Whole Singing: take the time and make the room

Blog #5 WHOLE SINGING: Take the Time and Make the Room

…as adults we need to give our attention to a side of ourselves that is mystical, cosmic and spiritual

There are lots of ways to play as an adult.  Sometimes, it looks like child’s play.  For example, giving yourself permission to run thru the fall leaves. However, playing as an adult doesn’t always have to look like frolic. It may look like solitude, walks, time with ruins or tarot. It may look like crafting or a retreat. What I am getting at is, somehow, as adults we need to give our attention to a side of ourselves that is mystical, cosmic and spiritual –our higher selves.

It is important we take the time and make the room for this quality of ourselves to flow thru us easefully if we want to sing openly and confidently.  Here is an activity you can do to make room for this quality I am talking about.  Take a moment to think of a “heart word;” meaning a positive feeling word, for example: Love.  Then put the phrase “I am “ in front of it. Sit for 5-20 minutes saying this simple phrase to yourself.  Notice if there is a shift in how you feel in your emotions and in your body.  There is a big possibility that you will feel hopeful, loved, loving, content, peaceful etc.  Simple activities like the above activity can get you on your way to taking the time and making room for your higher self to take over for a little while.  This is what I refer to as Whole Singing.

So take the time to do an exercise like this before you sing and take note of the quality of the sound and the openness from which you are singing.  It will put a big smile on your face!

Blog #4 Whole Singing: Learning to Play again.

BLOG#4 Learning to PLAY again; Whole Singing

So last week I talked about remembering your playful self as a child. Well this week I met someone that wasn’t very playful as a child. After the age of 5 she had to become very responsible and life became serious. I have a feeling this may be the case for many others as we have been in the age of technology, latch-key kids, afterschool activities and Academics. What I mean by that is many of us may have grown up with well intentioned parents who thought that play was a waste of time or who needed to work so enrolled us in afterschool activities or who thought that learning to read by age 6 was more important then growing your imagination. Play IS the most important “work” a child can do for her development.

Through play we allow spirit to inspire our human experience.

When children play they are creating a bridge to the world of their imagination and to the world of spirit. If this bridge is not established in childhood, then as adults we can really suffer and shut down a lot of our potential. There is a saying: “ we are spirits, having a human experience”. Through play we allow spirit to inspire our human experience. This creates trust, creativity and a knowingness. This also creates the ability to flow easefully through life; it creates clarity and a sense of wholeness and oneness.

Now what if you had these components intact in your life right now?  Do you think singing would come a bit easier?  When I have talked to people who have a challenge with finding their authentic voice and sharing it in front of others, they shared with me that they have anxiety of being in front of others, that they don’t trust their body to let out the right sound and that they have a fear of not being accepted. When anxiety, fear and distrust rule our lives, not only may we have a challenging time singing but we may have challenges in many other areas of our lives. My solution: learn how to play.

Find a child you know and surrender to her world for a little while.

So if you find yourself not having a memory of what it felt like to play as a child. If you feel like your “bridge” may not have been fully built. I encourage you, actually I plead for you to take time to play.  Go build a leaf pile, giggle and jump on in.  See where that takes you.  Find a child you know and surrender to her world for a little while. Start to feel your connection to life’s greater forces again. When you start to feel this, allow yourself to play while your singing by making up a fun melody to sing, sing kid’s songs you remember, or put on your favorite Pandora station to sing and dance along to!  I promise this will begin to strengthen your “bridge” and your singing.

Whole Singing – our Playful Conversation with Music

Blog #3 Whole singing Series – our Playful conversation with Music.

I think we can all remember a time in our childhood, when we were overtaken with the flow of our own play and imagination. Being a twin, my sister and I had many moments like that. Our world of play was effortless and seamless. Looking back I can see now how that world of play my sister and I engaged in was so very important to the work we both do as adults. It was that practice of flowing with my imagination and the practice of allowing creativity that lended itself to my conversation with Music.

Imagination and music seem to have the same source- our higher self, Great Spirit, life force…God.

There is a wonderful book, “The Music Lesson: a spiritual search for growth through music” by Victor l. Wooten. In this book he encourages us to look at our relationship and conversation with music.  I immediately related it back to my childhood and my conversation with play.  Imagination and music seem to have the same source- our higher self, Great Spirit, life force…God. My understanding is that it is all the same thing and when we trust and allow that force to come thru, then we play, we pray, we converse with music. We sing!

many of the greatest spiritual teachers, scientific minds and
musicians were brave enough
to stand by themselves and share their insights.

