Autopilot

It always amazes me how much of our lives we spend in autopilot: simply going through the motions of living without actually experiencing it. How many of us zone out while driving, working, and doing the dishes, only to find that time has simply passed us by. Likewise, we are oftentimes completely unaware of our bodies and the habits be procure throughout our time on this Earth. My yoga students and voice students alike are unaware of their tendency towards a turn-out or pigeon-toed stance and how that can affect their bodies and voices. My own experience with my vocal, physical, and emotional habits is a work-in-progress, and probably always will be. What am I doing with my tongue when I sing? How are my knees tracking when I glide into a warrior pose? Many times I catch myself completely unaware of my body or my actions. But, when I can turn off my autopilot and actually tune in to what I am feeling, thinking, and doing, I am much more successful in my ability to change, grow, make progress, and assist others. Whether it is driving to a well-known destination, attending a class, taking a lesson, or working your day job, can you turn off your autopilot and actually focus directly, and solely, on what is in front of you? Can you let all the other clutter go and be contented on staying in the present moment?
If I’ve learned one thing during my years of vocal study both at the collegiate and private level is that it is much easier to start from scratch and create new good habits than to break a bad one. After years of belting out as a child and adding tension to tension, the only way I knew to sing was with force and bad placement. It’s taken years of self-discovery and several teachers to begin to free up my voice and let go of the years of bad muscle memory. (And I really have my current teacher and coach Juliana Gondek and Rakefet Hak to thank for getting me over these last major hurdles. Yay!!!!) How much easier might my progress have been if only I were able to pull myself out of autopilot all those years ago? We’ll never know. However, the more I can focus and remain present while singing and living, the faster I can replace bad habits with good ones. All it takes is getting out of the passenger seat and taking the wheel for awhile. You control your own destiny. Don’t let your destiny control you.

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