When I was working as a voice coach and mentor, I observed something that almost every single student of mine was struggling with.
It had nothing to do with their singing voice. But it troubled me. To distraction. (Because I had the same bloody problem. 😩 )
Despite having the tools to refine our instrument, uplevel our craft, enhance our performance, bolster our confidence, heal our heart, and open our mind, there was still a proverbial elephant in the room.
That heavy, unspoken question was:
But where does my voice really belong?
I believe this is the real reason we struggle as creative people. We are guided by our high integrity, and not only genuinely want to share our ideas, our gifts, and our delight with others, but also serve the world in a meaningful way.
We are tangled up in a web of big, unanswerable questions, such as…
Where is the place I can go to be accepted, received, and appreciated?
Why is it that I never seem to fit in?
What is the mystifying outlet of my (sometimes out there) creative ideas and tastes?
What the heck do I DO with these unnamed desires for myself?
Will I ever truly experience creative fulfillment in my current stage?
Will I ever stop feeling like I am settling? Or waiting? Or failing?
Is this all there is for me?
This is not about your singing voice. This is about your Creative Self, that vehicle of your inner sacred daemon, which is, by its nature, a wild creature of bounteous evolutionary potential.
So why do we have this friction? Why do we feel so lost and confused?
Because we get 100% stuck on a restricting, real-world scenario: that we are bound by social rules which state that:
1) You have to conform to what options are already available.
2) You must compete to win.
That is, your chance to be truly happy, successful, or belong in your creative arena is determined by how far your talent, skill, swagger, and influence can carry you in the marketplace.
And if you cannot compete against all of these other people, and cannot conform to fit into the limited options available to you, then how will you ever find your way, and know your place?
The current cultural Rules imply:
That unless you win your audition, you are not good enough.
That unless you become a Perfect Whatever, you will never be truly successful.
That unless you have a prominent stage, your voice will not be heard.
That unless you are splattered all over the internet, your ideas will never matter.
That unless you make some real money, you are not legit.
(These Rules are more cringeworthy than the eighth season of Frasier.)
They are demoralizing.
They are antiquated.
They are self-limiting.
They breed mental and psychological issues.
They promote the shadow aspects of our collective.
I think they are dead wrong. And that we need an eco-friendly alternative.
These paradigms cut us down, and trap us into a kind of numb close-mindedness, squelching our infinite creative potential into major disappointment. The kind that echoes that most eternal of phrase of existential deflation:
Oh well. I guess that’s not for me.
That’s what I did. Until I was exhausted from suffering, struggling, and longing. And angry over the disappointment that Something Better clearly wasn’t happening while I was subject to playing by these rules which I learned in school and on the battlefield.
So, I started asking some bigger questions. Like…
Why was I waiting for someone else to tell me that my voice and cool ideas are worthy?
Why was someone else in charge of my creative fulfillment?
Why was someone else the arbiter of my happiness?
Then I dared to ask a Really Big Question. I finally looked square at that elephant in the room, and I asked:
How can we each follow our unique pathway of the heart, always know our place, and be prosperous?
No matter who we are, what we sound like, what we look like, how old we are, how smart we are, how fancy our degree or background, or what we like to do. Each person just being exactly themselves.
I wanted to know—for both myself, and for every other person struggling with these questions—how we can define the aligned outlet of our unique creative genius, and feel great about it. No, wait, I mean, feel alive in every way about it.
And here’s what I learned.
I learned that our creative outlets do not dictate our fulfillment.
But rather, our inner fulfillment will inform our creative outlets.
Meaning, do not expect the World to supply your happiness and satisfaction. But let your desires and uniqueness guide you to where you belong.
I believe wholeheartedly that there is room in the world for you to share your voice. That there is space for you to be who you are. And that every voice matters, including yours.
That if you are willing to be bolder, and craftier, and more than a little rebellious, you can define your own rules for happiness and fulfillment in your life, creative or otherwise.
And that you can create the outlet meant for your own, brilliant, audacious design. Because that is the way of the creative rebel. And that is the way, my friend, that we make progress on our biggest dreams, especially if the world does not offer you belonging.
It may take a leap, but what brings you a deep, sacred satisfaction in your life, art, and work can only be created by you. No one else can grant that to you.
It definitely takes a leap out of our conditioning to envision that this is possible. But of course it is.
That is meant to be good news. Because it means you can be unfettered and released from unconsciously obeying lousy rules that make you feel crappy.
The Divine has so much more in store for all of us. You, too. But we have to meet Her halfway. We have to wake up, and be willing to receive something better for our life, our vocation, and our precious work in the world.
And then, when we are empowered to step into an expanded role for ourselves as creators, we can walk the pathway of the heart, and create something utterly new in our lives, and the lives of others.
This pathway is designed for your own, personal unfolding and expansion. I believe that honoring your inner divinity is what leads us to our fulfillment, as well as our creative destiny and mutual prosperity.
Question any narrative that makes you feel small, lost, or left behind. Trust that there is a place for you.
But you must begin by making one for yourself.