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 •

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!