The power of a person’s will; control exerted to do something demanding or to restrain one’s impulses.
—Oxford English Dictionary
Happy New Year, readers!
This morning I kicked off 2023 with an hour or so of stretching and self-myofascial release. As I focused my awareness on where I was feeling tight and considered how it might feel good to move, I began to feel deeply grateful—not only for the fitness and anatomy background that enables me to care for myself in this particular way, but also for the fact that I genuinely want to. Exercise isn’t something I have to make myself do—it’s a luxury that has become a daily indulgence.
It wasn’t always like this for me. Growing up, gym class was an ongoing source of trauma, compounded by the bullying I endured for being “chubby” and uncoordinated. By my mid teens I decided I’d had enough. I started living on iceberg lettuce and cottage cheese and...
“It is not how high you get that matters—it’s how you get high.”
—W. Stephen Smith
Imagine you’re watching the Olympics on television. It’s time for pole vaulting.
You observe this amazing feat and think, wow, that’s for me! You seek out a coach who is known for training elite pole vaulters, and you schedule a session. You meet up with them at a field that is already set up for pole vaulting. The coach greets you, hands you an enormous pole, points to the distant crossbar, and says, “Okay, show me what you’ve got! Then come back here and I’ll tell you what you did wrong.”
This would never happen, of course.
But it’s really not all that different from what many singers experience in a first voice lesson with a new teacher, even as a complete beginner. You meet up with the teacher at their studio. The teacher greets you, sits down at the piano, invites you to sing a song, and then critiques...