I nearly talked myself out of doing this…

Today, I’m going to share with you a recording of me singing just before I started my very first lessons with a singing teacher in 2012.
For one, because it’s a song written by Prince and it seems like a fitting tribute to the musical genius that was, but also because in the future I plan to share more singing with you and I think it will be interesting to chart my progress. We all have to start somewhere and I think we tend to lose sight of this.

chickenpractice

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about writing, singing, my ukulele and my guitar. More specifically, I’ve been wondering why I crave each of these things in my life on a daily basis and yet deny myself them. I procrastinate and keep busy with a hundred other ‘important’ tasks, all the while wishing I were singing or writing, or could play my guitar and ukulele.
I think it’s because it’s important to me to do those things well and yet with writing comes dreading the blank page, with singing comes the fear of false notes or limited range, and with the uke/guitar comes pain in my wrists and fingers. That is the reality of the things I yearn to do. They require surrender, practice and flow, all of which I find hard to achieve.
My guitar teacher used to tell me that it was better to practise for 10 minutes every day than a whole hour once a week and I really believe that holds true no matter what it is you wish to practise.

So what I’d really need is to set aside about one hour each day that I could devote to all four of these activities. Simple, right? And yet it seems the hardest thing in the world and I don’t do it.

So I’ve been analysing the reasons for my reluctance:

 

Fear: 

  • of criticism,
  • of not being good enough (for whom? compared to what?),
  • of finding out I have zero talent for the things I love or dream of being able to do,
  • of becoming bored by the routine of practice,
  • of failing to honour my commitment,
  • or of finding out that I’m incapable of sticking to anything for the time it would take to get good at it

False beliefs:

  • That talent is innate: you either have it or you don’t
  • That unless you can be the best at something, it’s not worth doing
  • That something is not worth doing unless you have some end goal to aim for (often in today’s world that end goal is recognition, fame or money)
  • That naturally talented people do what they do effortlessly. It’s easy for them. If I struggle or don’t get something right first go, then it’s because I have no talent for it and it’s not meant for me
  • That I am unable to commit to daily practice
  • That I am not focused enough or disciplined enough

There is so much expectation tied to it all. I can’t practise unless I can commit? What’s that about? Even if I practised something twice a month for the next ten years on random days I would no doubt be better at it is than I am today. Right?
So today I’m saying FUCK IT ALL. Who cares?? Why such a big fucking deal?

You want to sing? SING! Want to write? Write! Even if you write shit! How sad would the world be if only Man Booker Prize winners allowed themselves to write??

Four years ago when my mum died all I wanted to do was sing. At that time I really felt that nothing else could relieve me from the pain and grief I felt, so I sang.

And here today I’m sharing one of those songs with you:

 

 

It’s far from perfect and that’s entirely the point. If you’re seeking perfection or, worse still, waiting for it before you even start practising (?!), you’re worshipping a false idol. Perfection is unattainable: How do you measure it? And if it can’t be measured, how do you know when you’ve reached it?
So whatever you’re holding on to too tightly, let it go. Let it out into the world. Express it. Don’t be precious about it. Share it. Learn it. Practise it. PLAY with it.

Even people like Prince who’ve been labelled virtuosos and creative geniuses know that talent needs to be honed and they seek out masters to learn from. I think the point is to keep improving, progressing, moving forward; to keep expressing yourself and creating, even with no end goal in mind, simply because that is what you’re driven to do and because it’s fun and makes you feel ALIVE! And practise because it feels good to improve and to master something you love… not because you HAVE to, but because if you don’t do that thing you feel like an empty shell.

Prince said in an interview that he had an archive of over 300 songs that he’d never recorded and never done anything with. They existed simply because he was driven to create them.

If you are drawn to writing, write. Writing doesn’t have to culminate in a book deal. Write simply because it’s what you long and ache to do. And if you feel so inclined, release it out into the world. Even if it’s flawed, it probably has a job to do. It might not bring you fame or fortune, but who cares?

 

“Beauty is in everything that stirs your voice to song,

And even still it is the people, who feel your words and sing along”

 

Why is success or adulation the only valid reason for dedicating yourself to something you’re craving and feel driven to do?

Why do we so often feel that something isn’t worth doing unless we can be recognised for it or be the best at it?

And why do we believe that if talent doesn’t come naturally, it’s not worth pursuing?

 

BINGO-SPIEL! She’s back!

AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaahh (just imagine me entering the room in a whirlwind and crashing down on the floor all dramatic-like)

Hello lovely!

It’s been a while, eh?

I know. I’m not really sure what happened. The 28-day challenge was exhilarating and invigorating. It was so much fun! But it sure took it out of me.

