Passion Encircled (spring/solar eclipse mandala)

Always beginning again (meditation, spring & solar eclipse)

In some ways, we are always dying and being reborn.  Every day, every breath, every chance encounter, is an opportunity to begin again.  For example, in the sitting practice of shamatha (“calm abiding”, breath-based) Buddhist meditation, we are continually beginning again.  We let go of our thoughts, our identities, our cherished stories and plans.  And we choose, instead, to simply be.  To be without the story, with just our bodies and our experience of “right now”.

Every spring, we are reborn, as well.  The fire re-ignites within our souls, and we remember that we are ALIVE, and that we need to express this aliveness, or risk losing it.  (After all, we are only alive in the sense that we that we feel and act from–thus continually re-newing–the breath of inspiration.)

And, at the beginning of each lunar cycle–that is, at the during the dark (new) moon period of each month–we experience a surrender of the old and a re-birth into new consciousness, as well.  Never is this more true than during a solar eclipse–that is, a new moon which also passes over, and blocks, the light of the sun (if only for a moment).

Solar eclipses are like portals, or gateways, into a new and enhanced state of being.  During such a period, we can receive new impressions, seize new opportunities, or re-potentiate an aspect of ourselves that has been lying dormant and forgotten.  

This past Friday, March 20th, we experienced a solar eclipse in the early morning hours.  Astrologically, it was in the last degree of Pisces–and thus the last degree of the zodiac–indicating that we can draw on the wisdom of past year (the previous 359 degrees of the Sun’s journey) as we begin again.  But, only if we are willing to surrender all of our old baggage, our worn-out stories, our old victim-and-failure-laden consciousness.  Basically, we need to let go of the WEIGHT of the last accumulated year.

And so, here we are.  It’s spring, and we’re beginning again.  Maybe we had a hard year last year.  (I know I did, in many ways.) Maybe we question our abilities, or our choices.  Maybe we doubt our visions.  Our faith is not yet strong. . .

. . . But, we are here.  Alive, breathing.  Beautiful, vibrant, and full of promise.  We have something to offer.  And we have a choice, in this moment–each moment–as to whether we will grow and evolve, or whither and hide.

It is spring.  Embrace your life.  Commit to your own becoming.  Plant your feet, raise your head, open your heart and spread your arms open wide.  Now, sing your song, the song of now.  Only you can sing your being into existence.  Only you know how.

<3

What I Want You to Know About Your Voice (for singers of all types and levels)

You have a voice–a style, a sound, a message–that is uniquely yours.  When you find this voice–or rather, when you strip away all of the things that are “not yours”–you will feel at home within your own sound, and within your own message.  You will no longer fight your voice–that is, push it, manipulate it, or try to make it sound a certain way.

Singing is easier than you think.  It is totally natural.   And yet, it may take you a while to “come home” to your voice, to settle in and feel comfortable with it–just like it would take a while to settle into a new room, or home, to decorate it and make it yours.

In the meantime: Experiment, try new things.  See what songs “feel like you”, what singers you gravitate to.  See what your voice likes to do, what it does easily, and what it longs to stretch towards.  Head in that direction.  Play.  Dive in.  Push your limits.  But never force.   Never try to “make” your voice do something that it isn’t ready to do.

You may find it helpful, in your journey of vocal exploration and discovery, to learn some technique.  There are ways of approaching your voice that are “tried and true”.  There are methods of stretching the voice, of strengthening the voice, of making it more flexible.  All of these tools and explorations are helpful (and I can show you many of these things).

Above all, in terms of technique, I want you to learn to “feel into” your voice.  What does the low voice feel like? What does the high voice feel like? How does it feel to be in between?

And, what are you doing that is UNnatural?  When do you push the voice? When do reach your head, in an effort to reach the note? (. . . Not the best way to go after it, by the way.) When do you hold your breath? When do you slump, and “shut down” energetically? How are you manipulating your tone?

The more you learn to feel into your voice, the more you learn what feels good, and what feels bad.  (Simple, but true.)  Go for the stuff that feels good.  Let go of the manipulation.  Keep only what helps you.  Become comfortable with everything, ESPECIALLY the feeling of “I don’t know,  but let me see what happens”.

Oh, and have fun.  Joy will open your voice up faster than anything else. 😉

Good luck, dive in, and be gentle.  A combination of passion and patience will take you far.  :-) <3