The vocal exercise makes me feel like I’m dying. My instructor, Charlotte, exhorts me to push the last atom of oxygen out of my lungs. My lungs burn. My belly does somersaults. My brain begs for inhalation. She tells me this is the best part. It’s where I’m stretching and growing.
The voice lesson was a week and a half ago. Today I’ve been fighting with myself. Just like I did in my vocal exercises with Charlotte. The work I’m pursuing pushes me to the limits of my comfort and certainty. I wish I could say I ejected every last iota of effort from my day today. I didn’t. I fought and struggled. Then I took a nap. I aspired to do the work, but forgot discomfort and uncertainty are a privilege, are the opportunity to grow. They are the whole reason I’ve been doing the work.
Each day is like the breathing exercise. If I fail to push to my limit one day, the next I can remember the discomfort is the point. It’s the sum of my efforts over many days that lead to growth, that lead to the ability for deeper breath and clarity, and to find my discomfort and uncertainty has moved to a further edge.
I’m not going to die. There’s air all around me.
Each time I work through an exercise is an opportunity to work with my discomfort and fear. It’s an opportunity to embrace the tenderness in my fears and uncertainty, hold them closely, and carry them a little further than I previously could.