Spirituality

HOW SINGING CAN HELP YOU BE BRAVE

Oh G'day!

Oh G'day!

I told my Fearless Singer posse last week that I would be making this blog post about being courageous and how singing can help us tap into that powerful emotional state of being.

Here it is!  I wanted to post it before my Courageous Masterclass that I held at the Happiness Hub in Brisbane last Saturday. But I’m glad I left it to divine timing because I have a lot more to say on the matter.

Last week, I filmed a little video of me riffing on the subject on what it means to be brave. I had started writing this post and then it occurred to me to put my money where my mouth is and do something that I find confronting.

I’ve never expressed this before, but I find that filming myself speaking is one of the most painful experiences for me, akin to watching Donald Trump’s hair blow in the breeze. Yes, it’s that eye-gouging with hot rods kind of painful.

Why? I’m a recovering perfectionist. Every little stutter or clumsy way of saying something, irks me to tears. Those videos I put out last year took me AGES to do! I would stop and start, throw myself on the floor in a fit before editing the dear life out of them. That’s why there a lot of unnatural pauses and weird facial morphing going on. *On a side note – I’m moving these videos from Vimeo to YouTube.

But I’m learning to love the fact that while I can be an incredible communicator that I’m also a little awkward and clumsy with my speech at times. I’m choosing to accept that this where I am at this point of time.

Also, my intention is always to serve. And if I keep aligning myself with this every time I speak, write, sing – it’s always going to be enough. Because…

Powerful Affirmation Time

I AM ENOUGH! Get this affirmation into ya, will ya! It’s super redic powerful.

It reminds you that wherever you are at this point of time in your life, whatever your skill set is: YOU ARE ENOUGH.

And mate – while you are not fixating on all the supposed shit things about yourself and your abilities, you are in a much better place to learn and improve upon your craft.

So how do we ingrain this belief into our being?

Try singing it! Seriously! I will play a riff on the piano or guitar and will sing ‘I am enough’ over and over again. You can also turn the affirmation into a beautiful art work and put it in a prominent place in your house so that you keep reminding yourself every time you look at it.  

Anytime a nasty thought comes up about yourself, others or the world – obliterate it instantly by taking a deep breath and saying ‘I am enough.’

Funny enough (see what I did there?), it’s about practicing it repeatedly so that it becomes a habit and you start viewing yourself and the world around you with a sweeter pair of lenses.

When you do this, you are connecting to a higher truth that trumps all trivialities and helps you become fully present. And when we are fully present – watch out – we are operating from an uber creative, powerful space. To everyone else watching you, you are being ‘brave’ but in fact you are just being more of yourself. Please take a moment now to let that last sentence sink in. That's right, bravery is the by product of simply allowing you to be more of yourself. 

Anyhow… here’s the video.

Also, here’s some pics from last weekend’s masterclass.

 

I can’t express to you how grateful and humbled I was to work with these eight incredible women. This masterclass was also a life changer for me. I’ve decided that all I want to do now is help people LOVE their voices. My tag line for the last year or so has been ‘Find Your Voice, Live a Life You Love’. I’m changing it now to ‘LOVE your Voice’. Why? Because ‘finding our voices’ is really about learning to love ourselves. It’s going straight to the truth of the matter.

When we shift our focus onto our strengths and love the shit out of our weaknesses, this is when we start uncovering our gems, including our unique voice.

By the way – one of the ladies of the workshop had a massive revelation and declared to the group and the Universe ‘I want to be heard.’  She is a very talented singer and has always wanted to study opera. She auditioned for the Conservatorium earlier this week to do an alternative pathway program and she was accepted. I can’t tell you how much my heart expanded when I heard the news. #superproudteachermoment

 

Anyhow - remember, YOU & YOUR VOICE ARE ENOUGH

Keep you eyes fixated on those grand plans of yours. They can happen.

 
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What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?

 
 

Every now and then, I go off course.

When this happens life becomes a monotonous blur of ‘to dos’ and going through the motions.

I get dizzied by my efforts to ‘make things work’ and ‘keep people happy’ that I lose a sense of myself, my passion and purpose.

With 2016 drawing to an end, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions to make sense of where I am and where I’m going.

Funnily enough, I have never really taken the time to answer this big pearler of a question and I have to say, the answer brought me out of my self-imposed fog.

