Friday, July 29, 2011

Where's Your Baggage, What's Your Rush?

Friday musings as I settle in for a healing afternoon.

This accident and thus the healing process and time and halt it has put on life has really offered me time to think, to query, to contemplate. Ironically not about why me, why the accident, but Focusing on wellness and where the journey will lead me in the process. Scary? Absolutely!! Fascinating? You bet.

It got me thinking about the building of the singer's career: the good advice, the bad advice, the good teaching, the bad teaching, the hiding from self, the awareness of self, the truth about an artist's journey and the faux fairy tale about what makes an artist. All heavies. Some in responsibility, some in baggage.

What have you survived? What are you surviving? I ask these questions because I am the queen of survival mode! Sometimes you need that, but when do you let it go? When is it safe to drop the baggage at the door and know you are ready to enter on your terms to be who you say you are?

What is the rush? I know many of you are jumping to answer me, and those of you who have travelled the path are laughing. Rush? What is that?

Turns out perhaps the baggage you carry is causing you to rush when you don't need it.

If you are pursuing singing, there can be no rush!! I don't care if the young artist programs have stupid age restrictions or the competitions are fixed, or you think if you aren't on broadway at 21 you are over. May I suggest with all kindness, that this is part of your baggage and it is making you rush whether you are ready or not.

Artistry takes life experience. Experience has to be lived. What you might be able to achieve at 21 may be great for 21 - but it won't be what you find at 31 or 41.

Technical behavior and prowess takes physical maturity and time to develop. If you are so in a hurry to get somewhere before you are ready what will you do when you get there and are asked to do something you simply cannot?

Artistic Directors, Casting Directors and others want to see and be in the presence of someone real. They don't want to see your baggage, your anxiety, your woulda coulda shoulda, your excuses for rushing in the room. You should be in the room because you are ready and YOU have chosen the time. You must know when your time comes. If you carry the baggage and won't set it down and walk away, if you rush your development and care little for your longevity, nobody can care that you are there. You will be dismissed and you will add that dismissal to the already ridiculously heavy baggage you rush around with.

I am always amazed at how much coaxing it takes to slowing a singer down in order to BE in the body and be in the moment. I used to operate like that myself so I see it immediately!

We all have baggage. I don't care what it is. Where is it? Where will it do you the most good? A storage locker with deadbolts comes to mind! But rather than over-analyze what the baggage is, acknowledging it and just setting it down can give you the permission to slow down and take a look around you and see clearly.

Your artistic centre develops in time and experience uniquely to your clock of living.

Your technical prowess develops in the physicality you claim or not.

This is about you, this is not about your baggage. You are so much freer without that baggage! Find ways of setting it down. Give yourself permission to take your own road, at your own speed and make no excuses for it. If you find it becomes too crowded, it isn't your road, your path or your journey anymore. Your path needs to be yours and yours alone.

You will make a place for yourself or a place will be made for you. If you carry that baggage and rush, you will simply miss it. By the time you figure it out, if you do, it will have passed you by.

Set that baggage down. Be where you are, no excuses, and breathe there. The place of being begins with the breath. You WILL find your place if you are willing to see it through your work, not through your excuse or panic.


  1. Wonderful! And welcome back! My voice teacher said to me a while back: "We have all the time in the world." Whenever I feel I must hurry the process, I hear her calm, nurturing voice saying this to me.

  2. Thanks, I needed that. Starting to learn at 33, it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to make up for lost time. Reading your post 3 times helped me remind myself that doing it right is more important than doing is fast.

    Thanks again, have a great weekend and a complete (if not speedy) recovery :)

  3. Yes!!! thank you, Susan. I've been saying this a lot lately and have passed a link on to those students who need to hear this!!! :)

  4. Dear Susan, thank you for this.
    This is EXACTLY what I needed to read, having just come home from the library where I ran into a former agent. She's a very pragmatic woman and now has a job crunching numbers. The subject of age came up, and moving on to bigger and better things, etc. The quick conversation with her was enough to discourage me, and dim my new-found optimistic light.
    But thanks to this post, I just got the nudge I needed. It's time. I'm ready. Even if it took me 40 years to get there. So there!!
    Happy healing. I know you didn't need a car crash to become so wise, but I'm glad you're pulling something positive out of the experience.
    Greets from over here,
    Christine Graham

  5. Thank you so much for your words.

  6. Wow, great post Susan. Through a long coaching session (that was more discussion) with a favorite director he helped me see that I am doing just that. I have taken a hiatus from the business and am seeing a therapist once a week to sort out all of the baggage that I was dragging into the room with me that I wasn't even aware of. No wonder I suddenly wasn't booking work! I wouldn't have cast me either! So your words really resonate with me. And many thanks to Jew Dewing for turning me on to your blog. I hope you are soon up and about and feeling much better.

  7. OMG I mean JOY Dewing. Man, my brain skipped right ahead to her last name. Sorry about that.