Singing

I begin to write this after spending 15 minutes of the time I’ve allotted nervous, disengaged and gnawing at my piece of mind as well as my fingers. With my kitten trying negative techniques of scratching the couch and chewing on my papers to get attention I feel a rise in annoyance. The annoyance is more about my feeling of resistance to doing what I’ve planned this morning though. I’m feeling a little bit sad and a little bit lonely. I have a sense of longing to do nothing and lay in bed all day. Maybe I will another day. Hold an experiment in stillness with myself by planning nothing and allow for quiet. 
Now I sit on my bed knees up with the blanket covering me and Swift, my kitten, has curled up in the little blanket fort under my knees. Let’s begin.
Last week I let go of an adventure writing idea that came to seem based in a selfish place. I decided to let it go and two days ago a quiet little thought cascaded gently into my mind as a petal dancing to the ground. The song between Between the Bars was that idea. Between the bars, a couple of the words came first but as I hummed them over again song became clearer. I was reminded of it and it was so appropriate for this time in my life. I decided I will sing it at a cafe tomorrow. The joy is in singing and feeling it. I will not be afraid.
To be clear, singing is something I’ve loved to do for a very long time. I remember singing and recording myself on cassette when I was six just enjoying myself, but at some point around that same time I also began to believe I wasn’t very good at singing. Singing has never left my life but it has also never flourished. I was trying to think of a time when I sang in public and nothing came to mind. Sure there have been happy birthday songs, singing with the radio, even karaoke. So I guess it’s not that I haven’t sung, what it is is that I have kept a block up. I’ve kept fear in my throat, only tried so hard, been quieter.
This song, Between the Bars, began to take shape in my understanding. I let myself explore the words, what they mean to me, how they feel. I bumped into the idea that I couldn’t bring these words off the page and into my mouth effectively but I left room for the song to marinade in my mind. I let the words sound like me. I lingered on the words and heard their tone. My voice opened and I felt free to sing fully. 
I’ve been thinking about what the experience will be to sing in front of others in public for an open mic night. I sing because I love it. This song is where I’ve come from. I know I can sit on stage and sing it and that will be enough. I don’t have to search the room for approval. Though I seek to learn more, to sing alone on stage is enough for me now. 
I will email the place I wish to sing at this afternoon. I have had thoughts about asking a neighbor or friend if they would like to play with me. Maybe I’ll sing alone, maybe someone there that night will play with me. I don’t feel fear of the unknown so much right now and I plan to stay with myself and address any fear that may come up. I plan to be calm and experience the moment, whatever happens.
I plan to post an update after the experience and video of myself singing. Is there anything you are trying out this week? I would love to learn about it in the comments.

Update
I did it! 

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4 Benefits of Choosing Intrinsic Value

Looking to solidify beliefs that have made a significant difference in my life, I am writing this. They have recently come to the forefront of my existence and being not yet engrained could easily slip away. This is a way of stopping past tendencies of negativity from coming in to fill the space like life was never there.

Choosing intrinsic value for myself seems so obvious now. I had been living crushed under a belief of inferiority trying to fix what was broken without fixing the cause. What I mean by this is by believing I am valuable exactly as I am now and in every moment I am able to be free and ask myself at the deepest level, what is important to me? Intrinsic value is understanding I am enough and we are all equals in terms of our worth as people . The truth of intrinsic value of a life is evident to me in the way a parent loves a newborn simply for their existence. This idea brings a sense of calm.There is nothing I have to do to be enough. We are enough! All that lay before me are choices on how to spend my time. This truth extends to all humans. By understanding I am already whole my focus can leave the self and be attentive to others.

This is a continued practice. I find my physical self playing catch up with my mind. There is no longer the expectation to wake up one day and have arrived. The value is in the experiencing of each moment in life. I expect to explore and continually be amazed by how my experience evolves. To be connected with the precious diamonds of perception in all life has to offer as a witness and interpreter of this life.

4 Benefits

Openness

If I cannot gain or lose any value because of others opinions of me it naturally allows for openness. I can speak my truth and by doing so draw those close who connect with me.There is a sense of openness to feelings and failure because my worth isn’t determined in the perfection of my craft. If I am actually letting myself explore what I want to be doing jealousy of others falls away sheerly because I am living fully. Others successes are no longer a threat, in fact there is the idea that a rising tide lifts all ships. Letting go of my desire to control outcomes has thus far ferried me through experiences that were once terror inducing. Comparison is being ushered out as well to allow for openness. Each person is a unique mixture of experiences, talents, goals and preferences. What sense does it make to compare us? Fear seems to be an act of control, if I believe the unknown can take something from my being then fear narrows the view and can give a predictable outcome.
Presence

Each moment of life is truly a blessing and packed full of interest! Even in times of visceral pain there have veins of light woven through my life. Just by appreciatively noticing this moment a new sense of depth develops. Time slows, this presence quiets the mental noise and attention can be paid to what can happen now. All the moments lived believing I wasn’t enough are as valuable as those now, but now I can choose to savor the unknown along the way. I cannot dive into the past and change it and I cannot accurately predict the future, this present moment counts. “Be present, life is a journey” are common true phrases, but to understand the rewards of this takes practice.
Clarity

Removing the worry of past, future and perception of others leaves room to be clear sighted. Clarity to hear what’s really right for me in a moment rather than hear what the outside wants to tell me is right. Since I was a child I had this idea that the bright parts of me didn’t fit into the way the world works and to survive I had to be different from my nature. Emotional clarity now shows me that those aspects are what I need to put into the world to live free. Without the distraction of worry time can be spent understanding self and being present with others. Valuing self automatically lifts the heart to appreciate value in others.

Abundance

Understanding my motivations I can ask for what I want without shame. In the past doing what I really want has invoked shame. I’ve felt selfish for wanting to to do what makes me happy. Now I’m growing the understanding that by doing the things that make me happy I can be fully present and helpful to others to realize their dreams. By being clear about what I’m looking for it creates a clear path because others know what I’m about and can help direct me to things that help me on my journey. Giving abundantly is a part of being alive. If we have no piece of ourselves to loose because we are intrinsically valuable we can give freely of ourselves. Giving can take endless forms from presents, to time, to listening, and sometimes we don’t even perceive the gifts we have been able to give others by just being who we are.
Techniques

Barrage of positive thoughts

Some thoughts I began to repeat in my head are things like I am valuable because I exist and the lord created me, I am loved, I am good enough right now. I found this particularly useful to take up the space in my head where thoughts that would bring me down would ruminate. It was so helpful in giving me energy to try to make changes by valuing myself first.

Gratitude

Think of things I’m grateful for and why brings my mind to notice the good, the beauty the abundance in life.

Meditation

Using the app Breathe for a place to start.
Focus on body, breath, touch while laying down or sitting with eyes closed for a few minutes.
Visualize what I want in my life and why

Mindfulness
54321 Noticing 5 things I see, hear and feel in this moment and aspects about them. Next 4 of each descending to 1.

Noticing limiting or negative beliefs and replacing them with positives so they are not longer in the forefront of my thoughts

Taking steps towards fear

Taking a fear and asking questions about it? What is behind my fear? What part of me do I think could be hurt? I find the more curious questions applied to a fear the more it shrinks away. Then I am able to DO something and usually find the things I was afraid of don’t happen or if they do no longer have power over me.

Removing should

Remove should need to and have to From my vocabulary and ask why when those words come up. I wrote more about this in my Removing Should post.

I hope others can look inward, ask what they need and be willing to share themselves with the world.