Monthly Archives: November 2012

Using my Voice.

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My original idea for this post title was, “Finding my Voice”. Then, when I really thought about it, I remembered that I had already FOUND it.

Tonight, I USED it.

Since I was a young child, I have loved music, and loved to sing. In junior high, and high school, I was part of my school’s choir, and when I was in my later high school years, I got to compete all over New England. I loved it and even wanted to make it a career choice for a time. Then, I decided that I wasn’t up for the competition I would have to endure to make a performing career for myself.

That WASN’T using my voice.

I spent this evening, 32 years after my high school career in music, by singing with my partner and her band, Lucan, performing a Kirtan at our local yoga studio. Kirtan is the practice of mantras, in order to connect to a higher level of consciousness, to meditate, to commune with others. It is a powerful experience.

When I anticipated singing for this amazing event, I was initially scared, doubtful, self conscious. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to evoke through my voice what I would want people in the audience to feel: love, faith, hope, opportunity, rejoicing, gratitude.

This self doubt has been a theme in my life, both literally and figuratively, when it comes to my voice. In singing, I doubted my own ability to make a successful career of it, so I gave up. I have no regrets about that, but it is a clear example of when I didn’t use my voice to speak up for what I really wanted, and to go for it.

I have spent a great deal of my life not using my voice, by not speaking up to intolerance; not being honest with those around me about how I feel; and not asking for what I really want. So, tonight, my sitting in front of a microphone, dressed in white, seated next to my love, was an awe inspiring experience.

It reminds me this evening how much I have used my voice in the last two years of my life, to choose a career that I feel good about; to find love that is connected and real and free; to ask questions and invite the answers about my spiritual self; to be open and honest with those around me, without apology.

So I realize, that whether I am in a candlelit yoga studio with two dozen like minded people, or with a person that I am getting to know, that using my voice, to speak truth, love, and connection, is what I want in my life most of all.

And, I will keep singing my song.

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Magnificence of the human spirit.

I draw myself a Medicine card each day, which have various living creatures on them, and then, a book that goes along with it, to say what drawing that animal means for me. I believe strongly in my Native American roots, and what that level of spirituality offers to me, so the cards guide me in profound ways.

I also have totem creatures, which are with me at all times, and there are days when the creature card that I pick, is one of my totems. Today, I drew the Blue Heron card, which represents the need for self-reflection.

The main premise of self-reflection, according to the card, is that when we are resistant to really look at our own traits, beliefs, thoughts, or actions, we spend much of our time blaming others, or blaming life in general, for not having what we want. When we spend our time blaming others, the Blue Heron medicine tells us, it is because we do not have the courage to face our own demons, our own struggles.

Fear keeps us small, and keeps us focusing on others, not self.

Also, when our perception is cloudy, and we are viewing others and life through lenses that are clouded with doubt, self absorption, fear, or cynicism, we are less likely to change, because we believe that our view of the world is really the way that things are.

However, there is always room for change, growth, and evolution. “The magnificence of your human spirit lies waiting for the joy of discovery, if you are courageous enough to follow the waterbird throughout the journey.”

Magnificence.

Doesn’t that sound enticing?

Magnificence is only a breath away, for any one of us. We only need to have the courage, to face ourselves, even at our worst, and change what we have to what we desire.

For me, I am choosing magnificence. Courage. Light.

The purity of being human.

I love the experience of getting to know myself as a full fledged human being, flaws and all. At least, on most days, it feels like an adventure and something that I welcome as an experience. However, it has not always been that way.

For most of my existence, I have avoided, denied and hidden all aspects of my humanity that seemed less than appealing. My anger, jealousy, resentment, lying, and bitterness were all aspects that seemed so seedy, so unlovable, that I didn’t dare show them to others, let alone, be honest with myself when they would be present.

There were really two things going on during those times of hiding aspects of myself. First of all, I felt such shame and guilt about being angry with someone, or for being resentful toward another human being, or worst of all, judging another person, that I didn’t want to admit that I felt that way. The other big thing happening at those times, is that I wanted to look really good to others. I didn’t want anyone around me to believe that I was anything other than kind, giving, open and honest.

The truth is, I had many moments of kindness, giving and honesty. However, I also pretended that there was no negative sides of me in those times. I pretended, to myself and to others, that I had no character traits or flaws that needed to be called out and worked on. I judged others around me for being control freaks, when I am one of the biggest ones on the planet.

The place that I had to come to with myself, and with others, was that I possess traits that I admirable and positive; as well as traits that show the more insecure, vulnerable part of myself. That only when I take all of my parts into consideration, do I really have the full understanding of what it means to be a human.

