What do you do when three days before teaching a voice workshop you lose your own voice?
The options are simple.
You either cancel it or you remain calm and keep your hopes high.
Right after teaching a wonderful workshop in University Campus in Oldham, UK, I caught a very intense cold after being exposed to strong wind and humidity.
Right after the end of the workshop, going back to Stainland, where I was hosted, I started to have a very sore throat that made my talking ability gradually harder and harder. By the time I was back home there were certain sounds that I could hardly produce. Taking all the necessary measures such as hot drinks with lots of honey and no speaking at all I hoped that my voice would recover by the next day, when I was flying back to Greece.
On the contrary, by next morning I could hardly speak. My beloved voice teacher drove me to the Huddersfield train station so as to catch the train to Manchester airport and quite worried she asked me to take care of my voice the best I could. By the time I was in the Athens airport I was ordering my coffee and sandwich using sign language.
It was extremely interesting to see the expression of people’s face when I was trying to create sounds that were getting out of my mouth almost unvoiced. I think that they thought I was either mute or had a mental disability. I noticed that the vowels were the ones not to be voiced and the consonants were the ones easier to be voiced. So I was trying to form my speech in such a way that I was using more consonants. I began to consider the possibility of communicating with the less speech and more body. As if to convey your intention not verbally but physically or energetically.
During this whole process I couldn’t help thinking of my upcoming workshop In Thessaloniki on ‘Voice is the Body’ where the tool for teaching is mainly voice. Such an irony, but I have encountered many ironies in my life, so it did not take me by surprise.
The workshop was in 2 days and I was in the train to Thessaloniki, avoiding any talking and keeping myself as warm as possible.
So, I had 2 choices. Either to inform my students –that were very eager to participate and quite big in number- that the workshop is postponed for health reasons.
Or, to go back to my book ‘The Power of Now’ and not anticipate of what my situation in the near future may be. I concentrated on what I have in this moment and not what I don’t have. I focused on what I can do for myself so as to feel more comfortable, how I can take care of my voice ‘now’ and not worrying whether I will be able to teach after 2 days.
Each day until the date of the workshop seemed to have expanded. To have contained a soothing effect in my physical condition through my mental observation and discipline. To have taken a stretch in the amount of things, changes, improvements it can offer. I followed a very careful routine of remedies and voice care instructions. Moment by moment I was noticing how the condition of my voice was, keeping my mind with my voice with the most positive attitude.
Finally, the morning of the day of the workshop I was feeling generally healthier, I could speak but I had to sustain a relaxed tone and not putting any tensing effort.
I started my workshop day 1 by speaking about faith. About calmness. About non anticipation, worry and panic. About keeping the best possibilities open and remaining positive.
It was a very good workshop, with a lot of psychophysical opening up. With a lot of important body and voice discoveries.
With some unforgettable moments of connecting with the self’s desires through your own voice and connection with the voices and desires of the others. It was pure pleasure and it was double pleasure for me, being there with these people and delivering what I had promised to offer them.
If we can talk of miracles, this was a miracle for me.