Breaking through with song
A New Year
A friend told me about the Breakthrough Experience in January. He said it was a transformational workshop where you overcome your fear of singing and 8 weeks later you go on stage and sing with a live band in a club in San Francisco
All my life I did not believe I could sing so me singing on stage could only happen after surgery to get a new voice box. But for some reason – maybe it was because it was the beginning of a New Year or my inner cynic was drunk on a few glasses of wine – I became open minded….or better said my inner child went whoopee sounds like fun – let’s do it! After all I needed a new start and what better time than January to initiate that. So the next day, before I had time to think too much about it I called and signed up for the Breakthrough Experience
Singing – yikes!
I’ve been interested in psychology, personal development and spirituality for 12 years and attended workshops up the wazoo. I’ve walked on fire in Sydney, jumped off cliffs in Jamaica, presented a national TV program and done loads of acting and public speaking. Do you think I could get up in front of our small group on the Breakthrough Experience and sing the first day without terror? No.
But the team at Breakthrough are used to people like me. They know what magic to use – a custom blend of support, love, enthusiasm, fun, acceptance, relaxation techniques, body movement, breathing exercises, intuition, encouraging me to quell my inner critic, a gentle push and before you know it I was up there singing Summertime. Funny thing was I actually enjoyed myself – for a couple of seconds at least – and I began to hear this voice that was buried for years that I didn’t even know I had. If the workshop ended there I would have felt like I had gotten my monies worth – but there was a lot more in store.
The Breakthrough Journey
The workshop was like an eight week rollercoaster – with all the thrills and spills. It actually wasn’t really about singing – rather singing is used as a tool for transformation. Breakthrough is about breaking through what’s holding you back in life, overcoming fear, releasing repressed emotions, accepting yourself, stepping into your power and opening to increased happiness and love.
If this is beginning to sound like most personal development workshops that go on in Marin every weekend – well it’s not. It’s a lot more fun and I believe that’s why it was more effective for me. You see most personal development work is about healing our inner child – a basic principal therefore is that our inner child is engaged in the transformational process otherwise deep transformation doesn’t occur. It was a big dah for me…I realized that all those sunny weekends I had sent inside at these workshops I wasn’t really engaged – my inner child was wistfully looking out the window thinking – it’s the weekend…schools supposed to be out..when does this boring lecture finish so I can get out and have some fun.
On reflection, I really believe that one of the reasons Breakthrough was so transformational is that it was soooo much fun – a lot of laughter, play, creativity and group activity – just like our inner children like it to be. Even the shyest, most repressed, fearful inner children can’t help but go along on the roller coaster ride.
The amazing thing about Singing
The next piece of the magic was the singing itself. Singing is literally like Drano Max for clogged emotions. As I got over my fear of singing- well not totally but at least I was doing it – a lot of repressed emotions came up. There was no forcing, no lectures, no formal processes to go through, no books to read – it all happened naturally and each of the nine of us went on our own journey of getting rid of our baggage.
You see in order to really sing – not just imitate – we need to connect with the song emotionally. So we need to dip into the depth of our emotional reservoir and stuff laying under the surface is stirred up – another way of putting it is that it really is our inner child that sings. So that which lay dormant for years has an opportunity to be expressed and released. Each of us went through pain, sadness, grief, anger and lo and behold came the passion, love and joy.
So after lightening our emotional baggage, quietening our inner critics and each finding a song that suited our voices we started preparing for the performance at the Last Day Saloon in San Francisco. We rehearsed our own numbers, group numbers, musical theatre and dance sets. We had so many – up to 30- helping us with music, costume, make-up, choreography, water bottles, massage, etc. – it felt like we were putting on a Broadway production. All the support people volunteered – they’ve gone through Breakthrough, know its power and want to help us newbie’s.
The day of the performance my panic started to rise. My inner child started doing a tantrum screaming – “you can’t make me do this!”. But then the band arrived and started to warm-up and the lights went on and the thrill was irresistible – of course I was going to get on stage and sing.
We did a couple of group numbers and each of the nine of us sang a song on our own – we also did dance sets fro each song. It was a blast. It actually felt like a school play for big people. Our families and friends were in the audience were giving us unconditional support, egging us on, smiling fondly when we made mistakes (like when my skirt fell down), crying when they were moved and giving the most heartfelt standing ovations I have ever experienced.
The applause was not just the numbers we performed – although I have to say that we were pretty darn good for a bunch of amateurs. The real gusto behind their applause was because our loved ones could see the personal breakthroughs each of the nine of us had made, could see our joy and could share in the celebration of our transformed selves.
Each of us felt like a rock star afterwards….so we just had to go out and party.