Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quote of the Day: Questioning our spiritual values

"Those of us who are interested in the spiritual dimension of evolution and how it affects our shared culture, need to start questioning so many of our assumptions. Today, although we are well into the twenty-first century, too many of our progressive psycho-spiritual values and practices haven't changed very much in the last thirty or forty years. Back in the glory days of the late 1960s and 70s, when a real cultural revolution was sweeping the Western world, diving into our psychological interiors—developing sensitivity, inclusivity, and compassion—and mystically awakening to the oneness of all things were truly bold and radical steps forward. But most of us anywhere near the leading edge of cultural evolution today have, at least to a significant degree, already developed in these ways. We are, for the most part, highly sensitive; we have rare capacities for empathy, tolerance, and inclusivity; and we already know, explicitly or implicitly, philosophically or spiritually, that we are all interconnected.
I strongly feel that what is needed in our time is a psycho-spiritual perspective and practice that is very different. Indeed, there are much deeper and more culturally relevant ways in which we need to connect, spiritually and philosophically. Now, instead of being so concerned with healing the wounds of the past, it is time for a spirituality that is fueled by an overwhelming sense of urgency about what's possible in the future. It is time to move beyond an approach to spiritual practice that too often has become reduced to just another form of narcissistic self-absorption. In a culture so infatuated with extreme individualism, it is time to get over ourselves, once and for all, for the biggest reason that there is: to awaken wholeheartedly to the evolutionary impulse, so that we can create the world anew."

—Andrew Cohen

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No. 167: OUR Voice

When I look at the origin of my Voice, when I listen deeply enough to hear the vibration of that place from where It comes, a magic happens that softens my soul and reassures my body: what appears to be separation between us is really just illusion.  My Voice, when I dive deeply enough into It, becomes Our Voice, one and the same with the Life Force which brings the mysterious growth of a seed, with the beams of sunlight and drops of rain carrying nourishment from a place which is always free.

This perspective brings enormous freedom from the typical stresses of a singer's life: the core of me, the Source of Voice, is always humming, always present, always here.  Competition, comparison, "right and wrong", "good and bad", disappear in this space, and all of life becomes about allowing more and more of this reality of freedom and connection.  Seen from this perspective, who would not run at any and every opportunity toward Freedom of Voice?  Seen from this perspective, singing is not just singing.  It is being at its best.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No. 166: Giving Thanks

Learning to sing is not just learning to sing.  Yes, we learn the physical movements, the anatomy and physiology of singing.  We can learn the acoustics, we can learn the languages, literal and figurative, of music.  We can learn about ourselves and what our place is in the world of Art.  But what are we really doing when we learn to sing, when we learn to truly, organically sing?  We are learning to be conduits of Truth.  Our mission as singers goes so much deeper than finding the next job or selling the next recording.  Singing calls us to find the essence of what it means to be Us.  We are learning to sing like we never needed to learn it.  We are learning to sing like we breathe: We are learning to be sung.

For the Source of all our singing, for the deepest inspiration behind, around, beneath, within all our aspirations, I give thanks on this day.  And I give thanks for a growing community of awareness which cannot help but to proclaim their own version of Truth, through song!  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quote of the Day: Ebracing Change

Embracing Change

"Awakening to the evolutionary impulse, to that mysterious drive towards the future, can spiritually empower us to bear the intensity of our exponentially changing world. When we awaken to this impulse, we find ourselves suddenly compelled to ride the crest of that wave, rather than going the traditional mystical route and seeking peace and relief in the solitude of meditative transcendence. An evolutionary spirituality compels us to jump right into the midst of change, carried by the spiritual inspiration of the creative process itself. And that's why I feel a spiritual path like Evolutionary Enlightenment is so culturally relevant for our time."

~Andrew Cohen

Friday, October 21, 2011

No. 165: We...

What if we are not only humans singing?... 

...What if we are Voices human-ing?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

N0. 164: Love is the great authority.

Love is the great authority.  What if the Classical School of Singing, in all its evolution up to today, has been about honing the power of Love through the human Voice?  What or Whom is it that tells us we are on the right track?  "Love is the answer" we hear throughout life, a whisper in the background to our times of achievement and success.  But what if Love is also the question?  What if we could see that as singers we are also seekers, and that the illusive IT we seek is already who we are?  What, then, could our mission as singers become?  What, our purpose? What if we could turn conscious a culture which from the outside seems full of false pageantry and drama?  What if we would be courageous, expressing all of what we do, who we are, from the inside out?  Then we who love opera would enter the realms of heroes and warriors, angels and beings of light--the same as those which we sing, see, compose, and listen to onstage.  What we know now in secret and fantasy would become known in reality to all who care to find It, and our lives would be about much more than even music.

Monday, October 17, 2011

No. 163: "Feel", and Maintaining the Structure of Love

I have been privileged to witness the transformation of a very special horse over the last few months.  When Lena and I first connected, I sensed the beauty of her soul.  When we first met, she had a gentleness and a warmth which shone through even the neglect she was suffering.  In awe of the power I sensed emanating from her even then,  I thank God and the universe that this gentleness, this true strength of her, was not put out by the misunderstandings of a human. 

When we think of the Voice as a living entity, like a horse, we can learn to see and appreciate Its inherent power.  It is at once a great challenge and the most simple of actions to think of a Voice as complete, whole, and unique, nestled in a body or in a consciousness, waiting to emerge.  Ever since I  started exploring Opera Organically I find it interesting to observe that everyone I meet, to this new consciousness, has Voice in and of them.  For some, It has fully manifest.  They are living, breathing Voice.  For others, the incubation period has just begun.  For these, incubation can take infinite forms.  The Voice can be "incubated" (I use this term as opposed to muffled or squelched because it speaks to positive potential) in infinite ways: through the thoughts of the singer, the lack of exposure to music from an early age, outside opinions, lack of muscle tone, etc. 

My dream for Opera Organically is to create a vehicle where this positive potential is expressed and proliferated.  What I lacked as a music student was this kind of understanding: deep knowledge and confidence that my desire to sing would unquestionably reveal the true, complete beauty of Voice in and through me.

Why are we so hesitant to own this kind of confidence, and to teach it to our students?  

An "outside-in" approach to teaching and learning singing implies an infinite and unattainable body of skills and information for the singing student to digest.  It speaks of an amorphous "talent" which one does or does not have.  The goal is an indefinable "career" or a far-away "fame" which is not thought of as part and parcel of who we are already.  The "outside-in" approach is focused almost completely on the future or on the past: we have experienced "____(fill in the blank)______" in our past to either achieve or not achieve "______(fill it again)________" in the future. What we do in the studio has everything to do with achievement of a grade or approval, or a job.

