Welcome to the first official blog post for Point Blanc Voice! First off, I would like to thank you for visiting my new website and blog. I am so excited to begin this new step in my journey and grateful to be able to share my thoughts about voice and life with you. In starting this blog, I am reminded of the journey I have traveled to get to this point. It’s funny the way life comes full circle sometimes.
Back in 2012, I felt lost. I had moved back to Florida from New York City in 2010. I was THRILLED to be back in my home town and surrounded by people I absolutely loved but after my ‘rose colored glasses’ came off, I knew I was not going to be happy just going about my daily schedule with no bigger goal in sight. I was looking for the next step to launch me into the resulting chapter of my life.
Luckily, I had a stroke of insight. I remembered that once upon a time I had a dream of studying voice – a dream that was pushed down by harsh realities of living in New York City. But now, after being back in Palm Beach County and allowing myself the time and space to settle, I immediately knew my direction. In February of 2013, I auditioned for the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. To my delight, I was accepted as one of 16 scholars in the Voice Studies program – which is not offered in the United States.
There was only one problem… how was I going to afford a Master of Fine Arts in LONDON??? I knew I had to accept because I felt such a calling for voice and that I would figure out the details later. In an effort to fund my way across the pond I relied on what I know best – theatre. I put together a performance fundraiser which some of you reading this may have performed in (thank you!) or attended (thank you!). This sold out event was divinely filled with songs, dances and monologues performed by my students, colleagues and mentors. It was a truly amazing evening filled with my loved ones both on stage and in the audience.
The title of this performance was “be in love with your life, every minute of it,” a quote by Jack Kerouac. And in the program notes, I referred to the fact that above dying, flying, confined spaces and sharks, public speaking is THE number one fear of humans. So now that my world is coming full circle and I am starting this blog, I would like to address that number one fear with the idea of being in love with every minute of your life.
Fear is an autonomic response to perceived danger. This reaction occurs to help us in any and all “fight or flight” situations when the Hypothalamus region of the brain actives. When we are experiencing an excessive amount of internal or external stress, our body feels fear to protect us. We have an alarm system built into our bodies! If you look at it from that perspective, how lucky are we? But when our heart is racing, we can’t catch our breath and we find ourselves in survival mode, how is that supposed to feel positive?
Would it help if I told you that fear is excitement without breath? Whether we are experiencing fear or excitement the initial response is for our adrenalin to start pumping. The secretion of adrenalin heightens our senses to make us more alert in both pleasurable and traumatic events. Because we can have the same response to two very different experiences, our body sometimes tells us to be fearful when in fact we are excited. The responses get confused. The ONLY difference between the two responses is your breath. By showing ourselves a little gentle love and being curious about the situation we have found ourselves in, we can find a great amount of relief and potentially experience excitement. Isn’t it cool to think about the fact that we can change our emotional states just by changing our breathing pattern? (Read more about the “Fight or Flight” Response here: http://www.thebodysoulconnection.com/EducationCenter/fight.html)
Furthermore, without breath we cannot make sound. If our breath is not flowing, we literally cannot speak. So not only is our emotional make-up at stake, we also cannot communicate with our voice. This experience of not being able to speak due to fear does not always happen at 100%. Think about the times when you simply feel uncomfortable in a situation and aren’t necessarily sure why… That falls on the spectrum of fear and distresses your breath and in turn affects your voice. Those awkward situations may build up, too, and your breath more and more held, changing your voice in a negative way.
Honor those feelings, big or small. Take care of yourself, breathe deeply and don’t lose your voice. Find something to gain from the situation and be in love with the fact that your body unequivocally protects you.
I’d like to leave you with a special treat. This is some inspiration to find a way to be in love with your life THIS minute. Those of you who attended my fundraising performance before I went to grad school might remember the final poem that I recited that night. This poem, by Charles Baudelaire, is titled, “Be Drunk.” It is one of my all time favorite poems and the one I performed as part of my acceptance into the Voice Studies program at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Going to grad school in London was an experience for which I was both fearful and excited. Now that it is complete, being a part of the world of voice is one sure way I am inspired to “be in love with my life, every minute of it.” Enjoy!
By Charles Baudelaire
You have to be always drunk.
That's it--it's the only way.
So as not to feel the horrible burden
of time that breaks your back
and bends you to the earth,
you have to be continually drunk. But on what?
Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish.
But be drunk. And if you sometimes happen to wake up,
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your room, your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave, the star,
everything that is flying,
everything that is groaning,
or rolling, or singing,
everything that is speaking. . .
ask what time it is
and the wind,
will answer you:
"It is time to be drunk!
So as not to be the martyred slaves of time,
be drunk, be continually drunk!
On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."