Last week my wife and I watched a 2012 action film on television called “Act of Valor”. On the face of it, it was a typical Hollywood film with a military/terrorist theme. There were two exceptional aspects to the film. First, except for a few credited actors, it starred unnamed Navy Seals in most of the principal roles as well as crewmen from the Special Warfare Combatant Unit. And two, portions of a poem were narratively woven throughout the movie and finally credited at the end as being the words of the 18th/19th century Shawnee Chief Tecumseh.
As the creator of Vocal Awareness over five decades ago, I have long been on a path of Mastery. It has been fascinating for me to occasionally step out and ‘observe’ the evolution of my Journey, both intra-personally and on the global stage.
The true opportunity on our Journey, as I have taught for years, is always and only inward toward Discovery of the Deeper Self. The more aware and attuned we become intra-personally, the richer our lives become interpersonally. The more we discover who we are and define our purpose, the greater our impact.
However, I was discussing with a colleague today that on the traditional paths of Self Discovery and personal empowerment, there are fundamental elements that are left out of all teaching, thus, out of the basic understanding of what it truly takes to pursue a path of enlightenment and self fulfillment. It is as though, in our contemporary society, Mastery is often approached from the ‘fast food model’. It fills us up but the nutritional value is empty.
When I read Chief Tecumseh’s noble words, I read the words of a man who lived his purpose. Yes, he was a warrior, but more importantly, he was a visionary leader with a profound moral compass so that when he says, “abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision…”, he speaks empirically from his own knowing. At another moment he says, “Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.” Tecumseh identifies one of the key tenets of my Work, ‘to surrender’—to yield or to give back—to be in service.
Re-reading a number of times and reflecting on Tecumseh’s poem, I was also reminded of a poem I discovered in the 1960s that was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann called “Desiderata”. Again the majesty of the words convey a simple/profound truth. The poem concludes with, “Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.” In Vocal Awareness, the 7th Ritual is ‘Be my Self’. I also add to this, to be oneself, strive to also be not only happy but in joy and enjoy the company you keep.
Mastery requires mastering the subtleties of who we are. Tune in. Dial out the ‘white noise’ of daily distractions and unconscious habits and require more of your Self.
Begin this exquisite opportunity by tuning into your breath. For one minute in every hour of your waking day, strive to engage a slow, silent, conscious, loving breath. In one minute in one conversation every day, tune in, listen, see and hear everything you say—this in Vocal Awareness is called Visceral Language.
Commit to doing these two rituals for one week and recognize how they enliven your life. They are seminal to Your Discovery of what true Personal Mastery can be. It all begins with breath. It all begins with Empowerment Through Voice.
How to practice:
As you read the poems in their entirety included here, please do so attempting to employ a couple of Vocal Awareness Mastery principles.
First, Sit in Stature. This is not merely sitting up straight, rather it requires we claim an aspirational aspect of our Self. Listen deeply in this moment and notice the body instinctively inhales.
Second, tune in to the 2nd Principle, to Allow a Slow, Silent, Conscious Loving Breath. Slow the experience down allowing room for these three- to four-second breaths as you read.
The 3rd and final technique to employ as you read aloud is To Take Time to Viscerally See the Words Come Alive and feel their emotional/energetic impact. This element is connected to the 6 of 7 Rituals in Vocal Awareness—Pay Attention/Deeper Listening. Always strive to pay attention on the outside; ‘listen deeply on the inside’.