Where is the singer, where is the Voice, now?

Many years ago, I had what is called a "normal" approach to horses and riding technique.  Though I loved my horses as much as I could possibly love anything in life, I thought the only way to communicate with them was through absolute authority.  I was always right in how I thought and what I wanted, and the horse, as long as it did what I wanted, was right, too.  However, any anomaly, any resistance to my little-girl-will suddenly made the beautiful creature wrong or bad.  I did not know the magic of entering into the moment with my horses.  To keep myself "safe", I learned as much theory about riding that I could.  I looked at the whole experience from the outside, and imposed on it a system of control which should keep me safe, should convince the horse to cooperate with me, should win me trophies and approval, and it did, to some level.  What it could not achieve for me was the ecstasy of a true relationship in the moment with my horses.  The focus was on the future award, and on past preparation, both potentially important but equally devoid of true happiness and contentment.

This should model of learning and teaching is what I would like to respond to with Opera Organically. I would like to propose a shift of consciousness and attitude which I call the could model of singing.

What could our Voice, this positive expressive potential, be wanting to teach US?  Like the normal model of a horseback rider, I approached my Voice with total human authority for many years.  When it was imbalanced, I thought it should be balanced, and I did everything in my power to impose balance upon it.  Not until I had a pivotal lesson with KS Hilde Zadek in Vienna did I start to have an inkling of another way to behave and interact with Voice.

Hilde told me my voice is a horse, an It which I have written about in multiple other blog posts here.  
From that point on, I began a journey of inquiry.  If Hilde saw my Voice, to me broken and ugly, as a beautiful jumper that I was abusing by not learning how to communicate with it, how could I learn to know Its true nature, just as she did?  How could Hilde know this about my Voice when she barely knew me? This was at one of our first lessons.  Where did she glean this confidence in the beauty of Voice??

Getting to know Hilde over the two and a half years I studied with her very regularly, I began to see that her acknowledgment of this beauty of Voice came to her through choice.

Could we, as a community of singers and potential singers, believe in absolute goodness and beauty of Voice?

I begin to almost cry when I think of the beauty of Lena, relaxed and natural, circling me in the arena without halter or lead rope.  This is in great contrast to our first weeks together, filled with panicked blow-ups and bolting.  The sphere of safety, trust and confidence which I have been taught to foster through Parelli Natural Horsemanship has gradually grown over the months to create between us what I can only call feel.  Feel is a term used by great horsemen to illustrate the phenomenon of "give and take" which can happen in a horse-human relationship.  It is a phenomenon ruled by love of the most powerful kind, by a choice to see the absolute potential of this relationship to create goodness and freedom.  Mind-blowingly, I realize now that every horse, like every Voice, lives the resounding YES to this choice!  By their very existence, horse and Voice express positivity!  They are both just waiting for us to match and become in tune with them.  It's as if horse and Voice are both asking human:

Could you get to know me?  Really get to know me?

This natural approach to freeing Lena to be all that she already is in completion has an intensely fertile quality.  Every moment has infinite possibilities.  When she is at my shoulder in partnership, we are one, and we can choose to do anything we please, together.  I am the leader, and also the partner.  An organic approach to Voice has the same qualities.  I am not so arrogant to assume I know everything about Voice.  I simply observe in awe and wonder at every moment, and try to meld myself into the positivity of existence I am shown there.

Feel in the voice and practice studio could transform the world for a singer.  What if teaching and practicing could be about honoring the truth of what Voice is, rather than getting it right?  What if we are looking for strength and beauty to manifest which is already inherent, rather than arrogantly imposing our ideas of what Voice should be?  This world of possibility is organic and natural, and through this lense, everything is possible.

With Love and Deep Gratitude to Voice and to Horse,



Friday, October 7, 2011

No. 162: Who Cares for Whom?

All along we learn that we must care for our Voices.  But...what if they actually are caring for us?   What if True Voice, if It took human form, would actually laugh lovingly at our efforts to care for It?  What if It comes from a stuff so strong, from a place so eternal, that It has the power to rewrite our existence, to rebuild our bodies, to turn us inside out?  What if...?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

No. 161: Quote of the Day

Most of us are capable of greatness when we feel called to a higher purpose. It's amazing the kind of transformation that we can undergo when we awaken to a larger context. Suddenly we find we can renounce narcissism and selfishness—not to gain anything for ourselves but because there's a greater cause. So in the way that I teach, I hope that through awakening people to this larger context and purpose, they will find the strength to renounce their own narcissism and selfishness in order to respond to something that will always be more important. That's the most dignified, most noble way that a human being can actually transform. And what could be more important than that? All we have to do is open our eyes and look around at this world—things are bad and they're getting worse. And we're all human and none of us have unlimited capacities to bear fear and confusion and disappointment. So the source of our strength has to be the highest. That's the place that we'll find the conviction and the passion to catalyze the kind of transformation that is so desperately needed. And we will find our liberation in that.
 ~Andrew Cohen

No. 160: On Transformation

What if learning to sing was taught in the context of realizing our true potential as human beings?  What if we could sing our way through transformation, birthing living, breathing, singing Beings who have followed their Voices to the Truth of Who They Are?  Could we as a culture, as a society begin to see the value of following Heart to the utmost freedom of expression?  Could we follow a path where we teach our bodies to be molded by this Heart, by Music, into complete resonance with the world around us?  Could music, could singing, teach us to mediate our inner lives as well as our outer experiences and relationships?  What powers are we living with, what powers are we experiencing, that music and Voice could show us Heaven, could show us ultimate peace?  What if we could step into that place, widening our glimpses of Light until all of life is consumed by It?  Wouldn't then music be seen for its ultimate worth and life-giving power???  We would be speaking of Music as life's currency: Spirit above the material, and music education would be seen as something as essential to all of us as water, food, or breath.  We would become our Voices, worthy of being seen and heard, and of being loved!

Monday, October 3, 2011

No. 159: On Peace

When Voice inhabits every cell of the body, when we have invited It in to our breath, to our Spirit, there is nothing lacking, and Voice, organic and whole, resonates with not only the truth inside us, but also outside us.  All becomes one, and peace becomes what we sing, and what we are.

No. 158: Everything we need

Everything we need as singers is inherent in our existence.  If there is any weakness, we need only to look inside and we will find the resources we need to find Organic Voice. The biggest lie we tend to believe while seeking Organic Voice is the It is not already complete.  Our very search for completion proclaims the presence of that which we are seeking.  We are often taught, through our lives in a culture desensitized to the infinite nuance of True Voice, to be blind to the colors and textures of that which we are already.  When we re-learn the language of Voice, when we re-learn how to see and hear It, we know that It was in us all along, and gratitude becomes all that we are, and all that we sing.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

No. 157: To the Tune of Transformation

What if learning to sing is a process of transformation?

