On a sombre day after an angry mob stormed the US Capitol, I’ve been pondering tyrants and their tirades. The tyrannical have a tendency to lash out wildly and indiscriminately, leaving chaos in their wake. They are unpredictable, volatile, dangerous. Toddler-like in their rage, they are unable to control their impulses. But what of my own inner tyrant? She exists, and it seems she needs to be heard. Consider this:

As I was meeting today with my voice teacher-mentor, we investigated, as we always do, the sensations and feelings that emerge as I breathe and prepare for the beginning of the lesson. I noticed a certain anxiousness in my gut, but also a sort of resistance. And within that resistance, I noticed a kind of longing–a longing for conflict, tension, something to “fight” or push against. I noted that when I work with the concept of “surrendering” during the act of singing, my insider’s opinion is that it represents weakness. And something in me butts up against that.

As an experiment, I was encouraged to play with the feeling of this internal toddler, which I likened, jokingly, to the outgoing US President (name not mentioned for obvious reasons). I gave this little tyrant free rein: I strutted, I cajoled, I called out, I demeaned and belittled, I took up FAR more space than I normally would feel is socially acceptable. And I found I felt exhilarated and joyous. My voice felt full and free and spontaneous. And then I sang, and it felt easier, simpler, much less encumbered by “trying” and micromanaging than I am used to. In essence, I rode the tiger, tamed the tyrant. By giving that inner toddler a voice, I allowed it to show up and sing, rather than surrendering to my scared, intellectual, brainy self. As it turns out, that part of me who wants to run the show isn’t as good at it as the tyrant is. So long as I can channel the tyrant’s energy without its malice, singing with true freedom and connection feels infinitely possible. This is good.