‘What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?’

I have to say, it’s so funny how we transition from the mentality of ‘what can I get’ to ‘what can I give’.

In my teenage years right through to my twenties, achievement looked like accolades, being on the property market, making six-figures, jet setting across the world as a famous singer, being married to Leonardo DiCaprio (happy to say, that ‘13-year old girl dream' is over!) and the list goes on.

Now I did achieve some of those things in my twenties – I was making pretty good money and was climbing the corporate ladder - but I couldn’t shake the feeling of 1. being miserable and 2. still feeling like a loser.

I also changed my life completely at 27 years old to study music full-time and become a professional singer and singing teacher.

But it wasn’t until launching my business this year - Fearless Singer - that I truly felt excited and in alignment with my life goals.

You see, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs from both sides of my family. My Dad’s side are Greek migrants who built successful cafes in regional Queensland from very little in the form of money but did it with resilience, resourcefulness and generosity. In fact, they didn’t just build cafes they built warm welcoming hubs for the community. My Dad himself has always been in business and has the amazing ability to ‘dream big’ and see it through.

My Mum comes from a dairy farm and a long line of clever, hard working food producers. Mum changed her life and ours for the better, when she decided at 38 years old to finish her senior certificate to go back to study full-time at university. To pay for her uni fees, she bought and sold antique dolls and bears. She had a little shop in Rounds Arcade in Bundaberg called Toy Zone (named by me).         

So working for myself is a massive achievement. And I must say that after going solo in business, I have an enduring respect for business owners and freelancers.

Because… it’s pretty bloody hard at times.

One of my biggest discoveries this year has been that even when doing something that you love full-time, you will still experience the ‘cons.’

You can also get quite disillusioned and exhausted by it all, if you let it.

But what is supremely beautiful about these ‘cons’ is that they teach you so much about yourself and help you become even more ‘you’. Because the more years I have spent on this planet, I now realize that becoming ‘more of yourself’, IS the ultimate life goal.

The reality is that being uncomfortable forces you to go deep. It makes you ask probing questions, like, ‘why the feckle are you doing this?’ It teaches you to think and act creatively, to learn how to lovingly conquer that voice in your head that says ‘you’re a dick’ and to keep moving forward.

More importantly, it teaches you how to access that infinitely wise source that is always within you.

So go ahead and ask yourself now: ‘What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?’

I bet the answer will surprise, delight and perhaps make you slightly uncomfortable but inject you with a huge dose of love at the same time. I also promise that if you are feeling overwhelmed by life at the moment, it will remind you of the bigger picture.

This is how I answered and I have to say it floored me in the most loving and grounding of ways possible:  

“All I want to do in this lifetime is to make people believe they can sing and are top notch human beings who can do or be anything they want.”

So that’s my message. And if people start believing in themselves after being in my presence, that makes me pretty bloody happy.

P.S Registration closes tomorrow (Fri Dec 9 2016) for MY 6-Week Singing, Musicianship and Mindset Program. It will be your chance to work with me before I start scaling back on my one-on-one sessions.

More info here: =>

http://bit.ly/6weekprogram_FearlessSinger

 

THE GRATITUDE EXPERIMENT: Can gratitude make a difference to our singing practice?

I was beyond thrilled by the amazing response from last week's video! I think it's something we can all resonate with, no matter how old we are. 

Inspired to help those wanting to launch into a new creative career, I'm giving away the incredible book 'Born For This' by Chris Guillebeau to one lucky winner.  You can read about the book and its author here.

To win, all you need to do is follow me on Instagram, find the pic of the book and tag a friend in the comments.

I have to say, the video this week is short and sweet! It becomes somewhat entertaining when I have an altercation with a bee! 

This week, I'm conducting an experiment and I would love for you to join me! It's called the Gratitude Experiment.

Before I get into my singing practice this week, I will be spending five to ten minutes writing a list of things related to my voice and musicality that I'm grateful for. 

I'm starting simple by stating things like, I'm grateful for a healthy functioning larynx and vocal folds.

If you could give this a go, I would love for you to let me know of any major shifts or breakthroughs in your practice.

Next week I will be posting my results and delve deeper into the potential benefits of incorporating the attitude of gratitude into our daily singing/music practice.

Now I want to hear from you! Have you already been making gratitude a part of your daily practice? Any breakthroughs or major shifts in the practice room. Would LOVE for you to comment below!