What if we singing students were taught that our voices, our True Voices, have qualities which mirror our True Selves: Courage, Strength, Uniqueness, Honesty, Purity, Integrity, Light, Love...?

What if these qualities, when we are guided on our individual paths to singing Truth, stream from our own expression of Voice, from our center, from the core of what drives us to learn, yet unborn and unrealized?

And what if these qualities were given each a different, radiant color that saturates our entire Being with its visual vibration as we learn to see it until, singing-rainbow-artists turned inside out, we become walking murals of Human Experience Who can allow any and all music made for our infinitely variable canvases, for our Selves, to come to life...?

What if...?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No. 156: Do you love Voices?...

Do you love Voice? or just "singing"?

Could there be a danger in separating the two?

Voice implies infinite potential.  It gives space for asking questions, like "What, where, when, why, how...is (my) Voice?"

"Singing" brings with it all sorts of cultural conditioning and judgments, fear and disbelief. It implies a yes or no question: can I?  or can't I?  could I? or couldn't I?--or the even more destructive: should I?  or shouldn't I?

When we think of what we are doing not as "singing", but as "voicing" or "giving Voice to who we are" or "Becoming Voice", we open up a world of possibility.  We also open up an infinite space for Voice to breathe, to grow, and to strengthen in safety, honor, and respect.

With this perspective, there is no "us" and "them".  All of life becomes one radiant, vibrating mass of Love, with all the room we could ever need to be, and to become.

Monday, September 12, 2011

No. 155: Freedom's Challenge

The reality of life is, we are free.  We can achieve awareness of this reality by following the path toward finding true, organic Voice, which is, by nature, also free.  But will we, with the awareness of freedom granted us through the Classical School of Singing, step up and identify ourselves, completely, with the free nature we find in organic Voice?  If we can answer this challenge, opera, and indeed all singing, will move beyond simple surface entertainment, annoyance, expendability, or frivolity in society and in education.  We will see respect, honor, love, and acknowledgement of the organic Voice as a vehicle to change the world, a way to shift how humankind perceives itself.  This art form of singing, which we have created, and which, in small pockets still maintains its absolute integrity, reflects who we truly are.  Will we have the courage to speak, and sing, this truth?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

The goal is to cultivate in our hearts the concern a dedicated mother feels for her child, and then focus it on more and more people and living beings. This is a heartfelt, powerful love. Such feelings give us a true understanding of human rights, that is not grounded just in legal terms, but rooted deeply in the heart. 
~Dalai Lama

No. 154

When learning to sing is about a Heart worthy of protecting at every cost~about a Passion tangible and truly alive~no one will be afraid to sing, indeed all will be able!  For Honor will rule the space between us, and all singers, all humans, all of Life Itself, will dance in the Truth which heals worlds, inward and out.  This is a collective experience, a collaborative creation.  It starts the day we are born as individuals, with our first angry cry at the world which took away the comfort of our mother's womb... and it ends when we see that music, this ethereal love, can become another sort of collective Womb...for the birthing of Voices takes the hand of a Goddess in the shape of Knowledge, Love, and Truth.  And if we are willing, this exquisite birthing can be ours, also...and we can meet each other there, after the Light comes into view...there, where we no longer have to ask ourselves "Why" we are doing this.  We simply listen, and witness, and bow at what we see of ourselves in one another.  This is singing which, ecstatic, changes the world.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quote of the Day: "The Beginning"

The Beginning
"In traditional mystical teachings, enlightenment means it's all over. You have reached the end of becoming. But in an evolutionary teaching, enlightenment is where it all begins. Everything begins when you become enlightened. That's when you become available—free from narcissism and self-concern and available for the noble endeavor of creating the future. That's when a new life opens up before you. That's when the work of evolutionary becoming starts. So you want to get to that point quickly, because there is so much you want to do once you get there. There is so much you want to take responsibility for. There is so much you want to create."
~ Andrew Cohen

Friday, August 12, 2011

No. 153: Proving Love Right

Opera Organically is not about proving the people wrong who tell us we cannot sing.  It is about proving Love, Life, and Light right. Opera Organically is about claiming the truth that the Voice points us toward: Its own translation of Life inside us as real as breath Itself.  

Opera Organically leaves naysayers behind, not by pushing back, but by embracing with a Love, with a Voice, that cannot be denied. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

30 Days of Opera Organically Day 6 Part 2: Pull those weeds!



Opera Organically Day 6 Part 1: Pull those weeds!

Dear Opera Organically Friends,

In the spirit of keeping things organic, O.O. took a little break last week from "30 Days"...but not before we taped a session called "Pull those weeds!" with the marvelous Becky and Tom Green!



No. 152: Speak to me...

Speak to me 
of what It is to know 
what It is to breathe
the breath of Love 
through every pore 
as the truth of Life
flows through You 
in tides of Light--
and Your eyes, 
rimmed in stardust,
reflect the wisdom
of Nature.

Speak to me 
of the simplicity
of all things complex
where lifetimes are journeyed 
toward understanding
Who We Are
while all the while
You hold the answer,
nestled in Your every cell.

Speak to me of freedom
which comes with the authority
granted to You
by God Herself:
a position crowned in glory
by the flow of crimson blood
coursing through Your veins...
Your secret is plain to see
But, tragically,
only to those Who
witness: You bleed.

What if You are inside of Me...?

Then cut the chains,
and let Me fly
on the wings of glory
which take the giant sky
where hearts are healed,
immortality is sealed,
and Mother Earth reveals
all we need forever
in Eternity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No. 151

There is a peculiarly interesting strain of singers for whom learning to sing means learning to be.  Watch out for them, for they sing with the same power that moves mountains and births children, razing forests and caressing butterflies in the wind. When their eyes meet it is with the fire of a refiner Who has whittled them down with music. No words are needed--and paradoxically, no songs.  Silence holds all possibilities, and It is enough.  Love does Her work with them and all they do in answer is kneel.  How strange this life, and how real the pull to something more, the call to deeper truth!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

A voice cannot carry the tongue and the lips that gave it wings.
Alone it must seek the ether.

