Hi. I'm so glad you are still here even though I've been such a "bad blogger" lately. To be honest, I've had this snarky little voice running through my head whining, "I don't wanna blog. I don't wanna talk about my life online. I only want to ride my bike through Portland's sunshiny streets and soak up every little morsel of "home time" I have…in private"
I guess that's just been the truth for me lately. After so much traveling this year and all the hoopla around launching a book, I've really needed a little me time—time to reflect on this wild transfomational ride I've been on for the past two years. I mean really!? How much change can one girl take? Apparently a lot.
So, even though I have been a totally absent blogger (and tweeter and newsletter writer and only a minimal facebooker), I have not forgotten about you. In fact, I've been thinking quite a bit about this little blog, and I've come to realize there are some pretty big shifts I'd like to make here. For one, I'm going to spruce up the look, and hey, maybe even add some sidebars like the rest of the world. But more importantly, I'm going to take the pressure off needing my blog entries to be so….well, complete and perfect. So often, the pressure I feel to create an AMAZING blog post actually keeps me from posting at all (perhaps you've noticed), and this also keeps me from posting what's really going on.
So, I'm changing my tune. I'm going to start blogging more about my fleeting thoughts, daily encounters, challenging transitions, and the daily ins-n-outs of being a traveling painter-teacher-author who goes through the entire spectrum of emotions on a daily basis. Because let's face it, life between the cracks is so much more interesting than the glossed-over magazine version, right?
I guess it's all about feeling ready to expose myself more and allowing myself to be vulnerable…both things I preach about in my workshops, yet still need to work on in my everyday life. Go figure. But, it's undeniable to me right now that offering up deeper reflections on my ongoing process of self discovery (cuz' damn that's juicy), and less about the "awesomeness of every workshop I've ever taught" (cuz' damn that's boring!) is where my heart is residing these days. This kind of authenticity is what I'm craving in all my relationships, so here I am, "Being the change" as Ghandi would say.
OK. So here goes. Let me tell you about something that JUST happened to me a mere hour ago:
I had my very first ever VOICE LESSON. As in singing.
I realize it may come as a surprise to some of you who see me as a very confident speaker type, but the truth is I've always had major issues with my voice and speaking my truth. I've actually traced a lot of it back to past lives, but I'll save that for another post! Let me just say, I was a painfully shy kid. Like painfully. I graduated into my teenage years feeling like a total wall flower. An ugly wall flower I might add. My twenties were wrought with self doubt and insecurities, and it was only when I hit thirty that I really start shift the negative stories I had been telling myself…my WHOLE life. Again, I'll save that shift for another blog entry, but I will say it had a LOT to do with Burning Man 🙂
So, yes, the past thirty-seven years (my whole life), I have been working hard to overcome deeply patterned feelings of unworthiness, un-prettiness and un-likableness. Thank GOD it's been getting easier and easier with every year of my thirties. I have high hopes for the forties…
OK, back to singing.
Singing…is one of my biggest most real fears. I even have a hard time singing Happy Birthday in a crowd of people! It's that bad. I have felt this tension in my throat for years, like a clamp. I've literally had to bust through loads of fear just in order to talk in front of groups of people, but singing has been almost completely off limits for me. So sad, right? I LOVE music. I love listening to other people sing and I've been longing to release my voice for years. Finally last week, I bravely made an appointment with the amazing Damien Anthony, and today was the dreaded day.
I was totally nervous as our lesson approached, but Damien had an awesome way of making me feel comfortable right away…like I could do no wrong. It was so interesting to notice how so much of what he said was exactly the kind of things I say in my own painting workshops. I s'pose it's really all the same work, just with different mediums.
Damien helped me to find a sweet spot in my voice today—a place where my jaw was relaxed, the air pipe was open and the vibrations could happen effortlessly. He had me sing happy birthday. Ha! My dreaded song! After I sang, he pointed out that my voice wasn't actually the problem. It was actually my FEAR keeping my voice from coming through naturally. Yep. I suspected as much.
So, we did some chorus-like scales and I focused on keeping in the sweet spot. It was simultaneously scary and liberating, and also pretty damn fun. Near the end, Damien said sweetly, "That sounded really beautiful," and to my surprise, I burst into tears. Mind you, I'm not a big crier. I generally keep it together in a cool and collected sort of way, so my burst of emotion actually took me off guard. Damien gave me a big ol' hug as the tears flowed. Singing (finally!) had opened up a huge emotional release leaving me feeling light, raw and vulerable…but good. Really good.
During those teary moments, I could tangibly feel myself becoming more compassionate towards all my students who have had simliar emotional releases during my painting workshops. I get it now. It was like a tight closed valve was starting to unscrew, and something that I'd been keeping very locked down for so many years was beginning to flow. And, this very flow was making me more whole.
Interesting to see how that flow has now led me to this writing flow. I love how it's all so connected.
Well, I think I'll wrap up this first raw experiement. Stay tuned for more unfiltered bursts of who knows what.
Until then, keep spreading your wings.