Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful for the hard times and what they will teach me

We've been hit with a snowstorm about a month earlier than is the norm for this part of the country. I love the beauty of snow ... how it covers everything in a soft blanket as it sleeps, waiting for the spring. It sparkles and as my daughter keeps reminding me, it surrounds us with snow fairies that we can see only if we believe.

Despite all the beauty of winter I'm frustrated that my running outdoors season has been cut short by almost a month. I love getting outside and running. I was just starting to get past some of my injuries that started last April and seemed to plagued me incessantly, my body trying to explain to me something that is going on which I have yet to understand. I have a 5k on December 7th. It is the same 5k that was my very first ever last year. I want to do well. I want to kick ass at it. Not getting out to run for the next week makes me fear I am not going to do well.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have all the fixin's ready for dinner. It will be just the four of us, again. It feels lonely. Another time of year when it is impossible for us to be with family. Sweet One is so absolutely excited about tomorrow and the fact that it is almost December. She can't say December without sounding like she is telling me the most magical secret in the entire world. I need to continue to look with her eyes when things are hard.

Ever since moving to this country I have always felt like Thanksgiving is a big celebration that starts off the Christmas season. In Canada, Thanksgiving is just Thanksgiving. That is our focus. But within a few hours of filling up on everything we are supposed to be thankful for, a large portion of the population down here will line up on the cold sidewalk only to barge into a store with their elbows out, fighting almost to the death for that next great deal. I saw neighbours returning home last year after a night of no sleep and a day of crowds. They looked like they had been hit by a truck! I don't really understand it.

When all is said and done, I miss my Dad. On December 15th he would have been a whopping 64 years old. Sure, we would have made jokes, but his candles would never set off the fire extinguisher. So maybe everything right now is all about that loss. Another year when he will be missing from the home of my siblings. A miracle might have happened that perhaps we would have found a way to mend the bridge and maybe he could have been missing from my home at this time of year, but I don't know. "...a miracle is just a shift in perception."

And so again I will take it all breath by breath. Learning to be compassionate and gentle with myself and trying to be open to the Divine Guidance I will be given so that I can see the beauty in all of this.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lost voice

Singing always came very easy for me. Learning the notes was never a challenge nor was memorizing. Because of this I was always able to get away with a minimal amount of work. During my degrees, singing in choirs throughout the week also helped work on my endurance and so I never had to practice for hours on my own. The requirements for my degrees kept me moving forward and doing what needed to be done. But that was it.

At this point in my life singing has never been more difficult. It is the hardest thing I am trying to do. After 4.5 years of not singing I started up again. We've had a surrogate family since the day we arrived all those years ago and when patriarch passed away I had no choice but to offer to sing at his funeral. I felt something in my spirit and I couldn't ignore it. A nagging sensation came after me and I ran upstairs to see if I could perhaps sing the piece that was spinning through my head. When I realized there was something there I phoned our friend and offered to sing for her father's funeral. I phoned before I could spend any time second guessing my choice and scare myself out of it. I truly believe that this moment was one of spirit and not of me.

The whole process of getting the piece ready was interesting. Learning the notes wasn't an issue, the challenge was getting some degree of technique back. My voice was so out of shape but I kept working at it day by day with a motivation I've never had before. I'm thankful for it because I accomplished a lot. It wasn't brilliant, but it was damn good considering I hadn't sang in 4.5 years.

A few months later I took another chance. I auditioned for a community production of Les Mis. I didn't get the part I wanted and I wasn't willing to give up time and pay for babysitters for a lesser part. (I would have probably thought differently about it if I were in a bigger place.) The more the producer spoke, the less I wanted to be involved. The more the director spoke, the more I knew she was going to choose someone she already knew from another town. She wasn't ready to take a chance on a wild card. Despite all of that, I left that audition with an amazing sense of accomplishment simply because I put myself out there and spoke my truth. I believed in myself and it felt amazing.

Now I am trying to get my voice back in shape for singing classical repertoire and I don't really know what to do. My voice is pretty much exhausted by the time I'm done singing for 20-30 minutes. I've learned quite a lot of notes in a short amount of time but I'm struggling with figuring out how to get my voice to really sing. I have absolutely no endurance and so by the time I'm done my short practice I feel like I've gotten nowhere. The ease of singing in my previous years didn't prepare me for this. Each time I get myself into my little studio I am afraid but I make myself do it because I know I need to.

I am convinced that in the process of hopefully finding my voice again I am healing so much more of me that I can imagine even though at this moment I feel completely lost. Every once in awhile things go well and I have a glimmer of the freedom I once had in my voice but they are few and far between. I am trying to have faith, to trust the inner guidance I hear that is telling me to sing.