Today at church, one of my sister-friends gave a great talk on how gratitude can be the door to every other positive characteristic in our lives. I’ve experienced how gratitude has opened up a few areas of my life, but I’ve a long ways to go in exercising gratitude to the point where it enlivens everything I do. It seems to me that what we do with our lives reflects in a very real way our gratitude for it. And if that is true on a large scale, than maybe it could work on the individual pieces of our lives as well.
Take my singing, for example. I like singing, but I’ve always been a little embarrassed by it. You must admit, singing is a socially-awkward activity in many contexts. So anyway, as I was singing at the piano this afternoon, I thought to myself, what if I felt just gratitude for my voice in each an every note that I sang? How would that change how I use my voice?
Suddenly, I was allowing myself to create with the finest tones, vowels, consonants, and expression because it was okay to show my gratitude that way (whereas I might view the same thing as somehow egotistical or a self-absorbed “showing off” on a different day).
I don’t know why this has taken me so long to figure out. More than one voice teacher has reminded me to “sing with love” but I have not been very successful at like just “feeling love” in that first breath, you know? It sort of implies having perfect love and acceptance for myself no matter what comes out, and let’s just say, I’m not there yet…I can, however, feel gratitude very quickly. And that may be the door to love and all the other good emotions that make for a warm, vibrant, healing musical expression.
Singing is such a vulnerable experience [any votes out there?]. It pushes on all my weak spots: a lack of confidence, a need for approval, fear of rejection. It all comes up for me when I sing in front of other people and sometimes, even in front of myself. So this gratitude thing may be a really good way for me to get around my pride and insecurity. If I tell myself, “Just be grateful for your voice, its unique sounds and shapes, all the details of the singing experience. Be grateful that you have a voice and use it with sense of deep appreciation…” Then maybe the rest will happen in time.