Day 1220 – 1253
Happy 2018 to you all! I’ve been away for quite some time. I’m taking a little liberty with the format of these posts as an experiment in writing style. I’m grateful for your patience as I work out how best to share the journey of gratitude, joy, oneness, service, purpose and meaning.
I’ve had this horrible flu that has been going around. It came back as a chest infection which turned into laryngitis and then a cold. Given that I’ve been having singing lessons, had a recording session booked and a folk festival weekend of singing classes booked, I spent as much time as possible getting better so that I could hit all those events. I did it. Somehow.
Perhaps the prospect of doing something I loved was motivation to heal. Perhaps I had some help from the Universe.
Over the past few weeks, I recorded a jazz standard, learned harmony for an Old Time ballad, sang an improvisation with a couple of groups, learned the mechanics of harmony and sang old southern Gospel and Sprituals. There is a real earthy sensuality to my voice that suits jazz and gospel music and so I am hoping that my teachers for that class at the Bellingham Folk Festival will be creating a specific group for singing spirituals on a more regular basis. I enjoyed the Old Time music and dance and found that the community is really an incredible pool of talent and people. I was feeling vulnerable and so before I went off to the Folk Festival this past weekend, I set the intention with the Universe for a weekend of joy.
It was delivered.
I made a joyful noise (mostly hit the notes) and in this sense, I have also come back. I felt it just beginning to happen before I got sick – this opening of the heart and a return to joy. Singing is a heart based activity as a spiritual practice, and has a long association with the mystics. It is a part of my spiritual life not only for what is sung but for the connection it gives me to creation, when I sing. I was led, by synchronicity, to find my unique singing teacher who understands that it is a deeply spiritual practice for me. And, I was further led to a scholarship to attend the festival and to the offer of a free recording studio session. I was meant to be there and I am clear that this is a path I am meant to continue.
I had to get well enough to be there. Really well enough to really be authentically there. To do that, I think I had to first fall ill so that I could repair all that needed to be healed in order for me to be present.
My heart has been a closed book for a year now and we’ve seen how I’ve struggled to open it. I had a lot to grieve. Each time I felt finished, I found more at the bottom of that well. At times it became too much and I closed my heart, which cut me off from myself, from others and from my spiritual centre.
While I was sick, I processed a lot of the personally horrendous year of 2017 and in fevered dreams, I was able to come to the end of some painful threads and tie them with a bow. I was able to cut the threads and let the beautiful bows fall away. With a lot of time in bed, I was able to really sit with what had happened, to process and to look at what I need to learn from it all so that I could thank the Universe for the opportunity to grow and then move on to new experiences. There is no coincidence of the timing of this illness and the fact that my chest was involved. I needed to cough out any last vestiges from the bottom of my lungs, where, energetically, grief resides. I coughed until I bled, and then I coughed some more.
I lost my voice for a time and so I sat in silence and listened to what I needed to understand. I returned to meditation, and my heart was open.
I’ve overcome most of my fears in this lifetime, but the last thing that made me feel vulnerable was singing in front of strangers. On Sunday, dosed up on antibiotics and throat lozenges, I volunteered to test out my voice in various keys, in front of a room full of strangers who were longtime musicians. I hit the notes in several keys and some I just couldn’t hit. And that was okay. Just by standing up and saying – I am here and I want to sing! – I crossed the threshold to move beyond a lifelong fear to come out the other side: open, joyful and present.
In being present, I am able to offer all of myself to others and I see that in some small way, I bring a little joy into the world. For me, this is why I came to be here, in this body, in this time.
I have found my voice, again. I’m back.
For what are you most grateful, today?