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What Are You Doing?

In the Buddhist teaching, Upajjhatthana Sutta, there are five remembrances for contemplation. The one I reflect on the most, by far, was best paraphrased by the late Thich Nhat Hanh:

My Actions are my only true belongings. They are the ground upon which I stand.

Thich Nhat Hanh (1926-2022)

It is a good thing to keep front of mind for a quality existence. But also, the Voice is driven by our intention, values, and alignment. When our actions and our values are aligned, the body’s resources are open to us. When we have our resources lined up we enter the room with authority and integrity.

It doesn’t seem like it should be hard to accomplish but the best laid plans often don’t survive contact with the enemy1. The enemy in this case is the structure of most of our workplaces. In this context we often have to produce work following the values of others, or in pursuit of the values of an entity rather than other humans. Over time, our own values can become murky or even, immaterial. We can convince ourselves that the grind we are in, day in and out, is the point. Then we can start to wonder why we aren’t feeling more fulfilled. Or why our words aren’t heeded more. We can start to wonder whether what we do or say matters at all.

Owning your Actions

Enter the concept of really owning your actions. Understanding why you do the things you do. And, perhaps making the hard decision of leaving situations where your actions and your values cannot live in peace. Your voice is nothing more than an extension of your intention and your will. It is a glorified exhalation dependent on your values to become its most expressive and effective self.

So if you find yourself dialing it in. Moving through your days as a series of tasks and to-dos. I invite you to stop and contemplate what you are doing. Are those actions truly what you want to own?

Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in downtown Boston.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

  1. Helmuth von Moltke (1800–91) ↩︎

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