Our Mind is our Singing Instrument: Establishing Healthy Beliefs about our Voice

There is a lot of information out there about how to take care of your singing voice but did you know it is equally important to look after your mind?
 
In fact, singing is a neuromuscular activity, which means that our brain is essentially our instrument. It tells our body what to do in order to make the sound we want (and to make sound full stop).

So we need to be aware of what we think and say about our voice as well as our ability to use it.

I'm a big believer that our thoughts and words shape our experience. Our subconscious mind is extremely powerful and pretty much runs the show, which we call ‘our life’. Therefore, what we say and believe to be true about our singing voice is what we are going to experience.

Let's go deeper here... What is the first thing that pops into your head when you think about your voice?

Is it words and feelings such as: "Oh I love it!"; "It's unique"; "It's strong"; "I'm getting better at developing my voice. I can hear an improvement every day."?

Or does your inner monologue sound more like this:   "I'm tone deaf!"; "I can't sing to save myself!"; "I can't hear any improvements. I should give up.”?

If it’s the latter, just giving you the disclaimer now, I’m going to get all Louise Hay on you.
 
Keep reading if you like all this self-love stuff…
 
I can tell you from personal experience not to give up – YOU CAN improve your voice by adopting a set of healthy beliefs. That means loving the shizzle out of your voice, despite it’s apparent weaknesses.
 
Let me tell you a story. In the past, I struggled with a weak chest voice, which makes it pretty difficult to sing contemporary music, especially jazz. I struggled to sing notes below a middle C and sometimes on a gig these notes would completely disappear.   

This caused me a lot of frustration. It didn’t matter what exercises my singing teacher (a head honcho, internationally renowned vocal pedagogue in contemporary music) gave me to strengthen my registration, my body was not complying. And why? At the time, I had no idea either, which of course kept feeding my frustration and to be honest, sadness.  
 
When I got to a particularly low point (excuse the pun!), I realized that I had some major self-enquiry work to do. And what did I discover? An icky web of beliefs that can be summed up as:

  • I didn’t believe I could change.

  • I didn’t believe the exercises would work for me.

  • And that my voice was inherently flawed.

So What do you do when you get to this point?
 
You start to exercise your love muscle! And I don’t that mean in a sexy-time kind of way. Moving on quickly…
 
I mean that you start practicing thinking and saying positive things about your voice.
 
That doesn’t mean proclaiming “I sound like Whitney Houston, therefore I am!”, when you are still developing your sense of pitch. On a side note, it’s always best to sound like yourself but that’s another blog post.
 
It means saying things to yourself that you will actually believe straight off the bat. You need to see it as those you are trying to brainwash a sceptic. Therefore, it will be easier to believe affirmations like, “I don’t care what my voice sounds like, it’s cool. It’s me. Bob Dylan or Marianne Faithful don’t have the most polished sounding voices, they have things to say and they do it well.”   
 
Or:   
 
         “I like how my voice sounds in the higher register.”
 
                 “This song suits my voice.”
 
                      “I like learning about how to build my voice.”
 
                         “I’m starting to hear some improvements.”
 
                            “It makes me happy and fulfilled that I’m even pursuing this.”  
 
Eventually your negative beliefs will begin to morph into positive ones and that is when the real magic starts to happen, my friends.
 
Your new beliefs will just get stronger and so will your voice. Your body will begin to integrate your technique practice, which will continue to reinforce your positive beliefs. It’s the gift that keeps giving!
 
Of course from time to time, negativity will rise it’s unfortunate looking head. But see it as an opportunity to do some weeding and the planting of new pleasing thoughts.  
 
More on this… I was at a Vince Jones workshop once. If you don’t know who he is, Google him, he is an incredible musician, national icon and top bloke. Anyhow he made reference to a wonderful piece of wisdom from David Suzuki which went along the lines of “Your body will do what you ask it to do, and why, because your body loves you”.
 
And as for me and my weak low register… Well I continue to strengthen it daily however it has become much stronger than it was. I no longer see it as an issue and those notes below a middle C stay put over a three to four-hour gig.  
 
Now I want to hear from you – have you stopped ‘hating on your voice’ and learned to love it quirks and all? Have you seen major improvements in your singing practice and life through changing your mindset?

Please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you!