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  • juliehamula

What the mountains teach me...

I never have particularly loved mountains.

I am a girl of the sea and the wind. The mountains and forest are a beauty that is slowly revealing itself to me as I live in this beautiful part of the world known as Slovakia.

Don’t let the pictures fool you.

When I am hiking on the mountains, fear rises in me so quickly. I look around at everyone else hopping around on the rocks and around crevices so easily, while I stumble around on hands and knees scared as all hell. In my numerous (errrm, 4) hikes, I have discovered a key issue in myself on the mountain.

Trust. Trust in myself. Like, I don’t trust myself.

I don’t trust that I will put my foot on the correct rock. I look to the hikers in front of me to show me the way. But when I step on “their” rocks, follow “their” path, I feel even more unstable. And the feeling of falling to my death grips hold of me.

So, I sit down, I cry, and I explain to all the non-English speaking Slovaks that I’m a Florida girl, so I’m not used to the mountains. Secretly hoping someone will rescue me. No one ever does. I am 6 hours out of civilization and I have no choice but to get my butt off the ground and find a way to move.

In these moments, I realize I must start to trust in my own body. Keep the mental belief that I have the tools to make it up and down the mountain. Watching the others do it gives me hope and inspiration, but I simply cannot copy their exact steps. If I do, I will fall. My body is different, my sense of space is different. I need different stepping stones.

As a singer, trust becomes a huge issue. Trust in oneself and in one’s instrument. We spend years unknowingly handing over our trust, bit by bit, to others. Often well-meaning others (but this doesn’t matter). The fact is, by handing over our trust, oftentimes we do it at the expense of the trust we have in ourselves.

As we learn to sing, we are told “the ugly sound in our heads is the right one”, “trust the ears of your teacher”, “we cannot hear ourselves”. And I want to state for the record that I AGREE with the above statements.

HOWEVER, what is the cost of this gradual brain-washing? (I apologize for using this triggering term, but I need to. Brain-washing doesn’t need to be malevolent; it just is what it is.)

Do we gradually train ourselves to STOP listening to our voices, our bodies, our intuition, because WE can’t possibly perceive reality or what is right?

Do we slowly disempower ourselves in ways we never could imagine?

And then, how does this disempowerment show up in our singing?

Can we possibly expect to be the singers we *know* we are, when we don’t trust ourselves?

So you search... for that new program, the new coach, the new teacher, the latest technique that will take you where you know you should be. But the sad reality is: no one will get you there. Even if it appears they do for a time, the harsh reality will show up again and you will be forced to confront the fact that you have lost trust in yourself.

Becoming masterful singers is a lifelong process, and to gain true mastery requires massive introspection, learning, un-learning, and creating space for discovery.

As I discussed about the other hikers- they can act as wonderful guides to the general goal (top of the mountain), but I must feel for myself what exact foot path is right for me and my body.

The same holds true for singing. If you haven’t broken through that next level. Or you’re at the top of your career and noticing that things are not working for you the way they always have. Or things are fine enough, but the little voice inside of you *knows* you are capable of more vocally, the first step is to stop and recognize this reality.

Don’t push against what is and tell yourself BS like “I have vocal limits”, “I’m getting older so my voice is just harder to manage”, “I have never been good at coloratura”, “I can’t sing above C6 anymore” Instead, ask yourself: WHY?

Just like me on the mountain. After I sat down and cried, I recognized no one would save me, but I could save myself.

You also have the ability to save yourself, but you must first take ownership of what is.

I want to hear your thoughts on this. If what I say resonates with you, I would love to chat further. Set up a call here...

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