“The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world.”
A large claim? Yes, indeed.
Today we introduce Byron Katie’s fourth question. This question offers us an opportunity to create new, more peaceful realities in our minds:
“Who would you be without the thought?”
Who Would You Be?
Using the thoughts we chose to examine in part 1, now ask – who would I be without the thought “my voice will never heal”?
Now, we introduce Byron Katie’s 3rd question:
“How do you react, what happens, when you think the thought?”
Simple enough, right? (Not so fast. Let’s take a moment to sit with this one.)
The original thought chosen for “part 1” was,
“my voice will never heal, or get better than it is right now. My singing days are over.”
After examining those thoughts using the first two questions, and hopefully realizing they might not actually be true, we have the opportunity to check in with our bodies and feel what happens when we think these thoughts.
The body and mind will produce automatic and often unconscious feelings in reaction to our thoughts. This step offers us a chance to observe the physical and emotional reactions to those feelings.
First, close your eyes. Next, focus on your body by either noticing your breathing, feeling your stomach area, or feeling your heart area. (However “tuning in” feels, looks, or sounds for you, do that.)
Then, ask yourself: “how do I react when I think this thought?”
“The Work is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause all your suffering.”
Today begins a four part series on Byron Katie’s “The Work.”
If you’ve never heard of Ms. Katie or The Work, hold on to your wig. This work will transform you forever if you are willing to change.
She has developed a concise list of 4 questions that unravel habituated, negative thought patterns. After all, our thoughts fuel our feelings and actions – good or bad.
Until we look at our thoughts, though, we cannot make permanent changes in our feelings or actions.
Once a thought is examined using The Work, or other forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), wisdom and healing can arise. The thoughts that cause emotional damage can feel anxious, heavy, or highly charged. By sitting with our thoughts, we can start to see beyond them and experience internal freedom.
The first real jail is the one we create in our minds.
“Specificity refers to the concept that strength training must be designed
to appropriately target the specific muscle or muscle group with the intended skill or task.”
(pg. 246, The Vocal Athlete, 2014)
On the heels of presenting at the Jazz Educators Network conference in New Orleans two weeks ago, I’d like to share some ideas about using jazz to train voices.
My presentation was called “Functional Voice Training Through Jazz Literature and Style,” and it outlined the benefits of using jazz rep and style as a training modality for commercial (or contemporary) singers.
Think: jazz lit and style as tools in the pedagogy toolbox.
In the 11+ plus years I taught university level jazz voice lessons, it (eventually) became obvious that jazz was good for voices. I could use it to get a barely functioning voice to work like a charm, and even if a student wasn’t swimming in musical talent, a semester or two of jazz voice lessons could help him/her get control of pitch, range, harmonic awareness, rhythm, and basic levels of phrasing. Jazz helped vocal function based issues.
Jazz is replete with opportunities for teaching, at least in my opinion. And I don’t think we’ve even begun to plumb its depths as a vocal training tool.
So, let’s begin, shall we?