~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No. 150: Universal Voice

Universal Voice continues to surprise Us: 
When We try to give It shape, It shows us what We have not yet imagined.  
When we try to give It names, It names Us.  
When we try to explain It, we must resort to Our experience...
When we try to tell Its story, We realize We are telling Our own. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

30 Days of Opera Organically Day 3 Part 2: Love and Fear, Life and Death


Becca and Lena

30 Days of Opera Organically Day 3 Part 1: Love and Fear, Life and Death

No. 149

What if we, as a singing community, were brave enough to speak about the ways learning to sing make us better people?  What if we collected an indisputable body of positive evidence which tells of the benefits of following Kashudo: The Way of the Singer?  What if our missions here as singers run much deeper than making music?  What if we are walking the pathway to our Souls, and our honest, true expression of all experience on this pathway is the only way we can reach others who need encouragement to follow their own pathways to Self?

What if it IS much, much, MUCH more than singing...?

No. 148

Singing, once truly learned, is not only an action.  It is a way of life.  The Doing and the Being of the Singer have become One.  That is the magic we seek.  That is the magic which WE ARE.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Opera Organically: The Fifth Principle

The Fifth Principle of Opera Organically is:

The Voice is Universal.

Singing is not a solitary journey.  So often it may seem to be, when we are along the Path to 'finding' our Voice.  But the truth is, if we really look at our experience, we've known our Voice, and that which connects us to other Seekers on the Path, all along.  Each new discovery, each bit of new understanding is like a retrieved memory: like a dance step we might have known as a child that comes back to us suddenly, or sentences from a language we heard in the womb.

What is this memory?  What are these whispers that say to us when we sing our truest voices: You have known me before?

It is interesting to consider that we singers, inspired to sing opera by what we might individually interpret as infinitely different reasons, may be being "breathed" and "sung" by a power, by a Universal Voice, which is beyond our individual experience.  When we are open to thinking from this universal perspective, our journey to honesty and authenticity as singers takes on a whole new meaning.  What once seemed a solitary struggle for the unattainable becomes a group quest to understand and "let go" into what already exists.

This Fifth Principle could be integral to the perpetuation of our art form. For as individuals, we are unique expressions of the Universal Voice.  As a community, the light which shines through us collectively in the form of music on breath, originating from that which connects us all...as a community aware of all the deep possibilities of our human existence, we shine so brightly that no questions like "Why opera..." need be asked.  The only thing left to experience in the awareness of Universal Voice is awe.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Opera Organically: Lisette Oropesa

Dear Opera Organically Readers, 

I am deeply honored and excited to welcome our first Guest Post on the Opera Organically Blog!

Soprano Lisette Oropesa (click for a link to her Columbia Artists Management website), Metropolitan Opera roster member and international opera singer, honors us with her Opera Organically story in this first Guest Post.  I am certain that you will find her heartfelt honesty and clarity of message as inspiring and uplifting as I have!  

As always, do feel free to join in the discussion of what it means to make Opera Organically either here on the Blog or by joining Opera Organically on Facebook. We are 'creating a better world, for opera singers, by opera singers'! 

With Love,  Becca 



Everyone is blessed with a special set of gifts. Some people have amazing mathematical minds, while others are mechanically inclined. Some people are born with exceptional artistic talents. Others have extraordinary physical capabilities. You name it, there’s someone out there who was just born with it. Now, there are also people out there who weren’t born into fortunate capabilities...or at least they don’t seem to have been. They are the ones who take a lifetime to achieve incredible feats through hard work, lots of mistakes and failures, and patience. To whom is the gift of achievement more valuable? The person who was born with it or the person who had to work really hard to get it?

I think it is safe to say that every person on the planet can attest to a combination of these things. Everybody has a gift that can be cultivated. Whether or not that gift is what makes you happy...well that’s up to the stars. Whether or not you have the motivation or the support to cultivate that gift is another decision of fate. But as humans, we all have the same basic needs. We want to live, we want to be free, we want to belong, and we want to love and be loved.

As a child I was very verbally and musically inclined. I was bilingual and could sing entire songs, memorized, and perfectly in tune at the age of 3. The acknowledgement of these gifts led me to become artistic, and I spent a lot of time drawing, reading and writing. I was lucky enough to enjoy cultivating these gifts, so they got a lot of time and attention.

Although I was always a very good student and musician, I was as far from athletic as possible, and dreaded P.E. or anything physical. I was picked last for the basketball team, I was the last one to finish the one mile run. I wanted to be better at sports but I just didn’t think I was capable. Compared to the other girls I wasn’t at all flexible or fast, and I was heavier too. But I thought, why should I worry about it when I could outsing all those girls on the field? So needless to say years went by when I didn’t give two shits about what I ate or how much, and exercise was something I didn’t give a second thought to.

Then I got to college and the weight issue came up more seriously, mostly from teachers or people who were my “friends,” who were concerned about my future. I tried to add a little physical activity to my life but ended up being more discouraged than anything because I didn’t know where to start, what I should be doing or how much, or what to eat that wasn’t bad for me. The one big decision I made was to stop drinking soda. That was my first thing. Then I joined a friend in the gym a few times and tried the elliptical machine. I walked around the LSU lakes a few times, but Louisiana is stifling hot and that didn’t work out so well for me. All in all, I didn’t stick to it. Except that I stopped buying soda.

Then I moved to New York, and the weight thing was no longer an “I’ll get around to it sometime,” it was more of a career necessity. I was 21 and had just started the Lindemann Program. They simply told me that because of my voice type, it would definitely help me to look the part. So I simply responded, “OK. I’ll do it.” At the time I weighed 205 pounds.

So I sat down and had a talk with myself. I had been unhappy with my looks for a long time. I was tired of hearing that I needed to lose weight. Even the doctor said so. I thought, “OK, I’m 21. Here I am in New York, singing as a young artist with the Met. I’ll be here for 3 years. People lose weight every day, so I know I can do this and I’m ready; I’m young enough that it shouldn’t be too hard. Besides, why would I let something like that screw my career over before it even begins?!” So that was it. The first day of summer vacation I signed up at the YMCA and began going to the gym every day. I got back on that trusty elliptical machine and did 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 25, and finally 30. By the end of the summer I had lost 20 pounds. When I got back to the program the 2nd year everyone was very proud of me for doing what I set out to do. I never heard “you need to lose weight” again.

Well, I continued in my healthy habit of exercising regularly and got down to about 170, where I stayed for a good year. I was pretty happy there, and wasn’t sure how much further I could really go without more severe changes. Diet-wise, I was still eating meat, pizza, pasta, pretty much anything I wanted, but just not as often.

