Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is Priority?

Sunday musings as I wait for the coffee to perk...

Often we can go into a downward spiral of overwhelming crisis when the priorities get confused and it seems there is too much to do.

This can happen in life as I have experienced many times and again now as I learn patience to heal.

This can also happen in our quest for artistry and a career.

Ironically it is the mental and emotional spiral that pulls us off our game. If you are strong enough to follow the spiral you are strong enough to stop it and sit down and reevaluate where you are and what you are doing.

Priorities change every day. We have many of them. Write them down. Let us look at this from an artistic and career perspective. Don't be afraid to make lists! What is priority with the building of your instrument? What is priority with feeding your artistry? What is priority for building your career? These lists might be lengthy or short- it doesn't matter! it is yours!

There are only 24 hours in a day. Surprise!! Remember you cannot get it all done in a day. Each day one of those priorities simply takes the top spot. YOU decide. If the instrument needs repair, I might suggest that is going to be an ongoing priority but you will figure that out! An instrument that still needs careful building or reworking will not be out auditioning right away! The artistic side of you might be a priority to be fed in other ways while the priority of building the voice is being done.

Simplify. What do you NEED to do each day? What is extra? If the priorities make you anxious, exhausted or confused, then you simply have too much for that day. If the priorities make you determined and focused and strong then you have just enough to fill that day!

There are no rules. There is simply the rule of you: what do you need today and how do you claim it?

One step at a time. Focus on each step. And when you get tired you sit down!

Didn't get through the list today? Guess what? There will be tomorrow. Priorities are like that. They can have some fluidity. Let the fluid ones stay that way. Let the set ones have your focus. You will see then that your focus doesn't split and cause anxiety.

Each day needs a little joy. Find out what that is for you! Embrace it. That has to be part of the priority too.

Ultimately the artistry and the building of a career has a chance to grow if we simply make time for ourselves. Those few moments to breathe and center and calm wherever and however that makes sense to you.

YOU are priority. The rest is fluid. The lists will shift and change day to day. This will give you permission to be where you are and explore the space you actually have around you rather than feel like you are suffocating.

Physician heal thyself! I am learning too!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Where's Your Baggage, What's Your Rush?

Friday musings as I settle in for a healing afternoon.

This accident and thus the healing process and time and halt it has put on life has really offered me time to think, to query, to contemplate. Ironically not about why me, why the accident, but Focusing on wellness and where the journey will lead me in the process. Scary? Absolutely!! Fascinating? You bet.

It got me thinking about the building of the singer's career: the good advice, the bad advice, the good teaching, the bad teaching, the hiding from self, the awareness of self, the truth about an artist's journey and the faux fairy tale about what makes an artist. All heavies. Some in responsibility, some in baggage.

What have you survived? What are you surviving? I ask these questions because I am the queen of survival mode! Sometimes you need that, but when do you let it go? When is it safe to drop the baggage at the door and know you are ready to enter on your terms to be who you say you are?

What is the rush? I know many of you are jumping to answer me, and those of you who have travelled the path are laughing. Rush? What is that?

Turns out perhaps the baggage you carry is causing you to rush when you don't need it.

If you are pursuing singing, there can be no rush!! I don't care if the young artist programs have stupid age restrictions or the competitions are fixed, or you think if you aren't on broadway at 21 you are over. May I suggest with all kindness, that this is part of your baggage and it is making you rush whether you are ready or not.

Artistry takes life experience. Experience has to be lived. What you might be able to achieve at 21 may be great for 21 - but it won't be what you find at 31 or 41.

Technical behavior and prowess takes physical maturity and time to develop. If you are so in a hurry to get somewhere before you are ready what will you do when you get there and are asked to do something you simply cannot?

Artistic Directors, Casting Directors and others want to see and be in the presence of someone real. They don't want to see your baggage, your anxiety, your woulda coulda shoulda, your excuses for rushing in the room. You should be in the room because you are ready and YOU have chosen the time. You must know when your time comes. If you carry the baggage and won't set it down and walk away, if you rush your development and care little for your longevity, nobody can care that you are there. You will be dismissed and you will add that dismissal to the already ridiculously heavy baggage you rush around with.

