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vii. heading home

In my last post, I wrote about home: what it is like to feel far away from home, to feel connected to it, how this can fluctuate throughout our lives and how mindfulness can be a tool to finding one’s way home to oneself, to one’s art form. 

Most of us consider the place we call home to be a place where we feel the most comfortable, in our element, or familiar, whether this be in a specific place or with a certain person or when doing something we love to do.

I've had a few homes in my 30 years of life: Texas, New Mexico, Connecticut, different parts of Germany...

One of my current homes is A106. 

It’s a room at my school, I think the most magical.

Tucked back in a little corner of a hallway on the second floor, A106 feels a little bit like the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts: not yet discovered by all and containing everything one might need. 

There’s a beautiful grand piano inside with the softest keys, like butter.

A soft, framed pastel-colored painting sits, unassumingly, on top of a vintage wooden chest. 

All of the materials we use in our work are available: balls of all types, a yoga mat, a „Schwingegurt“ (that’s a "swinging belt" and you have to experience it first-hand!), blankets, and more. 

It’s adorned with windows on both sides, so when the sun shines, it fills the entire room. 

It’s just… magical! 

Spending time in A106 has become one of my daily routines. 

I start almost every day there with a little singing.

When I am free and the room is free, I nestle back inside and sit at the piano, or on top of a Pezziball, or stand inside the Schwingegurt. 

When my brain starts to fog over after staring at the piano for too long or I feel tired or overwhelmed or need a break, I roll out the yoga mat, lay down and cover myself with a thick blanket for a little while. 

A106 is a safe space, a space for exploration, creation, processing, kindness to self, and forgiveness of self.

Routines can be a way back home when we feel lost.

When I step into A106, I am making the commitment to myself and to something bigger than myself: to discovery, to art. 

In stepping into the room, I send the message to my body and my mind, no matter how they are feeling, that they are in a space they know, a space in which the main goal is to gain access.

When I began readjusting my goal with my voice to be "gaining access" instead of attaining immediate success, my relationship with singing began to change.

When my primary goal is to sound a certain way, my body often begins jumping in and tries make something specific happen, which ultimately leads to tightening up and losing freedom. 

When I want results to happen more quickly than they are able to, I often end up pushing too hard and ultimately feeling frustrated with myself and my voice. 

When I enter into practicing, however, and my goal is to open the door to myself, I cannot lose. 

My voice is the biggest truth teller I have. 

My emotional state, my energy level, my well-being, my regard toward myself: I feel them all when I open my mouth to make a sound, they tell me a story of who I am on that day. 

And perhaps the most challenging part of mindfulness is accepting whatever is there, no matter what it may be: accepting every piece of us, everything we feel, every single bit of our experience. 

When I told my voice teacher sometime last year: „Ich habe das Gefühl, meine Stimme braucht immer so viel Zeit“. (I feel like my voice needs so much time [before it begins to open up]).

She responded: „Dann gib ihr die Zeit“. (then give your voice time).

Beautiful, right? 

Art needs time. 

Making our way home to ourselves if we’ve gotten lost takes time.

Anything pure, worth it, and important takes time.

If you feel lost on your way home to yourself and/or your art, I hope these thoughts I will share with you can bring some comfort and clarity: 

  1. Routines can be grounding and healing. When we choose to do the same thing each day, no matter how difficult it may feel or how much we may have to overcome to get there, assuming it is a worthwhile thing, we send ourselves the message that we and our well-being, our happiness, and our passions are worth it. This brings us closer to ourselves.

  2. Make gaining access your primary goal while creating. If you are trying to make or actively making an income with your art form, it probably sounds like a naive fantasy to set what may seem like such an abstract goal when there are bills to pay that depend upon technical mastery. Even if this is your situation, it has been my experience that entering into the process of making art with a forgiving and open attitude toward the state of things as they are in that moment leads to a much more authentic sound, enjoyable experience, and, in the long run, quicker progress. If your primary purpose is to enter into relationship with yourself, you will be able to do so no matter how "well" the art itself turns out.

  3. Consider using visualization to set up the process. Times of disorientation usually result in a very busy, disoriented mind. Taking time to visualize arriving where we are can be helpful. I like to imagine, before I begin singing, packing away all the things preoccupying me into little boxes and putting them on a shelf for later, leaving the room and heading into my " "voice" room, for example. I close my eyes and envision what it looks like, breathe into the space, and bring it back to mind later in my practice session if my mind starts to drift elsewhere.

  4. Make feeling into the body a part of making art. Feel how the canvas feels underneath your fingers, if you are a painter. If you’re a pianist, feel again and again into every key underneath your fingertips while learning a new piece. Actively engage your awareness of your body in what you’re doing. Not only will it bring the mind back to the present, it helps us grow much closer to our art, to understand it on a much deeper level. 

  5. Accept what is right now. If you can view your art as a teacher, it makes it a lot easier to make it through the frustrating moments when things aren’t lining up the way we want them to. A tension that stands in the way of free singing, playing, drawing, dancing, whatever it may be, is a message. When we want to accomplish a certain result, these messages often feel unwanted and frustrating, but accepting them and listening to them can be a great teacher about what is going on inside of us. When we can accept our situation and learn from our art as a teacher, we gain valuable knowledge and find our way closer to our true selves, our true home.

Heading home can be a challenge. It requires lot of vulnerability, honesty, patience, and self-forgiveness. It requires seeing ourselves and our art as they are, not as how we would have them if we had a choice, but in their purest form.

The acceptance of this pure form is what ultimately leads to the ability to shift into something else, to change, improve, grow. 

When we accept, we see ourselves.

When we see ourselves, we begin to head home.

There is a lot to see on the way home, a lot to learn and enjoy and ask questions about. 

On the way home, there is honest beauty to be found. 

A106: a haven



Beautifully said Lauren

Lauren Humble
Lauren Humble

Thank you so much! I am glad it reached you. 😊

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