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How to decondition bad habits 😖

How to decondition bad habits 😖

How to decondition bad habits 😖

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

For a very long time, habits have been my nemesis. I have read many books on the topic, chasing the “good” ones and disdaining the “bad” ones…

When we are young, we have no capacity to discern between them. And so they settle in, for better or for worse. We follow them unconsciously for a while, until one say we say…

“If only I could be better at establishing good habits!”

It applies to:
vocalizing
(things that happen *while* vocalizing)
dish-doing
meditation
cat medication
journaling

But then there are those more toxic habits. They are like unconscious snakes in the grass, waiting to snap at your ankles when you least expect them.

This used to happen to me while singing. They were Thought Habits: conditioned responses to any situation in which I was to share my voice.

My thought habits were pretty insidious. They had settled into my practice for a long time, and I had no idea how full of snakes my untidy lawn had become.

It is typical that in order to finally change our ways, we hit a breaking point. (Or something actually breaks.) I was so done with the thought landscape of my voice that I swore off my bad habits and, well, everything in my life did a 180°.

I believe the reason why identifying, setting, and establishing “good” habits is so freaking difficult:

You don’t know who you will be on the other side of the habit.

And at the core of this fear surrounding the dissolution of (crappy, unhelpful, potentially self-destructive) habits is that we are too afraid to claim our own divine potential and true worthiness.

Who ARE you when you are prepared, timely, well-rested, creative, calm, and happy? And your cat is thriving, too?

Who are you when you become a grounded, integrated, focused, divine messenger of love, rather than an overthinking, unhappy, spiky, self-doubting soprano?

Changing your thoughts and actions requires a shift in consciousness. And you have to re-learn what to think and do.

But it only takes a small, simple moment to recognize that you are in a habit rut.

Any habit will begin to shift with recognition. Know when you are engaged in an unhelpful habit. Your understanding will begin to crack the veneer of whatever safety mechanism that habit was engaging for you.

Next comes the will to change. The will to embrace not only higher consciousness, but frankly, a better way. Whether in your singing, or art, or just life in general. 

It all begins with what I call a Sacred YES.

It is your call to action, your divine vow, your stepping through the threshold of fire that says, “I am willing to step into my greater potential (even though I am scared and I don’t know what I’m doing).”

Habits are mutable. They are changing, just as we are. Unconscious thoughts and actions based in fear and ignorance need not run the show. 

When you realize that this is no longer working for you, then make the first change: say YES to a better way.

And from one friend to another: I know that you are worthy and capable of amazing things.

Are you willing to claim that for yourself? 

Prompts for Embracing a Better Way

Take a moment to breathe, center awareness within the heart space, and enter into a state of stillness.  Allow these questions to guide your higher mind into clarity.

Is there a pattern in your life, art, or work that you would like to change? 

Why is this holding you back?

What is the source of this habit, pattern, or behavior? Why does it continue?

Are you willing to change? Yes or no?

If no, what is holding you back?

If yes, are you willing to make that Sacred YES right now? 

A Prayer for Personal Growth

Dear God,
Help me to choose a better life.
Help me to rise into my personal greatness.
Help me to loosen the binds of fear that keep me trapped in the spinning wheel of false safety.
I pray that I may be strengthened in mind and will to make sacred change in my life. 
I pray that I may taste the beauty of my precious life when I embrace my true gifts.
I pray that I may embrace my sacred worth and know my infinite potential when I am aligned with You.
Steady my hand and stand at my back as I walk through the sacred portal to claim the potential of my life, and in doing so become more alive.
And so it is. Amen.

Love,

Allison

 

About Allison Mondel
Transformational Voice Coach, Singer, Teaching Artist, Director, Mentor, Speaker

I am a visionary artist, educator, and voice coach whose work stands at the intersection of vocal wellness, spiritual wisdom, and personal empowerment. With 25+ years of professional experience as a performer, teacher, and mentor, I empower others to access their innate vocal gifts through a holistic process, and ascend into their personal greatness. I have helped hundreds of students access their voice and step beyond their doubts into joyful, courageous, and purposeful self-expression. 

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The wisdom of Rest

The wisdom of Rest

The wisdom of Rest

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

I am taking some time away up on the coast of Maine with my family for two weeks.

(Two weeks. It seems like two years!)

It’s such a vital reflection point, taking the space and time to remove yourself from the regular comings and goings of life and work. It seems like my brain has been literally rewired overnight.

And in the absence of undergoing the functions of what I *should* be doing, I am asking: what do I choose to do?

