The Straight and Narrow

My life has never followed a straight line. The natural trajectory of an opera singer is bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, young artist programs, audition circuit, then moving into a paid vocal career. I clawed my way through my vocal performance degrees–begging and pleading to attend each school. With my nose in my books and clocking hundreds of hours in the practice rooms, I graduated with honors from both schools. Unfortunately, even with a master’s degree, my voice was still a wreck of tension and tightness. Auditors don’t care of you graduated summa cum laude; they just want to hear a perfected voice. Even though, deep down, I knew I wasn’t ready, I tried my luck at the young artist programs and audition circuit for a year because I didn’t know what else to do. My voice had been my life, consuming 100% of my attention for 6 years. To leave school and not move into a full-time career as an opera singer seemed to me a waste of thousand of dollars in student loans and years of my time and focus. I struggled ahead on the straight path and failed with flair. I learned with each devastating audition that I needed to choose a new path to get to my finite goal. I would have to leave that straight forward path and start taking some detours. I decided to take some time off, I took a few breaths, and I plunged myself wholeheartedly into yoga. A novice at the start of the year, I found myself receiving my teaching certification 9 months later. What once was a hobby and an outlet transformed itself into a career. My straight and narrow life plan suddenly had a few kinks and a fork in it. But, the amazing thing was that I could walk down these two paths simultaneously. Like a delicate dance of symmetry, my yoga career and my singing career began to overlap and intersect: each feeding off the other but also taking their own unique journeys. I began to incorporate my physical asana practice into my technical singing work and deep-set tensions and habits began to magically disappear. I brought mindfulness into my vocal practice and became aware of the negative self-talk and fear of failure which was tainting my love of singing and setting me up for ultimate defeat. Likewise, I began to bring singing and chant into my yoga practice and teaching. I learned to share my voice with a grateful audience in a situation devoid of criticism and stress. As my voice became stronger, so did my yoga practice…and visa versa. Now that my performance career is beginning to grow, I am grateful for the fact that I did not follow the “normal” path. I am so much happier now as I enjoy the many facets that make up my life. I’ll keep traveling down my wavy and multi-pronged path. The wavy lives are the most interesting ones. 

#journeytohandstand challenge day 4: handstand core prep. How often are we forced to walk a straight line? How often are we asked to conform, to look a certain way, to act a certain way, to like certain things? Today, dare to make your own way, to be unique and true to yourself–even if the path is a wavy one. 

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