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?

 

[CBWM-28] Whose fear is it, anyway?

Here we are, the final day of Come Blog With Me. It’s been gruelling and challenging – especially in terms of time management – but also thoroughly enjoyable. When someone asked the other day what our two favourite posts that we’d written were, I realised the writing is a total blur for me. I’ve really not much of a clue what I’ve written, so it will be interesting to go back and read it all. Perhaps there’ll be nuggets in there somewhere and posts to repurpose and improve later.

I don’t know if anyone out there blogs daily with an actual strategy, but I found that impossible with limited time. Unless you sit down to map out your content, jot down ideas and do bits of research before the challenge, if you’re running a full-time business and a household (with or without kids) and other hobbies on the side, the only thing you can really do during such a challenge is plonk your arse down in that chair, make it stay there and just write.

The great thing is that the more you do that, the more pathways you open to your mind and the more the words flow: when I started the challenge I worried I’d have nothing to say, and now on the last day I have three unfinished drafts waiting patiently for my attention.

So I’m going to come back on something that happened on “magical snow” day.Tash at Mont Royal

I sat at my desk working away, but was somewhat distracted by the beautiful snowfall outside and kept looking up from behind my computer to peer out the bay windows at the gorgeous spectacle outside.

Then as the snowflakes got bigger and bigger, my toes started twitching and I started to feel an overwhelming sense of joy and excitement well up inside me. I wanted to be out in it. I remembered how much I loved going walking in snowfalls in Montreal and realised that I hadn’t really done it since then. Why not?

Well that was a bloody good question and I couldn’t think of a single answer. Why not, indeed. So I turned to my partner, who hadn’t been able to go to work that morning, and said: “I’m going to go out for a walk in the snow. Are you coming?”

“What?!” he said. “You can’t go out in that; don’t be silly.”
“Well, why not? It’s just snow.”

“What if you hurt your knee? It’s really slippery out there. What if you fall and hurt yourself? And it’s cold!”

I checked in with my knee (I’m missing my anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee) and it felt stable, strong and ok. “Well I’ll rug up and I’ll be really careful.”

“The snow’s wet, you know. When I went out earlier it was very slushy. You’re going to get all wet.”

And that sounded less tempting. Wet’s ok in summer, but in winter? Yuck. So I tried to control my toe twitching and curb my excitement. I continued working and looking out the window from time to time.
And then it hit me: this was not my fear. This was his fear. My own comes AFTER the snow, when the powder gets packed underfoot and turns into treacherous ice.

If I didn’t go out for a walk in the falling, fresh snow, chances are I wouldn’t be able to go for a walk for a good couple of days because any remaining slush on the footpaths would turn to ice overnight when the temperatures dropped again.

I checked in with my knee once again, and it felt good to go, so I got up, pulled my snow boots on, put on a duvet coat and a warm, woolly scarf and put my foot down: I was going for a walk. I promised to be mindful of my knee and careful, and I was out the door. After all, keeping your wits about you in some situations is about all you can do if you don’t want to miss out on living.

I’ve enough dealing with my own fears. I certainly don’t need someone else’s.

Can you relate?

Do you sometimes find yourself not doing something you want to do because of a fear that’s not even your own? Someone else’s fear creeps in to stop you in your tracks?

Next time, ask yourself: Is this my fear?

If it’s not, why not just ignore it and let whomever it belongs to deal with it. I’m sure that, like me, you have enough of your own.

xx

P.S: while I was scouting through my photos to find a picture for this post, I came across a video which cracked me up and proves just what a lady I’m not! (And what a snow bunny I’m not).  I figured I’d share it with you

[CBWM-10] Why Bobby Brown is singing in my head today

Yesterday I had my second last singing lesson with my current teacher. Feeling like I hadn’t worked on my songs enough, I dreaded it all day and even contemplated not going to the pre-paid session even though cancelling last minute would mean losing 33 euros.

I thought well, since I’m going to be stopping anyway in two weeks, I might as well just stop now. I mean what am I honestly going to learn and progress on in two lessons? I also figured that if I just didn’t go to the last two sessions, I wouldn’t have to have the awkward conversation to explain why I wasn’t making my next appointment and pre-paying my next 10 lessons. PAH! What a sissy!

But of course, I’m NOT a sissy so… Read more

Come Blog With Me – Day 3

Have you ever not enjoyed doing something you LOVE?

I love to sing. I always have.

For me, singing is a way to gauge my overall happiness and well-being. It’s also how my intuition/gut/subconscious communicates with me most of the time: by sending me messages through song lyrics. Groovy! And useful

I sing or hum pretty much wherever I go and whatever I’m doing, without even realising I’m doing so.
Years ago, in my very early twenties, I developed nodules on my vocal cords. Read more

Thanks for the adventure, London!

 

At the end of last week, I flew off to London for a couple of days to spend the Friday playing Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki’s game Cashflow 101 with Judith Morgan, and a few of the fabulous women in Club 100.

It seemed a rather decadent thing to flit over to London just to play a game, but it also sounded like fun and adventure, so of course I just had to do it.

It was a great opportunity to just say fuck it, have some laughs, learn a thing or two, test my mindset and body (first travel since knee injury last October), and meet and hang out with some of the fab chickies I spend a lot of time with online. Why deprive myself of all that??

So I booked the trip in total faith that everything would work out just fine… and it did. Read more