What are the components of a beautiful, sacred, and thriving life / art / work?

Well, it seems to me that it’s pretty simple, really. 

The tricky bit is waiting for the outside stuff to match the inside stuff. 

It reminds me of the tides. I have never witnessed the tidal shifts as dramatically as where I am here on this rocky, glacier-carved coastline.

High tide is dramatic and feels so full. Low tide reveals something grittier, and even a little fallow. But teeming with hidden life.

I’ve noticed that we are constantly marking the day by the tides: It’s almost high-tide! It must be receding now. Careful! It’s coming back in fast. It’s not quite low-tide. We should wait.

Those highs and lows only come a few times a day. But what happens throughout the rest of the day? We are busy in the midst of actual life! And it’s a beautiful life. 

I’m going to give myself a new practice: to let go of comparing my highs and lows. But rather, to practice staying in the wave of Things. 

Here are some photos of this incredible place. Thank you for reading, and being here with me.

May your journey of life be full of blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love,

Allison

About Allison Mondel
Transformational Voice Coach, Singer, Teaching Artist, Director, Mentor, Speaker

I am a visionary artist, educator, and voice coach whose work stands at the intersection of vocal wellness, spiritual wisdom, and personal empowerment. With 25+ years of professional experience as a performer, teacher, and mentor, I empower others to access their innate vocal gifts through a holistic process, and ascend into their personal greatness. I have helped hundreds of students access their voice and step beyond their doubts into joyful, courageous, and purposeful self-expression. 

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The unnatural nature of Resistance.
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How to define your voice.
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A solution to transcend worry.
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The P Word 🤫

The P Word 🤫

The P Word 🤫

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

It was over dinner the other night that Adrian, my darling six-year old, eagerly reminded my husband and I that we hadn’t yet asked him what happened at school that day. 

Well, it wasn’t pretty. In a nutshell, he became so frustrated with himself that he couldn’t spell certain words that he decided he wouldn’t try at all. So there. 🗯

AND today was the day he recognized that his (delightful) animal drawings did not look good enough. Not like the artists who drew them in his books. In revolt, he’s just going to draw angry scribbles from now on. 

I looked at him, tears stinging my eyes and thought, “already, my love?” 💔

We have arrived at the threshold of Perfectionism.

My husband and I were shaking our heads in bewilderment at this little genius, and fumbling over what to say to make him 1) feel better and 2) rationalize his experience. 

We want him to keep going. Keep trying. Keep practicing being a creative, intelligent, ambitious person who has something to express and nurture his potential.

Perfectionism is a quality of being that stifles creativity, progress, and joy. It breeds a cycle of increasing:

🙄 Avoidance 
😖 Frustration
😡 Anger
😩 Resentment

In fact, in striving for perfection (the perfect sound, the perfect performance, the perfect program, the perfect sentence, the perfect post, etc.) leaves us, in the words of Cole Porter, totally cold.

Crap. Now yearning for the thing that we truly desire is also the root of our own suffering.

So what’s the antidote to perfectionism, that pursuit of the Impossible Standard?

I invite you to replace the fantasy of what is Just Right with Workable Right Now.(I am avoiding the word “enough” right here: you’re too wily for that. 🧐)

The ideal of Perfect promotes inertia, procrastination, stalling, and hesitation. This happens in a moment (say, the instant before you phonate) or in a season of life (say, a career change).

Perfectionism is a state of mind, not a state of being. In order to move out of its gravitational field, we must enter a mind-altered state. 

We learn to become whole-hearted. My six-year-old has to learn this the hard way, walking the path of life (fortunately with wise parents to guide and nurture him).

My friend, we have already walked life’s path. We recognize the scenery.

What ideals are you clutching to that have been holding you back from realizing your creative, intelligent, ambitious life?

See yourself through the eye of the heart. Allow a tiny crack in the protective shell of Perfectionism, and let the creative healing begin. 💗

Because your most beautiful dreams depend on it.

Love,

Allison

 

 

About Allison Mondel
Transformational Voice Coach, Singer, Teaching Artist, Director, Mentor, Speaker

I am a visionary artist, educator, and voice coach whose work stands at the intersection of vocal wellness, spiritual wisdom, and personal empowerment. With 25+ years of professional experience as a performer, teacher, and mentor, I empower others to access their innate vocal gifts through a holistic process, and ascend into their personal greatness. I have helped hundreds of students access their voice and step beyond their doubts into joyful, courageous, and purposeful self-expression. 

