Arthur in Action.
Welcome to Arthur’s New Year’s Letter for 2016
Claim Your Self: A Master Plan
As I reflected on what I wanted to say in my annual New Year’s Letter, I reviewed recent letters from the past few years, and clearly saw some recurring themes some of which are: Vision; Valuing Time; Structure; Goals; Conscious Awareness… I also recognize that as I grow older, I personally deepen in the Work. Therefore, it was interesting for me to recognize these themes that have been woven throughout my narrative were not redundant for me, rather more depthful. They have evolved as I have. It also got me thinking about why I take on this task in the first place.
First of all, I am a Teacher. Teaching requires me to be my best. I cannot ask others to do what I myself do not do. I teach because I am compelled to. Whether I am teaching Communication Mastery, singing, leadership, broadcasting…I am always teaching the same Work—How To Be Who We Are.
With my birthday this month, I turn 70 and this birthday marks the 52nd anniversary of Vocal Awareness. In the 50+ years since I created Vocal Awareness, I have been privileged to teach all strata of society; all demographics/age groups. My youngest student was a toddler; my eldest, a centenarian. I have taught world-famous celebrities and athletes, and leaders of global companies; at universities; lectured around the globe; created a choral group on Skid Row in Los Angeles; and holocaust/cancer survivors and so much more.
I also realize I write these letters for their symbolic value. It is important at key times in our lives to take stock. Obviously in our calendar year, the New Year is the perfect opportunity to do so—to evaluate who we are, where we are on our Journey, what we want to do, whether we are fulfilling our goals and aspirations or where might we be coming up short, looking at whether we are afraid to embody who we are capable of being, or where and how we have been successful and how we can continue enhancing our success. In doing so, we create yet another opportunity to recalibrate, redesign, reset. Also, ‘this exercise’ confronts us with two critical elements in our lives that we are often not cognizant of or do not utilize to our full advantage. One, as I previously said in other writing, is Choice. Everything in life revolves around two things, to choose to do something or to choose not to. It never matters how daunting it may seem, all that matters is how badly we want it. Even in abdication, we have made a choice by walking away. What I encourage you to think about is does that choice empower or disempower. The other principle which I wrote about in 2011 is the importance of time…The most valuable commodity in life is time. When it is gone we never get it again. Incorporating these two ingredients into a recipe for our success is critical.
To support our own fulfillment we do not want to squander a moment. In that regard many years ago I created a matrix that I call 168 hours. It causes us to reflect on how we spend our week. It helps us to both structure time and make the most effective choices possible. In turn, we learn to better understand how to live a life of personal/professional fulfillment/balance. The Vocal Awareness axiom that supports this states… Structure does not impinge, it liberates. Freedom without direction is chaos.
How I incorporate the importance of time and choice in my own life is reflected in how I personally balance and artistically and professionally dedicate myself to both my Vision and my Mission. My Vision is to change the world through Voice. My Mission Statement is to help all those I work with to achieve their own enlightenment and enjoy their own empowerment. What is your calling? How do you fulfill it?
Another example of how I use structure to help me devise and sustain my Master Plan can be seen in how I begin each day. For me, each day begins pre-dawn. In this solitudinal space I spend a half hour to 45 minutes, and have for approximately 50 years, in prayer/ meditation/reflection. This clearly personal time is foundational. It enables me to ‘peel back the layers’ and re-emerge each day re-committed to my purpose. I quote Henry Miller in my latest book who expresses this far more eloquently than I ever could: “The man whom God loves is the onion with a million skins. To shed the first layer is painful beyond words; the next layer still less, until finally the pain becomes pleasurable, more and more pleasurable, a delight, an ecstasy. And then there is neither pleasure nor pain, but simply darkness yielding before the light. And as the darkness falls away the wound comes out of its hiding place: the wound which is man, man’s love, is bathed in light. The identity which was lost is recovered. Man walks forth from his open wound, from the grave which he had carried about with him so long.”
Continuing and quoting from my book, This…insight evokes a piquant truth…The dedicated effort and ceaseless commitment required to passionately pursue, not self-discovery, but discovery of Self is what I respectfully encourage that you commit to undertaking in 2016 and beyond.
This life we live, as I say to my students all the time, is not a ‘dress rehearsal’. The Journey is not for the faint-of-heart. It takes true courage to live life to the best of our ability on our terms. I fervently hope that this humble missive strikes a chord—and supports and encourages you to not squander time, to fulfill your Vision, to live your life as earnestly, as passionately and joyfully as possible. I am also taking the liberty of including for the first time, New Years letters from the previous five years which follow. My hope is that they will provide a better perspective and additional tools to help you build your Master Plan.
May this annual letter and the letters that follow reinvigorate, help you re-learn, and re-commit to your Self.
New Years Messages:
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