I began working as a music teacher in 1998. I helped thousands of people find their voices, whether in classrooms, in large choruses, on the stage in community theater, or in private coaching sessions.
I loved being a full time teacher.
Until I didn’t.
By 2015, something in me was crying for a new challenge. Teaching began to feel rote. My energy lagged. It was suddenly hard to get out of bed in the morning.
On the outside, everything still looked like fine. Observers told me my classes were great. I sang and danced with kids; I directed theater. I grinned through the concerts and bowed for the applause. Meanwhile, on the inside, nothing felt right.
Believe me, the irony wasn’t lost on me. I had helped so many people find their voices, and yet my own seemed to be beyond my reach. What was my soul trying to say? How could I access my true voice?
I found my answer by listening to others. In the summer of 2017, I took a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) course at Beverly Hospital, where I trained to be a chaplain. The other five people in the course were religious professionals, but I was there because I’d felt a stirring of energy when I considered doing this work. I hadn’t felt my energy stir for some time, so I had to follow its lead.
When you train as a chaplain, you learn to be present to others in times of pain. We met with people struggling with serious illnesses or debilitating addictions. We were the first ones called when someone died and their family needed emotional support.
I found that in times of need, we all want someone who will listen without judgment. We want someone to be fully present to us, no matter how overwhelming our emotional state.
I came out of my stint as a chaplain determined to find a way to combine presence and creative expression. I wanted to help people move through challenging times in a new way.
Right around that time, I heard Michelle Obama speak. She said, “You’ve got to find your true voice.” Her words were like my commission. That’s what I can do, I thought. I can help people find their true voices.
I’ve worked to unlock voices for a long time. I’ve helped singers unleash their most powerful sound and actors speak with authority. I teach breathing exercises and listening meditations. Through chaplaincy, I began to realize that most people don’t take the time to give voice to what is within them. When we don’t listen to ourselves, we lose ourselves. What’s more, the world loses what we have to give.
In the fall of 2017, I created Total Resonance coaching. My coaching sessions draw on the voice coaching I’ve done since 1998. What’s new is the emphasis on truly hearing yourself. It’s not just about your performance – the person you present to the outside world. It’s about listening deeply enough to hear what your soul wants to express. It’s about listening deeply enough to hear your dissonances: the places where your inner and outer selves don’t align. Once you can name your dissonances, you have the hope of creating harmony in your life.
I’ve worked with groups and individuals in my practice. I am amazed and humbled as I begin to see the transformative power of this work.
If my story resonates with you, reach out and let’s talk about how we might work together.