You may be interested in…
The unnatural nature of Resistance.
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W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I know it may not seem that way, but we are constantly in effortless motion.Every day we are spinning around the Earth's axis at about 1,000 mph.The Earth is currently hurtling around the Sun at 67,000 mph.The Sun and Solar System...

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How to define your voice.
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A solution to transcend worry.
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That time I sang for President Obama

That time I sang for President Obama

That time I sang for President Obama

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

I remember that time like it was yesterday: it was a frigidly cold January day, and I was equal parts Ready-To-Kill-It and Scared-To-Freaking-Death.

For years I had taught singing at Washington National Cathedral, occasionally singing here and there as needed. I had been asked by my boss to contribute some chant by Hildegard von Bingen (my muse) as part of the National Prayer Service, an event held the day after the Presidential Inauguration here in the U.S.

Um, of course?

So there I was, after a lifetime of waiting in anticipation, ready to begin the service, managing the Secret Service checkpoints (which made trips to the ladies room a nightmare 😭), the freezing cold conditions, the feeling that my cassock/ hairstyle/ relative height made me feel like a small, little girl, and this nagging terror that using my tuning fork to get my first pitch could possibly be construed as some kind of weapon by the Secret Service Agent to my immediate left.

At last, I finally step up to the podium to deliver my message. Unaccompanied. Tuning fork anxiety. Naked voice. Regrettable choice of hair clip. Awkward church clothing. People watching. Don’t look nervous, keep your head up. Dear GOD do not wet yourself right now because you actually could.

My inner world was utter chaos

So thank goodness, then, when I heard this inner voice, clear as day:

Just. Breathe.

I gripped the sides of my podium stand, and let a gush of air rush into my body, then felt myself surge with in-the-momentness and then, well, I let ‘er rip.

Here is what I sang:

Nunc gaudeant materna viscera Ecclesie,
quia in superna simphonia filii eius
in sinum suum collocati sunt.

(Now let the maternal heart of the Church rejoice,
for in celestial harmony her children
are gathered into her bosom.)

In hindsight, I know why this experience was so overwhelming: it was a power surge like none I had ever experienced before. It was truly a moment in which I recognized the presence and power of the divine, sacred feminine moving through me.

And the lesson is clear: you must surrender to the power of your very own voice.

Your voice is married to a source of great power and divinity. My friend, that is a Big Deal. It means that if you are not clear or sure or wise to it, you can feel completely overwhelmed and underwater.

In that moment of power, standing on a podium, for (literally) the world and the most “important” person in the world to hear, I became the channel of an incantation of a divine, healing, feminine prayer to gather us back into whole and right relationship with ourselves and the planet.

We are in the midst of an awakening to the sacred feminine, and I see this directly in the way we use our voice. Indeed, it is my ardent prayer that we, as singers, relieve ourselves of the suffering wrought upon us by subscribing the outdated paradigm of vocal technique that cultivates a perfectionistic ideal of the voice.

Let’s evolve.

More than any skill or technique I exercised on that podium was the power of the act of surrender of my own ego so that my voice could be a conduit of the prayer. This is not boastful, this is fact.

The power is the thing.

If you notice any resistance to your own voice, know what that is. There is a resistance to your very own freaking power. Say this prayer:

I release the resistance to my own power, and allow my voice to flow through me with ease and grace. I embrace the message that moves through me for my own healing, and the healing of the world.

Let us envision a way forward with our voice that is free from strife, grief, longing, and worry. Let us step into a way that is supportive, nurturing, healing, freeing, soulful, and, oh yes… POWERFUL. 🔥

Hugs,

allison

further reading

How to define your voice.
How to define your voice.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Think back to the last time you were about to start singing something. What was the first thought that came to your mind?I hope this comes out ok.Don't do it wrong.What will they think of my voice?Is there enough ________?Am I doing...

read more
A solution to transcend worry.
A solution to transcend worry.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I'm sitting in a room full of unopened packing boxes in my new home.It's been a time of rapid upheaval and change in my family's life. My back aches from lifting and my mind is cluttered (just like my new dining room).Yesterday I...

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What is your *real* voice lesson?
What is your *real* voice lesson?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Sometimes I joke that everything I have learned about life I learned from singing. But it's so true! It has been quite the journey, though. Sometimes it was pretty tricky, sticky, and ugly. But then also wildly illuminating,...

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how to really change your voice

how to really change your voice

how to really change your voice

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

How long does it take to change your voice?