In our modern society of separating all the parts to make a whole we have done ourselves a disservice. We have become perfectionists and become very self-conscious. We have become fearful. We have taken on the attitude of “I must be taught; I must have a class if I am to know anything.”  This is very interesting because if you look through history, it is the greatest out-of-the-box thinkers who have evolved our world the most. They had to trust what was coming through them.  Thankfully, many of the greatest spiritual teachers, scientific minds and musicians were brave enough to stand by themselves and share their insights. That was not learned from a book or a class.

Give yourself permission to have a playful conversation with music

My question to myself and to you reading this is, are we brave enough? Are we brave enough to go back in time and remember the feeling we had as a child of that easeful play? Are we willing to bring that feeling and flow into our conversation with music and allow and trust what comes. My challenge for you is to go PLAY an instrument or go sing. Do not go PRACTICE. Go Play. In your play as a child did you judge it did you analyze it. I think the answer would be no. But for some of us this ease of play is very hard to tap into. Therefore, make sure you do this on a regular basis. Give yourself permission to have a playful conversation with music for say 20 minutes a day. See what comes. What sounds, what words.

Once you have become familiar with your relationship with play, the music follows and so may your singing. The feeling you will feel when you come from this place while singing is that of the easefulness of childhood play. It is a wonderful feeling. This is what I have come to know as Whole Singing.

Self talk – what Flavor are you choosing (BLOG SERIES #2)

The conversation you have with yourself in your own head is extremely important. Just like Baskin Robins ice cream, there are many flavors we can choose to talk to ourselves in. Start to tune in to see what flavor you are choosing each day. While your driving to work, while your doing laundry or cooking; while you are on a run or working out or while you are bathing your children etc. Thoughts are constantly coming to our minds. When we deliberately tune in and take a conscious peak of what “self talk” we are engaging in and what flavor we are doing it in, we are developing a side of ourselves called the “witness”. When our witness becomes strong then we are able to make choices that serve our lives better and empower us to do things we have always wanted to do …like SINGING! Some self talk that we may start to notice does nothing to build us up. In fact, we may start to notice that we are our biggest rival rather then our biggest cheerleader! These negative habits or “flavors ” of talking to ourselves create a domino effect that go from the mind to the physical body, causing contraction around expressing ourselves freely. When self talk is habitually negative we develop beliefs about our selves and our environment that trap us in a safe box. This box is our contracted body and mind that are doing its best to SURVIVE… However, we may be at a moment in our lives that we want more out of life then simply surviving. We want to THRIVE! WE WANT TO SING ! So the next step to WHOLE SINGING I have found in my personal journey, is to develop a witness. Begin with noticing or maybe even journaling each day what “self talk” you witness and what “flavor” you are noticing. Just bringing an awareness to your thoughts can start to ease the contraction ( tightness & fear ) in your body and your mind. Once you have gotten good at witnessing or noticing your thoughts then you can start infusing a more positive flavor. When you lesson the physical and mental contraction in your body and your mind thru allowing more positive self thoughts, habits and perceptions then you are on the road to freer singing! …..NEXT TIME WE’LL TALK ABOUT HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH MUSIC

Ecstasy and singing – WHOLE SINGING (BLOG SERIES #1)

One of the most easeful ways to feel ecstasy in my life is through singing. I feel so good when I am singing. For years I compared it to what I thought flying might feel like. Then yesterday, I found a quote that said just that, “If I can not fly, then let me sing” -Sephen Sondheim.

After doing some research I realize that many people feel this same ecstatic feeling as I do when singing. However, thru the years I have also come across people that really wish and yearn to be “able” to sing but feel they cannot. My reply is, WHY?  The sad truth is that many people’s voices, and breath for that matter, are locked up inside them.

Use your reactions, inspirations, excuses, doubts and defenses…

I can’t think of a more uncomfortable feeling then to be trapped in our own body and mind, yearning to do something, yet unable. Singing with ease took time for me. The experience of unlocking my voice is one I do know well. While some of my fears still trap me in other areas of my life, I have no more reserve with singing and performing. This is what I would love to share with you.  My journey to ecstasy through singing. With any journey, there are mountains to climb and beautiful sites to see.  There is perseverance and joy.  There are tears and doubts.  There is growth.  There are road blocks and new directions and so on.

To get on the map for this journey, start here-
What is your reaction to this comment: “If you can breath, if you can talk, then you can SING.”

Use your reactions, inspirations, excuses, doubts and defenses that come up with this quote; list each one.  Really sit with your list; are there some negative beliefs in there that are defining you or that are caging you in?

The next quote : ” What ever you can imagine, you can do.”

Now do the same process.  Usually our reactions to these two quotes will reveal a lot.  The journey has begun.  Now go SING!  I’ll fill you in on some more tips next week. Until then, enjoy YOU.

Rebecca Abraxas