Then I went through the worst 2 years of my life. Steven, the boy I loved when I was 14, found me on facebook and we reconnected, and realized we still loved each other. Although it may sound rosy, it wasn’t. We wanted to be together, but there was a LOT of personal stuff going on in both our lives at the time and that’s a saga in itself; let’s just say that by the time Steven moved up to New York to be with me I had lost another 25 pounds. Now, that weight...I am not sure how I lost it. Before the “saga” I was exercising regularly but I had hit a plateau. However, during the saga the emotional strain was so great I was hardly eating at all, and not even really exercising. I look back now and think that I probably would call that “unhealthy.” But I can’t change the past.

Then Steven moved up to be with me and I/we began building our relationship from basically nothing. I was VERY emotionally unstable because of the saga, and yet I still had to sing. Every time I opened my mouth though, I sang with a new and very deep emotional connection, and somehow my artistry grew. They say that to be a true artist you must suffer. Maybe it’s great for the listener but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

So what happened next? Well, I realized that just being with Steven again wasn’t going to fix all the issues I was having. Even though I love him so much, it seemed like I had suffered permanent damage. Nightmares, horrific visions, hours and hours of weeping, anger, hatred, you name it. I was filled with all the demons of the world. To counter that, Steven and I began spending much more time together and building a very solid foundation. This included our shared desire to get back to regular exercise. Although neither of us was really overweight, we began cooking and exercising together as a way to cultivate closeness in our relationship. We started running together and also started practicing yoga. We’ve been doing both of these things regularly for a year and have come to LOVE them.

Well here’s where I get emotional. After just a few sessions of yoga practice, I honestly believe that it has healing powers. I have never been so in touch with my source of strength, EVER. Yoga is finding that internal fire that keeps burning. It makes me feel an inner peace and radiance that I just cannot explain. The discoveries I am making with my body each day also carry over into running.

Steven and I were both complete beginners, but we BOTH wanted to become better at it! Remember how I used to be the last to finish the mile? Well my P.E. teacher would be proud of me now! After months of running regularly, and building up a little at a time, I absolutely am in love with running, and how happy it has made me feel. Again, healing powers. What they say is true. Nothing will make you feel happier than the glory of exploring the outdoors with the ground moving under your feet. There is a simplicity to this God-given form of exercise that is just perfect. You don’t need anything else!

Have these things led to more weight loss? Absolutely! I am officially down to 125 pounds. Diet changes too? Yep. Now I feel like my body deserves the respect of high quality foods in order to support high quality living.. But the most important thing is, these activities have helped to HEAL me as a human being...they have created genuine happiness in me because they have put me back in touch with my center. I thought I was lost, my spirit crushed, and that I may never sing again, until I began to grow from the inside out.

There is no greater feeling than running from the heart, and in yoga, radiating from the heart, and of course, singing from the heart. Strengthen THAT body part, and the rest will follow.

Lisette (center) radiating with Steven (right) and cousin Crystal (left), in Maine.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No. 147: The Voice, The Self

For many people, following the Path
which the Classical School of Singing lays out for us
means, purely, finding their Voice.
For others, it means finding their Self.
Opera Organically is about exploring all variations of the Path, 
all combinations of Self and Voice,
so that in the Search for One 
we do not forget 
the Other.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No. 146: On the Wind

Heart you carry me
on a wind that ever-changes
and the only thing
I can grasp 
is Who You Are
and Where You Come from...
Who I Am
and What I Do
is, I hope, connected 
to You
as my breath, my thoughts,
and all that makes "Me"
as you do
on the rhythms
and with the scope
of all time.
Carry me, winds of Love
and let me rest
in You
ever moving,
ever true...

Quote of the Day: What is Evolution?

Whenever I explain what evolution is, I say simply this: Evolution is a cosmic process that is going somewhere in and through time. And we are all part of that process. This simple fact is potentially life-transforming, but it's also hard to grasp at a deep level. The process that created us is moving. We tend to see the world around us as static. But it's not. It's going somewhere. We're going somewhere. Awakening to this truth about all of manifestation changes the way we see the world around us and our place in it. The biggest and most important part of this awakening is that we discover our power to affect where the process that created us is going. We realize the ultimate reason for our own existence: to be a spiritual hero, to boldly take responsibility for the future of the process itself.
~ Andrew Cohen

Opera Organically: The Fourth Principle

The Fourth Principle of Opera Organically is:

The voice is an organism in need of cultivation.

We are living in a world that is focused on 'hard work'.  However 'hard work' has no meaning unless we know why we are working!  We hear almost every great singing artist speak about how they got to where they are because they 'worked hard'. When we hear this kind of reasoning, many questions spring to mind:

What drives this person?  Is it a daily grind of work, work, work, or is it something more?  What kind of 'work' is necessary to serve an art form as powerful and wide-reaching as opera?  Where does the energy and the spirit come from to fuel this work?...

Yes, singing takes work, but not in the way we think.  We are taught that more hours in the practice room will create a better singer.  Yet there are stories of students who have sung themselves to vocal graves from over practice, trying to do all the right things toward success while never achieving a true knowledge of and peaceful relationship to their Voices.

What do we mean by working on the Voice?

This Fourth Principle is strongly based on Kammersängerin Hilde Zadek's advice to me to "get to know and allow your IT".  When we think of the Voice as something in need of care and in need of our understanding, we are suddenly free of the pressure to become what we are not.  This is why I capitalize the word Voice in most of my posts here on Opera Organically.  The Voice is much more than a tool, much more than something which we are taught to shape and manipulate into a thing which will bring us fame and glory.

The Voice is an entity which has chosen US as ITs means of expression! 

The Voice is already complete, an already accessible element of who we are, capable of growth under our gentle attention and understanding.  When we trust this, we realize we are cultivating a part of us which is already present and already complete.  Learning to sing from this perspective becomes an incredible journey of discovery, like peeling the petals slowly open from the flowers of our Hearts until we can gaze in and see the true beauty of what the Voice is.

Very rarely does Voice show Herself all at once!  S/He asks for us to discover what S/He needs to grow. We must learn to speak His language, to hear what S/He's asking for...to learn to have a dialogue with IT.   This is what it means to 'work' on the Voice!  This 'work' means thousands of questions which seem to lead to nowhere...until we hear an answer on the wind or in a dream.  It means being willing and able to see the Voice which we sense to be incredibly beautiful and powerful (and rightly so!) in ourselves at the beginning of our studies as a tiny seed.  At the beginning IT is almost invisible, but with the correct kind of work, IT will grow into the majestic expression of who we are that we always knew IT could be.

A gardener who knows that her prize winning tomato plants begin from a tiny seed trusts that with love and attention, the right environment and the most nourishing soil, the plant will grow on its own.  So it can be with Voice!  When we know that our very selves are the soil, the sun, the earth and water with which we allow our Voices to grow, what magic is possible in our lives--and what an incredibly beautiful responsibility we have as singers!  Male or female, we are pregnant with the Essence of our Voices from the day we are conceived!  What a joyful discovery!!