We are conditioned to think of this process in terms of hours, days, weeks, months, and years. There is an element of playing the long game when we envision the process of unfolding that is our voice journey. This is absolutely unavoidable, and when embraced as a concept, can be the capstone project of life’s great journey.

But there is another kind of change that can happen instantaneously. The kind of change that we do not expect. Change that makes us sit up and say, “my voice is different. Mm, that’s wonderful.”

We all have some aspect of our voice (or laundry list of issues) that we would like to improve, remove, or transform. My question to you: how much time are you willing to co-exist with stress, potential suffering, and that existential “oh, well” that has become how you view your singing?

Hours, days, weeks, months, years?

When placed in this kind of frame, this doesn’t even make sense! Because the issues we confront in our singing practice seem timeless, don’t they? They will always be here, right?

My voice is getting older, I will never feel good about it again.

My voice is stuck, I guess that’s the way it is.

My voice is faulty, I will never be able to have control.

NO. That inner “oh, well, I guess this is the way it is” is a mask for what I view as an intense friction between you and your voice.

Friction is uncomfortable. It builds heat slowly, until one day it becomes unbearable, you cannot avoid it, and you are at your wit’s end. But somehow we humans have managed how to stay at our wit’s end for a very long time, indeed.

But you are enabled with a choice: are you willing to live with this friction for an indefinite period of time, or are you willing to change?

Are you willing to default to suffering for hours, days, weeks, months, years with this numbing “oh well,” or are you willing to release the friction in one, single second of a moment?

The preferred answer is obvious. But dear Lord, how?

Once you muster the will to change, there is nothing more that you need to do except to state your new intention:

“I no longer want to live with _______. I am ready to change how I feel about my _______.”

That’s it. But what happens then?

What happens is the sweet unfolding of your new voice timeline. A proverbial fork in the road, where the suffering is not met with more suffering in a steady downgrade, but with clarity, ah-has, inner guidance, and a knowing that you are on the Right Track.

Every choice I have made to release my limited beliefs about my voice has resulted in nothing short of a million mini-miracles unfolding before me. Importantly, when I rub up against some new, unexplored friction (which there always is!), I know how to release it because I have a template.

The inner resistance to my expansion and the healing of my voice becomes easier to manage and overcome. I recognize the patterns, and I have learned to trust the outcome.

The only friction that remains is that which you feel when your ego voice reminds you that this should be harder… you should be more uncomfortable… you can wait it out… it’s not that bad… who are you to want more, you are not that good anyway… you don’t have enough skills… just give up trying… 

You do not have to suffer on account of your voice, my friend. But you must be willing to overcome the volume of the ego voice, to relieve the burn of that invisible, sneaky, sweet-talking psychic friction, and to demand better for yourself.

And that, my friend, is how you heal. It is through the choices you make, and the intentions you state, that initiate that transformation to feeling better and to changing your voice.

I will warn you: there is no confetti, no trumpets, no unfolding scrolls of proclamation, no noisy celebrations for you. Just the profound beat of your own heart that pounds with the knowing that you made the right choice.

And then you feel different. You have changed. And your voice feels different. It has changed.

And then you say, “mm, that’s wonderful.”

Hugs,

allison

further reading

The unnatural nature of Resistance.
The unnatural nature of Resistance.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I know it may not seem that way, but we are constantly in effortless motion.Every day we are spinning around the Earth's axis at about 1,000 mph.The Earth is currently hurtling around the Sun at 67,000 mph.The Sun and Solar System...

read more
How to define your voice.
How to define your voice.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Think back to the last time you were about to start singing something. What was the first thought that came to your mind?I hope this comes out ok.Don't do it wrong.What will they think of my voice?Is there enough ________?Am I doing...

read more
A solution to transcend worry.
A solution to transcend worry.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I'm sitting in a room full of unopened packing boxes in my new home.It's been a time of rapid upheaval and change in my family's life. My back aches from lifting and my mind is cluttered (just like my new dining room).Yesterday I...

read more

healing from voice rejection

healing from voice rejection

healing from voice rejection

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

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I’ll never forget the time when this man laughed in my face when I was just about to sing.

Or looked down at his desk in disappointment after I had just started to sing.

Or spent 45 minutes telling me why I wasn’t up for the job. And then asked his personal assistant to further the argument as to what was wrong with my voice.

Or told me why my best friend was better for the role. 

Or requested that I sit out a on a 19-voice piece, of which I was the 20th participant on the gig, left to pace around the nave of a massive cathedral, emptied of its chairs, vainly fighting back the tears of shame that wanted to spill forth from my eyes like raging torrents.

