Fulfilling Your Life’s Purpose

I recently watched a documentary about the seminal Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim. Stephen Sondheim is as important to the last 50 years of musical theatre as Rodgers and Hammerstein were to the previous 50 years. He, as they did,
changed the course  of musical theatre.  In the documentary, Mr. Sondheim made the following statement,

“The only reason to write is for love—for passion.” 

Several years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Stephen Sondheim, as one of my students was performing at a benefit honoring him. She chose to sing one of his most memorable pieces, ‘Send in the Clowns’. Stephen and I had been chatting a bit during rehearsal and in the dressing room prior to the concert. As we were leaving later that  evening, we passed each other going in opposite directions. He stopped, came back to me and said, “That is exactly how I always wanted to hear it.” 

Many years ago I had the privilege of teaching the Broadway legend, Emmy/Golden Globe winning and Academy Award nominated actress, Eileen Brennan. We met when I was vocal directing a play she was co-starring in at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Her character was to sing a song in the second act. I chose an art song by the 19th century composer Robert Schumann for her to sing. Eileen was a fine singer but I could not get her to sing this piece the way she was capable of singing it. One day in rehearsal she clearly said to me, “But the character would not sing it that way.” That one sentence taught me so much about integrity in art.                 

The historian Howard Zinn said, “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”                 

Vocal Awareness teaches Communication Mastery, but also teaches mastery through communication.  Living life as masterfully, as earnestly, as compellingly as possible. With my birthday this past week, it began my 55th year since creating this wonderful Work and as Stephen Sondheim said, the only reason I do it is, it is my passion and I do it for and with love.              

What is the point of these seemingly unrelated anecdotes? I will summarize and bring them all together.  Integrity/integration have the same root source. They mean wholeness. The root of the word intimate means intrinsic or essential, courage—heart.

The 6th of the 7 Vocal Awareness Rituals is:  Pay Attention/Deeper Listening.               

To achieve personal sovereignty (supreme excellence or an example of it), one must find their calling—their Voice. This is, in part, discovered when employing the 6th Ritual. When one recognizes their calling, a plan must be implemented to fulfill it. Of course, this includes study, practice, application, dedication, … To harness and sustain this level of life commitment can only be done through love, passion and the integrity to not only do one’s best but to always strive to be one’s best.

What I learned from Eileen so many years ago reflects integrity. Stephen Sondheim’s thoughtful exchange was the result of the courage of my Vision and the integrity of this Work to help my student interpret his masterpiece as it deserved to be sung.   

As I have said so many times in myriad ways around the globe, we are here to make a difference. Paraphrasing Howard Zinn, each of our acts, large or small, when embodied, sustained and communicated through passion, love and integrity can transform the world. I have studied/practiced/worked diligently and listened deeply for decades, to enable my love and passion for Vocal Awareness to impact the world.

 Ultimately, it is not the size of our contribution that matters.  What does matter is our desire to do so, sustained thru our love and passion.