walk Alone. It is recorded so that the high notes are at the upper edge of my range. Usually I stand when I sing this song with access to full breath in my diaphragm. I need the breath to hit the high notes.
Sitting down with a seat belt on wasn't the optimum way to reach those notes. I squeaked a bit since I didn't have the body support needed to sing a high "G" thus the note was weak and I ran out of breath.
In my body and mind, I felt like I didn't quite make it. And because Drew is a professional singer and singing teacher, I proceeded to make up all kinds of internal dialogue - thus giving away my power to him emotionally. I decided I didn't quite measure up to what his standards would be.
Drew of course was saying nothing at all about my singing nor was his body language indicating any issues, nor could I actually feel him being judgmental. So I made it all up inside of me.
~ I was the one who felt I didn't quite measure up.
~ I was the one who was being not so kind to myself.
~ I wasn't being too harsh internally, just noticing I wasn't being really loving about the circumstances.
At home by myself I wouldn't have really cared about how I hit the high notes under the same circumstances, or if I were driving alone.
Why am I sharing this?
I'm sharing this because I notice how easy it is to "give away my power" to others, even without them being aware or asking. It's all done internally. When I do that I don't feel like I am in my best place.
For singing, I feel like I'm not being genuine and authentic with myself. If I give more energy to the "audience" response than I do to being aligned internally with my own pleasure of singing, I don't sing as well. People feel it.
I remember when I was taking voice lessons about 20 years ago. For one small performance, the teacher asked each one of us in the class where we focus when we sing. I was focusing on how the audience was responding. I was putting my energy outside of me. She shared that the audience could feel it. They would feel a "less than genuine" experience from me. And I was missing out on my own power. I was diminishing my power by being so focused on how they responded. Not a win-win for anybody. (I learned in Toastmasters that the same thing happens with public speaking...)
Back to Drew and me: following You'll Never Walk Alone I made a different choice for me.
~ I chose to sing the rest of the songs from my heart and soul.
~ I chose to sing from a place that could create soothing for me and him if he chose to respond to that.
~ I chose to sing from a place that pleasured me regardless of how the notes came out.
~ And I chose to sing from a place that required nothing of Drew.
It wasn't about him ever but I had made it about him. I took my energy back into me. And I took back my power. Huge relief! I relaxed. Thus the songs sounded better!
Completing all eight tracks, I shared with Drew what was going on inside of me. By this time were through the curvy road and on flat land.
Drew's very generous response was, "That isn't what we are about. This isn't a voice lesson. And you've known me my whole life."
He added, "Actually it was really perfect because the road was very curvy and it was a bit stressful so I felt the singing relax me."
We agreed as we continued to talk that it was perfect timing, a win-win for each of us.
I've learned over the years that my singing can create a very healing space for people.
Some questions for you to ponder:
- How do you give power away to others?
- What is the cost?
- How do you change your expectations of the other when you give them power?