Voice rejection is just about the Worst. Thing. Ever.

For me, the sting of these events is worse than the transgressions of friends and lovers. This is my voice we are talking about: the thing that matters most to me.

How about you?

It is clear that our voice is a reflection of our self. Indeed it is an amplification of our self. It makes perfect sense that the ego will take an event such as a rejection, and draft its own self-destructive tract of shame and victimhood to be replayed over and over again, until we are convinced that it’s real.

Now, let’s set the record straight: it is perfectly, utterly normal for someone to not receive a job, or land a role, or “win” an audition. This is standard practice, akin to any application process. 

But after a while, my ego could not distinguish a standard rejection, or piece of critical feedback, from a rejection of my entire self.

Why not?

Because I had been shamed while being rejected.

Which cemented my inner terror of opening my mouth in front of anyone in case they were listening, for fear that I would be thrown out of the room, or outed in some way for being a totally fake singer!

This is, as they say, not cool. I am not cool with this state of being. There must be a better way, right?

I am not able to change things now. I am not able to single-handedly dismantle the broken audition process, or the patriarchy, or insist that someone exercise some decent manners when they have something unpleasant to say. This would be great! 

But it’s not a better way. The better, wiser way is to change my perception of the events that have formed this distorted perception of myself and my voice. Am I a terrible, worthless person because someone laughed in my face? Of course not. Is that a completely inappropriate action for a person hearing an audition? Um, yes.

But we cannot miss the larger point.

I believe that the events that I have experienced – the very worst, the most cringeworthy – confirm for me that I must fiercely believe in the value of my voice. Indeed, I accept that these experiences have crucial lessons embedded in them, if only I have the capacity to recognize their alchemical potential for healing and wholeness.

Do they tell me that I should work harder? Or prepare more? Or improve my technique? Or reconsider my repertoire? Or toughen up? Or learn to be emotionally bulletproof? Or just deal with it and move on because it’s normal??

Maybe. All helpful points.

I could also choose to ditch the whole singing thing because it’s just too, too painful. Which I have considered, and I know some who have chosen this path.

But I put this to you: 

How can we turn rejection into gold?

We have to see the truth: our soul voice is longing to be free to express itself here, in the world, on planet Earth.

When we experience a rejection, our ego will desperately try to protect us, and say, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN BECAUSE IT WAS AWFUL.”

But the soul says:

“You must step into your own individuality. You must love me. You must accept me. You must confront and acknowledge your very own sacredness. You must honor your voice.”

You can tell which voice is louder. But the softer voice will make you weep with inner joy and recognition because that’s what this singing business is all about: the expression of your inner sacredness.

We are part of something much bigger and grander than one small moment in time. But those painful, unpleasant moments are the triggers for deepening our love and acceptance of our Self.

I have become a fierce warrior of loving and valuing my own voice. Believe me, it drives me crazy trying, and sometimes I am so incredibly frustrated I have to laugh in exasperation.

My voice is not perfect. It is freaking challenging. But it is lovable, because I am lovable. And because I believe in the capacity of my voice to express my inmost desires, even if it sounds like a wobbly mess.

I have no idea if I could even “win” an audition any more, because it has been so long since I’ve even tried. But my voice will find its way into the world.

Accept that your voice will find its way into the world, too. Indeed, I believe your soul longs for it.

But first, acknowledge the moments that set you off course. Own them, and be free of them.

I invite you to write them here, put them down: let them go.

I will hold your hand, and we will walk together in freedom. We will use our voices to uplift the world, to heal ourselves, and expand into our own sacredness.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

IMAGE: Photo by Sharosh Rajasekher on Unsplash

further reading

The unnatural nature of Resistance.
The unnatural nature of Resistance.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I know it may not seem that way, but we are constantly in effortless motion.Every day we are spinning around the Earth's axis at about 1,000 mph.The Earth is currently hurtling around the Sun at 67,000 mph.The Sun and Solar System...

read more
How to define your voice.
How to define your voice.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Think back to the last time you were about to start singing something. What was the first thought that came to your mind?I hope this comes out ok.Don't do it wrong.What will they think of my voice?Is there enough ________?Am I doing...

read more
A solution to transcend worry.
A solution to transcend worry.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I'm sitting in a room full of unopened packing boxes in my new home.It's been a time of rapid upheaval and change in my family's life. My back aches from lifting and my mind is cluttered (just like my new dining room).Yesterday I...

read more