This post is dedicated to my friend Evelyn,
beautiful pastor-in-training, with whom, in Vienna, 
Opera Organically gave Voice to the idea of 'cultivation'.

With Love,


Monday, May 30, 2011

No. 144: The Heart is a prism

The Heart is a prism

Gazing through her
I bow at the altar
of Life:
infinite shiny pieces of Me
fused by Light.

And, just beyond 
this infinite strength,
this core of We,
are You: mirror image
and clearest Sight.

No. 143

From the perspective of the Heart there is nothing to say.  The Heart wants only to be in Love. How do we achieve this awareness?  How can we learn from a way of being that has no words? Our teachers can build a bridge to this place, and hope that we cross it...but how do we take the first steps along the path?  We begin by realizing that our very bodily existence is the beginning of our path to Love.  We are here, on Earth, even scattered or sad, unclear and insecure, we are here. This is incredible news!  For when we know we are alive, that we live and breathe if only in pieces, it slowly becomes evident that the glue to hold all our parts together is one and the same with what we have been seeking.  Over time, the peace and joy which we have sensed embodied in the people and creatures we admire become more than just signposts or beacons in the night.  They become one with who we are.  We become One, and suddenly there has never been a separation between us and the teacher.  There has never been a bridge.  There has only, ever, been Love.

Friday, May 20, 2011

No. 142: "Musicophilia"

In his book Musicophilia, the physician Oliver Sacks writes of a very curious phenomenon called musical hallucination.  Musical hallucinations occur mainly, it seems, in the minds of people who have suffered prolonged hearing loss.  One of Dr. Sacks' stories is of a psycholanalyst who, after bypass surgery and genetic hearing loss, began to experience musical hallucinations.  This man, named Dr. Rangell, says this of his condition:

The musical hallucinosis is related, I feel, to the hyperacusis that goes with the hypo-hearing.  The internal, central auditory pathways must overwork and enhance sounds...Passivity is overcome by activity.

How can this intriguing knowledge of how the brain compensates for loss or lack be applied to Opera Organically?

I believe that, for a true singer, if the expression of love that s/he must allow to flow as her voice is somehow blocked or stunted by life experience, the brain will compensate and allow for this expression in a different expression of love.  His world will expand in a spiritual way or through another artistic pursuit.  She will experience love in new ways and through new sensations.  S/he will travel new places and log new impressions.

Until one day, when s/he looks back on it all and realizes, s/he was singing all along in some way or another, and it all lead to the truth of love and life NOW.  NOW s/he can sing, not through hallucination or compensation, but as whom s/he truly IS. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No. 141

Have we, in the interest of creating a necessary, clear scientific model of the operatic voice and its development, divorced the process of learning to sing so emphatically from the process of becoming a person, that those who are looking for themselves while they are looking for their voices rarely succeed in finding either?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quote of the Day: The Purpose of Mystical Experience

As I see it, the purpose of mystical experience is to convince us, at a soul level, that our true nature is Spirit—to convince us so deeply that we are liberated from existential doubt. Why? So we will finally be available to participate, consciously and wholeheartedly, in the greatest gift we've been given … which is the life we are already living right now.

~ Andrew Cohen

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quote of the Day: To A Child

THE greatest poem ever known

Is one all poets have outgrown: 

The poetry, innate, untold, 

Of being only four years old. 

Still young enough to be a part 

Of Nature's great impulsive heart, 

Born comrade of bird, beast, and tree 

And unselfconscious as the bee-- 

And yet with lovely reason skilled 

Each day new paradise to build; 

Elate explorer of each sense, 

Without dismay, without pretense! 

In your unstained transparent eyes 

There is no conscience, no surprise: 

Life's queer conundrums you accept, 

Your strange divinity still kept. 

Being, that now absorbs you, all 

Harmonious, unit, integral, 

Will shred into perplexing bits,-- 

Oh, contradictions of the wits! 

And Life, that sets all things in rhyme, 

may make you poet, too, in time-- 

But there were days, O tender elf, 

When you were Poetry itself! 

~Christopher Morley

Monday, May 9, 2011

Opera Organically: The Third Principle

The Third Principle of Opera Organically is

Love is singing and singing is Love.

This is a very interesting principle because it requires a leap of faith.  It also requires the admission of a degree of intimacy and vulnerability as singers which is often beaten out of us as we strive to become "tough enough" for the career of opera.  When we are learning to express our truest voices, it is not always easy to see the birthing process of the voice through the eyes of Love.  Opera Organically is dedicated to all those who want to explore and experience this Love.  When the singer does experience this It, s/he sees that the strength she needs to live this life and walk the path of a singer is not of her making, rather It has been present since the beginning of all time.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

DEUTSCH • Be Free Butterfly • TonySamara.org

Opera Organically: The Second Principle

The Second Principle of Opera Organically is

Freedom is possible for anyone who desires it enough with heart, mind, body, and soul.

For each student of singing, the pathway is the same: we are all seeking freedom.  Freedom from what depends on the individual story, the "opera of life" that each individual is walking. Part of the singing student's task is to devise her own plan for her freedom walk.  We know already that the destination is clear, is possible, and is real.  Now she can paint her way with all the beauty that all the composers painted in the music s/he sings.  It is the student's responsibility to seek out the maps, to draw them based on the collective experience s/he witnesses in her teachers, her supporters, her colleagues, in nature, in life, in music...and in all that Love brings to her.  The Second Principle is an invitation to the greatest adventure in a singer's life: the walk to freedom, the walk to True Voice.  What comes after is Love in the purest sense, that cannot be questioned.  The singer has let go of the journey, and knows what it means to truly be blessed, to surrender, to love, and to truly sing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quote of the Day: If you are able to go this deep...

"If you are able to go this deep, you will find that every emotion turns out to be love in disguise. Jealousy and hatred seem to be opposites of love, but they can also be seen as distorted ways to return love. The jealous person is seeking love but has a distorted way of going about it; the hating person may desperately want love but hates out of despair at ever getting it. Once you stop seeing love as a mere emotion, it makes sense that a universal force is drawing everyone toward it--this is the wizard's love. Thus we should honor every expression of love, however distorted. Though few people may be able to experience universal love at its fullest, all are walking the path toward it.

~Deepak Chopra, The Way of the Wizard

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No. 140: Regarding the First Principle

Imagine if "good" and "bad" were stricken from our vocabulary when it comes to describing a Voice: Billions of people would no longer have the excuse not to sing. Their most trusty excuse, that they "don't have a 'good' voice" would no longer be available to them. It is the first step to setting countless Voices, and singers, free.

