Your Voice in Focus Part 2: A New Online Reality
Posted on Thursday, April 09, 2020
Life as a Baguette
From my work in France over the past few years, I have been delighted to understand that when the French invented the baguette, they made it in their own image. Often a bit hard and crusty on the outside, yet soft and melty on the inside. Both to be fully appreciated. Sometimes we are the baguette, sometimes others, each requiring a different amount of work depending upon whether the person is under or overcooked.
Speaking from the edge
We need an enormous amount of patience with ourselves and with others these days. What does this have to do with your voice? Plenty. It’s a common understanding among stage performers that when you are onstage you are indeed, naked. We understand a lot about how you feel about yourself, others, the situation, and your physical and emotional health through your voice. How we sound creates a chain reaction toward which others respond or react. So managing your emotions to the best of your ability in times of crisis and discomfort is essential if your intention is to guide the conversation where you want it to go. This is especially true if you’re only heard and not seen.
Lately, many people are working differently, and not always comfortably online. If you feel that you’re not leading with your best self at times then congratulations! You’re normal!
Understanding the baguette
The baguette’s crust is there to protect the soft center. Hardness in people is there to protect vulnerability, and some degree of pain.
In American Buddhist nun and author Pema Chodron’s book “Practicing Peace in Times of War”, she says that ‘Behind resistance – behind any kind of tension, there is always a soft spot that we’re trying to protect.’ Chodron believes that our work is to sit with what is rigid, without judgement, until it gives way. When we reach the soft spot behind what is rigid, that’s where we can find neutral, and it’s from neutral that we find more choices to direct the conversation where we want it to go. This requires the patience to pause when you feel you’re being pulled into the sticky-ness of old feelings of smallness or aggression, full acknowledgement and acceptance of everything that rises to the surface, and the courage to sit with it until it dissolves. In this way, you let it move through you rather then get stuck in you. And this puts you back in the power seat.
Chodron goes on to say, “This means relaxing with that restless, hot energy – knowing that it’s the only way to find peace for ourselves or the world.”
Other ways to maintain neutral
Turn off the TV and turn on the groove. Bad news is everywhere, is infectious, and will still be there at the end of the day. Try starting your day and managing it throughout with spurts of quiet time and music that puts you in your happy place.
Watch your words
Words have power and live in the body. Pay careful attention to negative thinking patterns and word choices even in small ways. Change “I don’t want” to “I prefer”, “I have to” to “I get to”. Lead from abundance rather than scarcity.
Daily prep - Finding comfort in discomfort
If meditation and prayer aren’t your thing, you can try ‘Box Breathing’ used by Navy Seals, you know, tough guys. Breathe in a slow count of four - hold for four - breathe out a slow count of four - hold for four, and repeat for 5 minutes. Whatever gets you there!
Emotions are not solid, they have sway. Finding neutral is work that never stops. It might seem daunting, but instead it can be freeing, because it means we always have the gift of choice. And by continually working back to neutral we have greater freedom to connect, share, teach, influence, love, admire, inspire, and on and on and on, all led by the beauty of your authentic voice. Afterall, few people buy a baguette just for the crust!
Tip for the day
Because emotional stress depletes the immune system, here’s an immune booster...
1 slice of garlic, 4 slices of ginger, 1oz. of lemon juice, 1 tsp of raw local honey, 10 oz. of hot water. Drink 2X/day.