I often thought that to be the right kind of human being, I had to be loving all the time, and not admit that I have times when I feel pretty awful, and at times, downright bitchy, mean and judgmental. I understand that even though I can feel judgmental, mean or even resentful at times, that I don’t have to indulge those feelings; I can just feel them, let them go, and keep calling myself to a higher way of being as I deepen my faith that I am just as I should be.

Completely, purely human.

What’s in the hopper.

According to mirriam-webster.com, one of the definitions of the word, “hopper”, is “a mix of things to be considered or done”.

That definitely applies for me and this particular post.

Over the last few years, I have gotten better and better at not worrying as frequently about various life issues. For many years, I would spend my car ride in the morning, on the way to work, with my stomach burning with all of the items that I would choose to worry on. Some of the favorite topics at the time included money, time, relationships, parenting, career, and family.

Not a light list, mind you. Truthfully, the list has never been light. LIFE is not light, in many respects. At least, it isn’t light when we don’t view it that way.

So, I worked really hard in the last two years to worry less, and let go more. And, I have been pretty successful, in shortening the time span that I allow myself to worry on something; and, I find myself worrying less overall about things, particularly those things that I have no control over.

Which, in all honesty, is most everything in my life. Anything or anyone, outside of me, is out of my control and doing their own thing.

So today, I managed to find something to worry about to start my day, that being, a conflict that I had with a loved one. I didn’t communicate clearly with this person, and it resulted in misunderstanding and assumptions, on my part. So, after worrying about it a bit this morning, I called this person to take some accountability, and to begin to heal the situation.

But, what is so interesting about me, is that once I felt like I had resolved and could let go of that situation, I found the next thing “in the hopper” that I could worry about.

Money. I no longer have a part time job, so I spent another portion of my day, thinking about scarcity; what if I don’t have enough to pay for what I need and want each month? What about Christmas? What about travelling?

I spent some time thinking on this until I could let go, and then, it was the next thing “in the hopper”.

The truth is, I have to beat myself at my own game here. Even though I resolve and feel better about issues more quickly than ever before, it is the sense that I like to have that worry about SOMETHING in my life, that is what is so annoying. Why should I want worry? Why not, surrender, ALL the time?

So, I am focusing more clearly than ever, on making messes, cleaning them up, and not worrying about that which I need to be surrendering, and trusting, and having faith that all will be well.

And, with some persistence, the hopper will be empty.

Ego’s dream or Spiritual calling?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be, and exercised, being a writer. I have kept journals, written stories and poems, and loved the sound of words in my head and in my ears. Even though I have pursued other avenues as a career in my life, my writing always stayed close as an activity of importance to me.

A few years ago, when I found out about blogging, and began writing with some regularity, I noticed something interesting that happened with my writing. I found that I equated the importance of what I wrote, and the impact that it potentially had, by how many people had visited my blog and read what I wrote. I would go to my blog, sometimes several times a day, to see where in the world people were from that had visited, and how many my count increased by each day. I would watch for milestones, like 100,000, and then, 200,000 visitors, as a way to gauge how important my writing was to the world.

In a sense, it was my ego driven dream that was at the helm. I had a dream to be a famous writer, to be known throughout the world, and really began to believe, and did believe for quite some time, that the work I was meant to do was all about maximizing the numbers that would read, how well known I would be, and how much money I would get to make by doing it.

Writing is still such an important part of my life, although I don’t always make the time for it that I need to. But, I have noticed a big shift recently, in what I believe is in it for me. I mean, what is it that is really supposed to come from my writing? What is it that is meant for me in it all, and for the world? Why am I doing it? What is the impact supposed to be?

For years, I have thought that the impact that I was meant to have was based in how published I became, and how “famous” I was by my writing. I have since discovered, all in the last few months, that I am being called to a bigger purpose than that. I do believe that my words are meant to be out in the world; however, I don’t think that the way that they get there, and have the deep impact that they are meant to have, is the result of me selling millions of books. I think it is more subtle in its form; I think it is the phrase that I write; it is the words of encouragement, sometimes the fewest of words, that a person reads and feels heard, inspired, loved, or connected.

So, what always seemed to me to be the dream of what I wanted to do in the world, became a way for me to deeply connect with myself, and with others, by measuring the impact not in dollars, or other numbers.

The impact is in how closely it connects me with those of you who read.

So, thank you. For coming back, for reading, for commenting.

And, for letting me know what these words mean to you. Thanks for filling my soul.

Photos the work of Brenda Ann Fernandes