Opera Organically: The First Principle

The first principle of Opera Organically is

The Voice is always right.


At any point in the development of a singer, the Voice is seen as an Innocent. IT is a sacred Being, the expression of a holy impulse coming from the deepest part of who we are. The True Voice which we are seeking originates in a place where there is no 'right' and no 'wrong'. Therefore, in order to sing Opera Organically, we must pledge in all sincerity not to use the words 'good' and 'bad' or 'right' and 'wrong' to describe our singing, or the singing of anyone else. A Voice, any voice, simply IS. IT IS.

From this starting point, from as deep as we can reach in ourselves, we gain a perspective which demands inquiry. If we may not use the words 'good' or 'bad' to describe singing, what other descriptors are available to us? "Free" or "captive"..."controlled" or "uncontrolled"..."conscious" or "unconscious"..."awake" or "asleep"..."aware" or "unaware"..."here" or "not here"..."happy" or "sad"..."eager" or "apathetic"..."in line" or "out of line"...

Indeed, if we may not use 'good' or 'bad' as descriptors, we find that there are many other words which we can use to describe...what? or whom? When we leave the easy snap judgments of "right and wrong" and "good and bad" behind while speaking of Voices, we find something rather alarming: beyond judgment of the Voice, when we simply observe It, we find we are merely, and quite importantly, describing ourselves!

This reality, that we are inseparable from our Voices in judgement and observation, is key to understanding how to sing Opera Organically. It is the reason why I found solace and freedom in seeing my Voice as a separate Entity from myself during the most critical years of my development as a singer and as a person. Though this may seem like a step away from reality, for the singer who has become addicted to determining "good" or "bad" and "right" and "wrong", this pathway of separation from the Voice can lead to self-understanding which is not possible in a hyper-judgmental mental environment.

The First Principle challenges the mind but is easy for the heart to accept.

It sets the mind up to wonder:

~Where have I not yet delved deep enough to find purity?

~Where must I learn to listen for Truth?

~In what language does my True Voice speak to me?

~What is the True Source of my True Voice?

~Who am I criticizing when I criticize a Voice? What is the true meaning of discernment?...

As for the Heart, it gives Her food to live on, for She has always known, from the very beginning, that Her True Voice is the most beautiful and lovable of all!

Monday, April 25, 2011

No. 139: The Singing Animal

When the Singer begins to observe that she is indeed an animal, a singing Creature born not only of body but of a sort of "Music-Spirit" which composers, in their knowledge of this Creature's existence, have pulled from the very depths of Who She Is, she starts to see the sparks of her True Self. It's like seeing the flash of a Bengal tiger's eyes in the jungle: She does not know where the Creature has been or where It is going, but she can guess...oh yes, she can guess, at It's power. This guess is the voice of timelessness which speaks back from when she was made of stardust, her voice floating on the silent winds of the universe. The spark in her eye is the spark in the tiger's eye, for It lives inside her, owns her, brings her to life with a Truth that lives only in open, timeless, wilderness. In the absence of pretense, in the place where hunger is raw, the bowing, the worship, the Love expressed toward Music transforms from mere gratefulness into awe...and Music becomes not only Music but the stuff which makes up Life Itself. And suddenly she is running alongside the tiger, not knowing where they are going, but beginning to know why.

Quote of the Day: The Ultimate Spiritual Practice

The ultimate spiritual practice, as I teach it, is facing everything and avoiding nothing. When you truly face everything and avoid nothing, you will no longer be afraid to stand tall—before your own conscience, before others, before God. This is because you are no longer hiding anything from yourself. Through this noble practice, you will cultivate integrity and discover the kind of soul-strength that only comes from fearlessly facing the truth. The instinctive defense mechanisms that the ego hides behind will crumble, and your self and soul will become a transparent vehicle through which the evolutionary impulse can work in this world.
~ Andrew Cohen

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quote of the Day: A Creative Flow

Think about your experience of those moments when you are most creatively engaged. What does it feel like? Being in a creative “flow” can be ecstatic and, simultaneously, there is an often surprising sense of urgency to bring into being that which you can sense is possible. That’s why great artists or scientists will work day and night, neglecting to eat or sleep. They are driven by a vision, something just beyond their reach that will not let them rest until they have brought it into reality. That drive is the very same impetus that caused the whole universe to burst forth, fourteen billion years ago, and is now expressing itself through the body, mind, heart, and talents of an inspired human being.

When you feel that creative flow, often you discover a part of yourself you are not normally aware of but which feels more like your “self” than the person you usually think you are. It’s like plugging in to a deeper source of energy and passion that transcends whatever limitations you ordinarily assume. A deeper, more authentic part of your self is creatively released. That’s why such moments are so fulfilling—it’s not just the creative work you produce, but the experience of being more alive, more connected, more in touch with a sense of meaning and purpose.

~ Andrew Cohen

Saturday, April 9, 2011

No. 138

What if we and the music we make are made of One and the same thing?  Are we ready to embrace that possibility? To own the love we feel, the passion which these creations, inanimate until we breathe through them,  inspire in us?  Are we willing to release control, to surrender to the unknown as music takes over who we are, even when we are not singing it?  Are we aware of what music can teach us? Of how much It understands the world we live in, the lives we lead, indeed where we came from?  Could we ever grasp the chance, the shadow of a dream which says that music itself is alive?  That music embodies qualities to which we can aspire? That to answer to music is the same as answering to God Herself?  Will we do this in all knowing?  I believe that we are doing it all along, and that life is simply our birthing toward knowing It!

Quote of the Day: Das Selbst Befreien

Wenn wir darüber sprechen, eine neue Kultur an der Leading Edge, der Vorfront der Bewusstseinsentwicklung, zu gestalten, jenseits des Status quo, in den wir eingebettet sind, dann wissen wir nicht unbedingt, wie das aussehen sollte. Das ist verständlich – schließlich ist diese Kultur noch nicht entstanden. Und wir müssen auch nicht genau wissen, wohin wir gehen werden. Aber wir müssen wissen was es bedeutet das Selbst aus den Strukturen herauszulösen, die unser Potenzial für den vertikalen Aufstieg behindern. Und wenn wir uns in dieser Weise befreien, werden wir inmitten dieser Entwicklung sehen, wohin wir gehen. Aber zunächst einmal ist es entscheidend wichtig, das Selbst zu befreien, damit es zu dieser heroischen Reise bereit ist.
Andrew Cohen

Friday, April 8, 2011

Quote of the Day: Rumi

"Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field.  I'll meet you there." 

