This is a parable I wrote a few years ago with a student, Krysta Tabuchi. I'm using it here to illustrate the journey of Vocal Power.
Long ago, a wood carver named Matsugoro found himself gazing at The Tall One. Standing proud and almighty, this tree cast the longest shadow in the village. Because of its indomitable presence throughout hundreds of years, it became the hub of this village. With a sigh, he stared at it everyday while carting his wares to sell on the streets.
As a child, Matsugoro used to climb every tree that he set his eyes on--all but The Tall One. He felt free and fearless. He was so daring that he was called the "Monkey Boy." He didn't just think about doing things; he did them. When he reached the top of each tree, he yelled in a clear and loud voice allowing his spirit to soar.
Years passed. Adulthood took over and Matsugoro soon found that being so uninhibited was frowned upon by his fellow villagers. Family life and hard work were the expected routine. His own work absorbed most of his time and away he toiled. He turned serious and quiet. His dreams faded and he no longer felt like the Monkey Boy.
But every morning it never failed; The Tall One spoke to him with its silent defiance. He never voiced his dream of climbing it, for he never really said anything at all. Keeping to his usual way, he turned into a man of steady but boring virtue. But deep inside, the voice of the Monkey Boy was gently resonating.
One summer day, he awoke feeling the weight of discontentment sitting heavily on his chest. He knew then that it was time to challenge The Tall One.
The first branch was easy to reach. The second and third seemed more spread apart. His body stretched and his hands strained with each grasp. His muscles shook and burned from exhaustion. Nevertheless, he kept looking up while imagining the almost forgotten taste of victory.
The sun grew hotter and hotter, whipping his back with its scorching rays. But still he kept going. The climb chipped away many minutes. Minutes turned into hours. Finally, when it seemed like his arms were going to break like the frailest of twigs, he looked up once more. He saw that he was almost there.
Matsugoro listened closely to his inner voice. He had to visualize that he had the ability within and remember himself as a child. Just as The Tall One once seemed so indomitable to him, he now felt like the one who was unconquerable.
He allowed a breath. It was such a deep, loving breath and let go of all fear and finally heard the voice.
With his last bit of energy, Matsugoro lifted himself and finally caught sight of the very top branch. He let himself rest awhile. With limbs quivering and sweat dripping, he saw his village. What a sight. Suddenly, everything looked so small. Then the voice of the Monkey Boy traveled from his belly up and he yelled from the top of his lungs: "Thank you." He surrendered to his spirit, returning to the Monkey Boy. The booming, clear voice sounded almost foreign to him, for he hadn't heard it for so long.
He felt aware. A new vision was emerging. His body felt so alive for the first time in years. He was frightened at first, but he realized that he enjoyed this awareness. It really wasn't about this one conquest. There were surely more challenges that awaited Matsugoro. But through this journey, he saw a vista of other possibilities.
The breath that Matsugoro allowed is the key. With that one breath, he lets himself live the moment. The strong Voice is Matsugoro; Matsugoro is the Voice.
Matsugoro's newfound voice reflects who he truly is and not how his culture viewed him.
Matsugoro became empowered through his vision and energized by his step-by-step climb, thus building confidence, self-esteem, and mastery.
Matsugoro makes a choice. The goal is to live life on his terms.
Just as Matsugoro's life journey is defined by The Tall One, so is ours.
The character -- Matsugoro -- discovers that to claim his power requires courage, dedication and trust. Essentially, transformation requires "the humility to see things as they are and the audacity to believe [we] can make them different."
Vocal Awareness is a Being work, but we have to do, to Be.
As you have read, Matsugoro overcomes his fear and believes in him Self.
Claim your Voice -- Claim your Power.
Be your possibility.
by Arthur Samuel Joseph
America's Speech Coach