I was sure that I just needed a couple of weeks’ break and I’d be back here blogging like a champ now that I had so virtuously developed the habit after blogging EVERY SINGLE DAY for 28 bloody days… and I even have the multi-coloured, glittery star bingo card to prove it. Not a single empty slot.

Lotte Lane-Come Blog With Me

I did it.

And then I just couldn’t bring myself to do it again. Not because I didn’t have lots of stuff to share with you; I just didn’t want it to feel forced. I hate feeling obligated. And hey… that’s one of the major cornerstones of Burst to Bright, right? The freedom to be you and not do things that you have to do if you don’t bloody well feel like doing them?

So here I am 5 months on, ready to commune with you once again and really happy to be here.

What’s happening in my world, then?

Lots of exploration, of course!

I’ve been working hard trying to get clear on what I stand for and, more importantly, what Burst to Bright stands for and what it is meant to contribute to the world.

I have an exciting idea for a course to bring you a little further down the track: The Explorer’s Journey. I’m really excited to see it slowly take shape. I’m not rushing it; just listening for cues from my intuition and staying open to possibilities, ideas and opportunities.

I’m honing my superpowers and toying with a couple of services I want to unleash on the world: “Let’s be Adventurers” and “Burst to Bright in your Biz”. The name of the second one might yet change, though!

I’ve also in mind a fun retreat I’d like to organise for next May here in France (oh gosh, I hope I can pull it off now I’ve said it out loud)

AND I also want to get the Burst to Bright Adventure Camp off the ground… PHEW!!
That’s a lot of things to keep me busy and off the streets, eh?

Well, there’s more!

I’ve also continued to concentrate on my health and fitness and as part of that I’ve just started Lisa Carpenter’s E.A.T. Program. I’ll talk to you more about that in another post.

I’ve been continuing my singing lessons and really improving, but I’m about to stop classes with my current teacher to take Eric Arceneaux’s online course instead for a while. I absolutely love his exercises on YouTube and was even able to teach my teacher one of his fab tricks. If you love to sing and want to improve, check him out.

And last but not least, my latest harebrained idea…

Well, it’s my birthday again in two days and I’ve asked for a ukulele!

I really need more music in my life and I really need to have more music come from me. Since I can’t play my guitar (Ella), as it’s just too painful on my wrists and hands and causes inflammation, someone suggested a ukulele might be easier. Well why the hell not, eh? I’m game!

I’m very excited. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Care to leave a comment and let me know what YOU’ve been up to?

xx

[CBWM-27] On archetypes and self-acceptance

I was slow to wake up this morning. It took me a while to clear the fog of sleep and coax my eyes to open. As I lay there, thinking about yesterday’s tragic event got me thinking about friendships and then high school, a time when I always felt I was standing on the edge of things.

I had some great, really close friendships in high school, yet I never felt I truly belonged. In many ways, I felt too serious and deep. I wanted to be cool and fun. And I was, sometimes, but I wasn’t fun ALL the time. I wasn’t the jokester.
I was always up for a laugh and could come out with the wittiest remarks, but I was the smart one with her feet on the ground, the wise one, the one people turned to for advice or for sharing the more serious side of life.

And oddly enough, I realised I still feel like that now, much later in life. Like I’m not the one people come to for fun; I’m the one they come to for advice or to get stuff off their chest. I’ll be honest with you: I don’t always want to be that. But maybe there isn’t much I can do about that?

One thing I did last year that had a really big impact on helping me move forward on my journey of self-acceptance was Cerries Hickmott’s Alchemy Study, based on Carl Jung’s twelve archetypes.

Learning my four most prominent archetypes was, dare I say it, life-changing for me: Ooooh! So that’s why! raven-73179-sm

My primary archetype is the Explorer. And no question about it, that couldn’t be any more accurate. This explains my constant need for freedom and movement, why I find it so hard to commit, even to just a black or white answer, why I’m constantly seeking, why I hate feeling tied down, trapped or limited. In fact, I remember filling in a questionnaire for a copywriting course about a month before doing the primary archetype test. One of the questions was: If you were to make a film about your life, what would you call it? My answer: Don’t fence me in.

A month or so later, when I did the primary archetype test, what did I discover? The Explorer’s motto: Don’t fence me in.
Knowing about my primary Explorer has helped me identify ways to work with it and around it instead of fighting against it, which has been really freeing for me and has helped me find some precious and much-needed inner peace. I still struggle, don’t get me wrong, but not nearly as much as before.

My secondary archetype is the Alchemist and this morning, after doing a quiz on Facebook !!), I suddenly understood why I struggle with it.

