Performing opera is a way of life that involves dedication, technical brilliance, musical prowess, artistic integrity, stage presence, linguistic study and ability, knowledge of musical form and history, money, fashion sense, marketing and social media prowess, personal likability, body alignment, emotional vulnerability, openness under pressure, a village of support—does that sound like too much? From personal experience, I would suggest the list is the tip of the iceberg😊. Singing opera is a life commitment for most artists, a journey that evolves through creating and birthing music.
The practice of reiki—training in it, living it, practicing it, training others in it, allowing it to transform one’s life—is another way of life that supports and nourishes anyone, in my case the path of classical music. This blog is dedicated to the interweaving of the two, how reiki has helped me be a better singer and how singing has helped me practice reiki in a more embodied manner. I will also include parts of my personal transformation from a world-traveled missionary kid to a European opera singer and reiki master.
My name is Jillian Finnamore. I was born in Papua New Guinea and lived there for my first eight years. After a couple of years in the US (further training for my parents), we moved to West Africa, first Liberia and then Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast in English). The African years are the ones I most embody in my soul. Upon high school graduation, I moved to the southeastern US, living there fully for the first time (instead of visiting like before). The term for someone who grows up somewhere outside their passport country is third culture kid (TCK). Being a TCK comes with its own cultural perspective and world view. More on that later. Finally, after wishing to live in Europe since university, I moved to Berlin, Germany, last fall.
Professionally, I am an opera singer with much stage, artistic, and technical experience. I come alive onstage. One could say I’m a stage animal. I love being in front of people and feel most like myself in that context. Every cell in my body electrifies onstage, a thrill down to my little toes.
I am also a reiki master, a healer, visionary, and master of energies. For years, I trained and worked separately on each path, allowing the uniqueness of each approach to percolate within me. Singing opera and practicing reiki are different worlds—each involve a world view, group of people, and way of life. I am fully both. I am dedicated to artistic excellence and devoted to technical mastery like every opera singer I know. And I am devoted to energetic integrity and trust in reiki like the other reiki masters I know.
As time goes by, I observe these different paths becoming one within me. I am one person, so it makes sense that different parts of me unite into a complete whole. There have been times in my past that I wished I could give one up. It has been a lot of work to be both, often exhausting and perpetually feeling misunderstood. But through transformation, I know that the point is not being understood or being the same—it’s about living my unique perspective, a deep understanding of how to embody and utilize the energies of the universe in the here and now. I believe we all have unique perspectives to share. I enjoy speaking with others and learning about their world views. The diversity around us is amazing!
Why have I developed as an opera singer and reiki master? Truly, I have no idea. It must have been meant to be. I wished for a long time that my path could have been easier or more normal, whatever that is. But apparently I wanted another journey in this lifetime. One thing I’ve learned is that we all have individual paths we’re supposed to be on, and while the advice of others may help or inform which direction to take, listening to our deep inner voices for guidance is generally more trustworthy. Learning to hear the inner voice … well, that’s a process :).
Following your path is like cutting a trail out of the jungle. I lived in the literal jungle when I was young, in Liberia, West Africa. Jungles are full of dense vegetation from the ground up—they’re different than forests, for example. In order to cut a trail out of the jungle, the men used machetes (also called cutlasses) to clear a space through the dense vegetation. It was grueling physical labor. But once it was finished, everyone in the community could use that path. Of course it also had to be cared for and kept clear. It’s nice to have that visual in my mind. I can see clearly how each of us trail our own unique paths. And when others come behind, it’s easier for them to walk the trail.
Now I embrace the voice I have. It makes perfect sense to me that singing opera and practicing reiki go hand in hand. The combination of those realities is logical and natural in my mind. The more I integrate these realities within me, the more speaking to them naturally arises. I look forward to sharing some of my story and supporting you by bringing words to these concepts.
Perhaps living between cultures has helped me develop a world view with flexibility of thought and awareness. I hope so! It has been a long journey, filled with great joy and searing pain. I have been judged, shamed, and told I was going to hell. It has required enormous courage to experience the underworld of shame, loss, and both religious and cultural displacement and yet still trailblaze a new path through the jungle of life. There have also been creative fulfillment, enormous joy, and familial reconciliation. My hope is that telling some of my story and the things I’ve learned will be of service to you.
I hope you enjoy this exploration into the worlds of energy, singing, and world views. I hope it supports and enlightens you on your own personal journeys and that you feel inspired to live your own unique pathways.