Thursday, April 7, 2011


The teleology of the singing organism is to be free.  What shape the journey to freedom takes in the singer's life is as infinitely variable as the differences between us.  However the "It", das Es: the factor which keeps us searching and which is our reward from the time we sense It to the time we can allow It fully in our lives through our voices, is always and ever the same.  It is what we recognize when we hear greatness. It is what we yearn for because It is not only our blood and our breath, but the very life force which sustains us.  When we realize this, a whole new kind of camaraderie is available to us.  We are no longer just singers, but the embodiment, the instruments, the mouthpieces of God.  It is at once a profound calling and a simple one.  But a calling it is: deeper than the individual soul itself.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Quote of the Day: Freeing the Self

When we speak about creating a new culture at the leading edge, beyond the status quo that we are embedded in, we don't necessarily know what it is supposed to look like. That's understandable—after all, it has not yet emerged. And we don't need to have a completely clear picture of where we are going. What we do need to know is what it means to disembed the self from that which is inhibiting its potential for vertical ascent. And as we free ourselves, in the midst of ascending, we will begin to see where it is that we are going. What is necessary, first and foremost, is to free the self to make this heroic journey.
~ Andrew Cohen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No. 136

When we hear a singer and want to be able to sing like that singer, it is not only we who are recognizing the desire to sing, but our Voice which, upon seeing its mirror image, jumps with joy in recognition of its own beauty.  It is our choice whether to persevere and follow the path which the Voice then takes us on toward its own version of freedom, its own expression through our lives, or not.  What we are really experiencing is a collective Voice, a collective Love which travels the depths of all humankind until it finds the ones who will express It.  When we identify with a singer, it is because they have also been touched by this collective Voice, this collective Love.  They may be a little further in allowing it in their lives than we.  But what of it?  At least we can see, we can hear, and we can experience that Love, which has always been ours, even before we knew we could hear it.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

No. 135: Walking Amongst Words

Water-drop me, unsuspecting,
into a world of clarity
where all the stories of our humanity
hit fertile Earth, honoring gravity,
and in their falling, vibrate Love
made of the dew of dreams,
which, set to vaporous music,
rouse me from sleep, it seems,
into a world where all is wonder
and words are what we eat
with music as our canopy, 
music, the forest floor at our feet.
The trees, the loving arms of God
which catch our stories to tell, 
stretch from their roots,
bridge Earth and sky,
and make both heaven and hell
the playground where all nourishment
comes from who we are
and fear and tears are stories
bright as any star.

Chocolate, Cheese, Meat, and Sugar -- Physically Addictive

An interesting talk about how food affects our existence! Lean, Mean, Singing Machines, here we come!!!

Quote of the Day 16

“Spiritual self-confidence fills one’s heart with a love that is not dependent on external circumstances for its fullness. It’s a love that is unshakable, unmoving, and indestructible. Such love – a love that transcends yet simultaneously embraces the world – is what compels human beings to evolve, from their own deepest depths, and to become better citizens of our world and our cosmos. Knowing the mysterious source of that love is knowing before thought that life is good. That inherent goodness is who we really are.”
– Andrew Cohen

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No. 134

The untrained voice is the only weapon which is more dangerous before it is fully forged!  How are we preparing ourselves for the nicks and cuts, the 'lost limbs' which come along in this search for completion? We must believe in health and wholeness, and the Path thereto, to such a degree that one day we wake up and we know our weapon has become our friend, our Excalibur, our companion, made just for us, on a journey of Light, of Truth, and of the kind of Love which welds mind to heart and body to soul.  We become dancers with a mysterious partner whose secrets are revealed only to us.  We become complete in our joy, sure of our knowledge, and curious about the twists and turns which are sure to come when we follow the life of an entity which is not quite our own.  This is how we heal.  This is how we grow.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

No. 133: Speak to Me

Speak to me
of where we are from
and I will hear words
of light, of joy,
of promise, of truth.
I will hear words of love
which propel me to
all I need to know:
where your words
and where they are going,
what they have truly been
and what they will always be.
I will know you
inside and out
because each of these
are the same:
you and I,
strength in all lightness
and all peace.

I believe in you.
I believe in me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ani Choying Drolma - CHÖ - Munich 08

No. 132

Singing and Loving are the same:
With both, we must forget the world and go as deep as we can imagine.
Once we have done this, we remember: here in this depth is the only world that ever mattered.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No. 131: As in the Forest

As in the forest
let the days of my past
fall like leaves to the floor at my feet
mixing with all the living things
who make it their business
to cycle life into love.

And may I see all the days past
of all those I love, of every living thing,
mixed with mine in an earthy depth of knowledge
which softly springs under my feet
as I walk amongst the trees
of my dreams.

Quote of the Day 15: Breaking Through Gravity

human being trying to catalyze the emergence of a higher level of consciousness is like a rocket ship trying to break through the gravity of the Earth's atmosphere. The gravity that we are endeavoring to release ourselves from is the historical weight of our conditioning, both personal and cultural. If we can generate enough vertical momentum to propel us beyond the boundaries of who we have been, we will find ourselves in uncharted territory.
Andrew Cohen

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No. 131

On this Journey of Me
the fire which brightens the path
can burn
or guide 
But I'm beginning to think
I'd rather be consumed by Love's flame
to the point where there is no pain
so I know 
that I am One
with All I seek:
No feeble flicker!
No scorching heat!
Just Love in utmost intensity
until I know I and my Way
are the same
and all there is 
is Light.

No. 130: What are we looking for?

What is a singer looking for?  We are taught "If you are a singer, you must sing!"  What does this mean?

It is tempting to follow other's examples, to try to define the path that a singer must take in order to be heard, to be free, to be able to express the deepest part of who we are.  However the path to each person's deepest Self is as unique as the individual, and anything but the true discovery of Who We Are will show up as an anomily or impurity of the voice. The best singers have found a way to maintain a balance, a relationship with Life and Love and Music to such an extent that they are a match to It, a flowing elemental part of It, most of the time.  This is indeed the goal of the true Classical School of Singing.  It is a path to the Truth of a voice.

There is a school of thought which says singing is not about Love but about Ego.   In response to that I say that it is possible for a singer to Be Love, in the sense that s/he sings the music divinely and in truth, and yet not know it.   At the same time, if we have the opportunity to express divinity in the form of music which mirrors the beauty of life, why argue our worthiness or question our calling, conscious or not?  We must follow the paths to our voices through the music which is an expression of That Which Knows and Loves All, and all will be well.  Whether it's our calling to know what we are and what we are doing is up to God and the Universe.