Wow! “Part I” of Clairsentience as a Teaching Tool sparked more interest than I expected, and I am grateful to colleagues who wrote to me privately as well as those on the Somatic Voicework tm: The Lovetri Method Teachers’ forum for lively discussion.
One thing that I need to clarify is that everyone is born with intuitive gifts, but skillful use of them depends upon how open one is to using them and whether or not one has been able to receive mentoring in their development. Empaths and Clairsentience, both in the spectrum of intuitive gifts, are two different things.
Let me state right up front that I think life-long learning in Voice Science, Functional Listening, and other quantitative tools are two cornerstones in becoming a master teacher of singing, (although perhaps these are also Western preoccupations,) but–
–being LEFT-BRAINED and LOGICAL are just two parts of being scientific. “Scientific” has come to mean facts based on quantitative research, but every time science learns more, the view of the facts is shifted to include new information. Sometimes science actually makes an about-face to completely refute itself when more information is uncovered. Science shares the following qualities with Intuition: 1) Openness to possibilities and trial and error to find out what works and what doesn’t. 2) Mindfulness, curiosity and wonder which are essential to observation. 3) The use of journals and notes to keep track of outcomes, questions and possible connections.
(part of “command central” in my music studio/study)
If you suspect you are an Empath and/or Clairsentient, there are certain skills you need to develop first for yourself if you are to work with others without sacrificing your mental, emotional and physical health over time. If you are not naturally a “grounded” person, the first essential skills are becoming grounded through vitalizing nutrition, exercise and practices such as yoga, meditation and/or prayer. Also, your body may be much more sensitive to noise or toxins in your environment than that of the average person, so take yourself seriously in this regard.
The problem with this way of being in the world is that empaths act like “psychic sponges,” often unskillfully merging with others’ energy fields. Others leave feeling really good, and the empath is exhausted. Empaths are naturally hard-wired to be healers, but an unskilled healer, especially over time, is of no help to anyone, including themselves!
The thing is, if this is what an empath is accustomed to feeling, he/she doesn’t know any better, so they keep gravitating to people and situations where this cycle can be perpetuated because it is familiar. Where things get REALLY dysfunctional is when feeling this used and depleted is interpretated as being loved or loving.
My own voice teachers who recognized this sensitivity in me tried to help by telling me to toughen up, not leak my energy out, stop being so smart, surround myself with protective egg shapes and light, and a whole host of well-meaning but ultimately unuseful ways to manage myself. At the same time, other musicians, audiences and newspaper reviews from the 1980’s—through the early 2000’s, praised my musicianship, emotional depth and vocal suppleness. Was it possible that the outer successes were because of the way I was made, not in spite of it? Yes, of course…
…but the bottom line is that I always felt split and anxious..always, like I was carrying heavy secrets or hidden illnesses and neurosis that dared not be exposed.
And maybe I was. Everyone else’s and my own. If you are not an Empath, understanding what this feels like is impossible from your frame of reference. Of course you can be understanding of other’s pain, but you will not end up carrying it in your own body like it is your own pain.
OK. So let’s say you are an Empath and/or Clairsentient and have spent the time and effort to learn to become grounded and have even managed to attract people into your life to help you with this task. (My husband of 36 years is as left-brained as they come, still with an acute artistic sense) You also understand that Empath/Clairsentients support others completely with their conscious awareness by massively stretching over to another person and merging with them energetically.
But, really, all that is required to be with someone is to be physically present, listen and show a sympathetic attitude.
*Only unskilled Empath/Clairsentient Teachers are wacky enough to routinely interpret ‘being there for someone’ like this:
1) Unconsciously I will merge with this person’s energy field 30 super-quick times in 10 minutes, lifting energy from her field and depositing it into mine.
2) I will give as much energy to this person as possible…until she tells me she is satisfied.* Which may be never.
3) I will do all this plus show her how to technically develop her singing to freely express through music, teach music history and theory, style and technique, play the keyboard while sight-reading multiple scores, advise her on contracts and auditions and deportment, teach at least three other languages phonetically plus English diction, etc., etc., and if you are a high school student who wants to major in music or theater, I will hold your hand and your parents’ hands through the totally messed up and crazy college search and audition calamity.
4) I will charge her the equivalent rate of a psychiatrist and lawyer and college search coach combined.
5) If only, on number 4.
*paraphrased from Rose Rosetree’s book “Become the Most Important Person in the Room.”
By routinely “taking on another person’s stuff,” an empath naturally will make others feel better and they are left feeling drained and possibly sick. A voice teacher who is an empath may find themselves illustrating singing with student tensions and misunderstandings and then find it hard to reconnect to their own voice. Richard Miller, the great teaching guru who passed away in 2009, said “never, ever sing out of posture,” meaning, never illustrate with anything other than your best singing.
The National Association of Teachers of Singing used to have a list of top ten jobs to destroy your singing voice, and teaching singing was at the top of the list.
In training my gift of Clairsentience, I have received the most help through trial and error, the mentorship of Dr. Roberta Sachs and studying the Somatic Nervous System and alternative health. Becoming a skilled practitioner of “Somatic Voicework tm” The Lovetri Method” has been crucial to integrating my scientific and intuitive self and learning to listen functionally. The atmosphere of collegial learning is one I searched for with colleagues when I founded the Washington Vocal Consortium in 1987-2012. At that time, there were virtually no places for safe learning and experimentation as a singer and teacher of singing. (The National Association of Singing sometimes carries within it an atmosphere of judgement and right and wrong learning, although it is much better than it was a generation ago.)
Empathic gifts, Part III of Clairsentience as a Teaching Tool, coming right up this week, will discuss some practical ways to strengthen your own consciousness and free yourself of continually merging with others while you are teaching privately or for groups. You will still support that individual or class or rehearsal with 10 times the awareness of most other teachers, but will not deplete your own energy field in giving to others.