The quiz on Facebook was about finding out your Keirsey personality type. I came up as an Idealist:

“Idealists are abstract and compassionate day dreamers, activists, writers, diplomats, counsellors and healers. You’re the magician or medicine man of all the personality types. You’re a deeply emotional and abstract thinker with cooperative and communitarian goals. You long for deep, meaningful relationships and you constantly contemplate how you can help the common good. You’re guided by strong personal ethics, and you often have an ideology, cause, or way of viewing the world that you take very seriously. You’re easy going until someone challenges your values, at which point you can be the fiercest of opponents. At heart, you’re a natural healer with a great depth of empathy for those around you. As an Idealist, you’re in impressive company! Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Princess Diana, and Oprah are all famous examples of Idealists!”

It was spot on.

My friend Lotte posted her result: the Artisan:

“You’re an Artisan! Artisans are adaptable, tactile, creative, and playful. As an artisan, you pride yourself on your grace, creativity and ability to learn new techniques or systems easily. You’re a master improviser and you have a natural gut instinct that you can always trust. You live life a day at a time, and tend to avoid long term goals and planning. YOLO has always been your motto! At heart you’re a true performer, with a deep need to channel your creativity and natural playfulness through a medium in which others can view and appreciate. This may make you a brilliant actor or painter, or maybe just the life of the party. Either way, you’re unique and truly a breath of fresh air. Cher, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Madonna, and Donald Trump are all famous examples of Artisans.”

And that’s when it hit me. I’m an Idealist, but I struggle with an inner urge to be more Artisan. I thought about my archetypes again, and suddenly it all became clear:

My third archetype, the Jester, is always trying to overtake the Alchemist! And I often let it, because I struggle with the deep side of the Alchemist!

The struggle between these two is constant and throws me off balance.

Great! So now I’m going to have to find a way to reconcile them.

After all, the first step to solving a problem is to identify what is causing it

What about you? Are there aspects to your personality that you constantly struggle with because they clash?

[CBWM-26]

We lost a friend today and we’re very sad. Sad for ourselves, sad for all who knew him, but especially sad for his beloved wife and their gorgeous little girl. He was a good man.

This was a shitty deal from the start, but he didn’t even get his two months and that just sucks.

I’ll be back tomorrow xx

getthere

[CBWM-25] Why Come Blog With Me has been the pants

We’re four days from the end of the Come Blog with Me challenge. I’ll have three more posts to write after this one and most of us in the group are starting to feel a sense of loss, along with relief at being so close to the finish line. There’s also a bit of panic: Shit! What will we do!? Will we be able to keep it up? Will we flake out and our blogs become virtual Miss Havishams, littering the internet with cobwebs and great expectations that never came to much of anything? The-Pants

I hope not, because this challenge has been fantastic for me and came just at the right time.

The main thing I’ve noticed is a huge shift since last year: I’m looking forward, not back. Last year I really felt like I had to purge the past, if you will, to come full circle. Last year I felt a lot of sadness in my writing and now I feel more optimism, light-heartedness and joy.
Last year I hated it when I got sentimental. This year I don’t seem have been sentimental much (so far), but when I have I’ve embraced it as just another part of me.

Yes, sometimes I’m sentimental, sometimes I’m dramatic, sometimes I’m careless… but I still reckon I’m alright.

I’ve also got a lot more comfortable with imperfection: my website’s not finished, my goal’s still a little fuzzy, my About page is just a poem and a photo, my blog categories are all over the place, the colours of my headings, links and highlights are all wrong, and that’s ok. How liberating.
This is manifesting in other areas of my life too, of course, not just the blog.

In fact, just yesterday I handed in a couple of texts to deadline and the client got back to me shortly after because he wanted to change two of my sentences and needed me to OK his English. Not too long ago I would have taken that to mean that my work is shite, that I’m a crap translator and have no business earning a living this way, and so on and so forth ad-headachum-and-drive-myself-nutsum.
Well not anymore. Now I’m able to see it for what it is: a slight tweak, a personal preference. Simple. Yes, your suggestions are fine. Have a nice day.

So I’m also feeling more confident in who I am and much more comfortable with my own imperfection, which no doubt means that all the work I’ve been doing on myself hasn’t been in vain! I’m seeing results!
And I might not have noticed all of these changes if I hadn’t committed to this blog challenge, so thank you, Lotte Lane, for the opportunity.

In four days, it’ll be up to me to keep going. So partly because I’m worried I’ll flake out, and partly because I was sick of feeling too chicken to do so, today I outed my blog on Facebook.
What was I afraid of? Well, I’m not really one to give a great deal of f*** about what people in general think, but I have to be honest, it did scare me to reveal a more personal side my Facebook peeps aren’t used to seeing. People tend to pigeonhole you, don’t they. Then it takes a while for them to adjust and fit new pieces together. Plus you only have to take a short stroll around YouTube to see how vicious people can be on the Web and until now I didn’t quite feel ready for the possibility of getting nasty comments from passersby.

Well, I’m done with that now. Here I am!