What gift do YOU want to give? (photo: Kimberly Barber, 2020)

Christmas is a distant memory, but this week I’d like to talk about the gifts we give. Recently I participated in a workshop with the wonderful Leigh Graham, founder of https://fitforthestage.com . This highly experiential workshop consisted of many elements, but one of the biggest takeaways was something she calls “State as a Gift”. That is, centring in on the gift we wish to give as an artist to our audience. Far too often, the gift we are (unintentionally) giving, is the UNgift of our fear, our doubt, our self-loathing, our self-judgement, or any number of other equally toxic potions. To counter this, we worked on setting clear intentions for ourselves just before singing–the gifts we wish to give. Leigh encouraged us to leave our negative baggage at the door, reminding us that if we were bringing that psycho-emotional clutter with us onto the stage, that it was replacing any positive, light-filled intention we might otherwise have. So by making a simple but very clear choice about what it was we intended to give (often very closely connected to the story we are endeavouring to tell with our sound, our text and our presence), our performances were amazingly unfettered. We all flew!

It was frankly astonishing how, just with stating an absolutely authentic intention, we were all able to change the quality of our performances. One by one, each participant took what were initially very strong, competent performances, and transformed them through this gift-giving exercise into inspired and moving utterances. We cheered. We cried. We were all changed. So now I am passing it on to everyone I encounter in my work, and practicing it daily for myself.

Try it and be amazed.