I’ve been pondering several things this week in my practice, but a major theme has been self-love. In recognition of the fact that my singing journey is very connected to my life journey, I observe that I tend to recoil from the hug. That is to say that, when I think about giving myself a virtual hug as I sing (as suggested by my mentor, Neil Semer), my tendency is to want to back away from that. I’m told that as a small child I also did this; when encouraged to snuggle, I often wriggled away. The irony of this is that I often felt like I didn’t get love. How strange! I pushed away the love I sought. The love I craved. And so do I now when I sing. I literally back away from the very thing that will give me support and stability.

I had been noticing with some discomfort that my voice often felt unsteady at the ends of phrases, as though it would “lift off” its moorings. I couldn’t seem to settle, to remain grounded in myself. And when I began working this past week with the “hug” concept while I practiced, I noticed a) this desire to pull away from the hugging sensation and b) that when I was able to stay with it that my voice remained stable, my breath supple, my sensation easy.

For the past several days, my intention when practicing is 3-fold: 1. begin with heart (acknowledge what I am feeling in the moment, and remain connected to my heart as a starting place); 2. take your time (go as slowly as you need to and repeat as often as necessary to truly embody the singing); 3. continue to “hug” myself throughout the singing phrase as though it is a constant source of anchoring and support. Instead of recoiling, I am learning trust.