I am always amazed at how much coaxing it takes to slowing a singer down in order to BE in the body and be in the moment. I used to operate like that myself so I see it immediately!

We all have baggage. I don't care what it is. Where is it? Where will it do you the most good? A storage locker with deadbolts comes to mind! But rather than over-analyze what the baggage is, acknowledging it and just setting it down can give you the permission to slow down and take a look around you and see clearly.

Your artistic centre develops in time and experience uniquely to your clock of living.

Your technical prowess develops in the physicality you claim or not.

This is about you, this is not about your baggage. You are so much freer without that baggage! Find ways of setting it down. Give yourself permission to take your own road, at your own speed and make no excuses for it. If you find it becomes too crowded, it isn't your road, your path or your journey anymore. Your path needs to be yours and yours alone.

You will make a place for yourself or a place will be made for you. If you carry that baggage and rush, you will simply miss it. By the time you figure it out, if you do, it will have passed you by.

Set that baggage down. Be where you are, no excuses, and breathe there. The place of being begins with the breath. You WILL find your place if you are willing to see it through your work, not through your excuse or panic.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Patience from all sides

Some Saturday evening musings...

My days are sort of blurred together punctuated by doctors' appointments and PT and a little more surgery...

This summer and perhaps for the rest of my life patience is something I will learn and relearn and mediate to learn and allow some more.

The doctors say I am healing well. I want to wake up ready to go and get back into the studio!

I think my students are wishing the same thing!! I have NOT abandoned you honestly I haven't!

So as I am learning to regain my body and my healing, what can I suggest to you the singer when your teacher is not there for awhile? For any reason?

Summertime often takes teachers to programs away from their regular studio, or they take the summer off, or any other possible thing.

What do you do?

This is when you truly begin to discover the team around you and it starts with you. You are your teacher. What have you learned? What are you learning? Are you recording your sessions regularly enough to know what you are aiming for?

Where are your coaches? Singers you need these! You need your musical coaches, your stylistic coaches, your language coaches, your character coaches, your performance coaches, your audition coaches! Some coaches combine some of these facets but even still a summer of coaching to see how your instrument is able to be a true foundation for all of the artistry and truth to be embodied can be a liberating and also a humbling experience.

Are you taking classes? Are you honing skills in different disciples? Are you studying acting? Dance? Movement? If you have been told you are awkward on stage are you seeking out classes and coaches to work with you to overcome that? Are you taking performance classes and audition workshops and building character for a song or for a role?

You see, you don't need to wait for your teacher and get impatient! There is so much to do! By the time the teacher returns, you will be in another place artistically and have built more maturity in your craft that the work you do on your instrument will have another level of authenticity and sense of coming home.

Begin to get honest about what your instrument can do and seek out the coaching and classes that will allow it to show positively right now. Do not try to do what you cannot yet. Be real with what is real. The next stage will happen when you are patient, willing and open to receive it.

That last sentence is my mantra tonight and for the next few weeks.

Patience. The next frontier.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Where Angels Fear to Tread

I have always believed in angels but after a near fatal car accident on June 20th not only do I believe but I believe they have no fear!

My husband and I survived a horrific crash hit from behind by an 18 wheeler and thrown into and under another semi. The photos of what was left of the car are chilling. Thomas was released after a night in the trauma unit. Nothing broken.

I was in trauma unit for a week and am currently in an acute rehab hospital. I have multiple breaks, and have had several surgeries. But I am alive and will heal in time. Rehab will need patience and focus and time. As I only have the use of a couple of fingers on my left hand (and of course am right handed) I won't be blogging with the regularity.

I breathe and know I am alive and not done yet! There is more to do once the body is able.

Patience. One moment at a time.

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, prayer, thoughts, vibes, and support and cannot tell you how much YOUR spirits mean to me.

Just know if I disappear from the blog for a minute, I am not too far away and will return. I have more to learn and more to share!

Believe in you. You matter. And you dear readers truly matter to me.