“Setting Myself Free”
Currently, it has been discouraging for me. I have not seen any improvement with the fogginess in my left eye and it even seems to have worsened. A little over a month ago, I had an episode where a large floater formed when the gel in my eye separated from the back of my eye wall. I was told it was a common occurrence. Three ophthalmologists told me that my vision would eventually improve and that the blurriness was due to retinal blood that would be absorbed over time. Fortunately, I did not have a retinal detachment.
At the end of this week, I am getting yet another opinion with a doctor outside my HMO, this time at my own expense. I am doing this due to the suggestion of my good friend, Dr. Sam, whom I reconnected with when I first began writing my blog.
I cannot write about many of the things that are going on in my life. With my divorce still pending, it would be inappropriate to share much. I can say that the lawyers have been negotiating; our home went on sale four days ago and it looks like it will sell quickly.
I have missed writing my true feelings. I long to express so much and the words tear at me. It has been easier for me to live within my song lyrics and music. When I am overwhelmed, singing allows me to heal.
I did not sing at all for over thirty years. When my journey began in 2010, I took lessons at a public park with Peaches Chrenko. We worked together for over two years until Peaches moved away in August of 2012, shortly before I separated from my husband.
After I moved out, I longed to sing again. I remember I heard a wonderful woman sing at a friend’s event. I wrote her name down. At the end of 2012, I looked her up with the intention of taking voice lessons again. This was during a time when my financial situation was tenuous, but I knew it was temporary. My new life was about healing myself and trusting my instincts.
The voice lessons with my new teacher, Kimberly Haynes, brought joy back into my life.
Almost immediately, I noticed that I had a new awareness whenever I sang. I became an “instrument” every time I opened my mouth. I celebrated my progress and marveled at how much better my songs sounded.
As a result of my glorious improvement, I decided I would record new vocals for 17 songs on the music CD that will accompany my audiobook. This was such a difficult decision for me to make. It will involve hundreds of hours and delay the release of my book by approximately six months.
Even though I am anxious to share my book and music, I feel strongly that my new voice is far more important for my story than anything else. My journey has always been about following my heart, and my heart has told me that I will have a far greater impact with my new voice.
It is not about technique either; it’s about truly expressing myself.
For me, singing has always been about sharing my emotion with my lyrics.
I never liked my voice when I was younger. After not singing for decades, over the last three years I have continued to remain very insecure about my singing ability. Whenever I have tried to sing more forcefully, I hear tightness and have pitch issues. I learned to counter this by singing soft and breathy.
The most amazing part is how much my music and my life are intertwined!
Last week I began arranging one of my favorite older songs entitled “How We Don’t Care.” My song is all about poor communication and not expressing true feelings. I wrote my song when I was 19 years old and dealing with a painful friendship at the time. But “How We Don’t Care” is how I operated for decades in my marriage.
For most of my life, I have suppressed most of my feelings. From the time I was young, I never felt safe expressing anger and preferred instead to shove it away deep inside. Also, since ending my marriage I have been numb with guilt.
My inner voice encouraged me to sing because singing is actually a perfect metaphor for freeing myself.
I could not achieve the vocal results I wanted because I was afraid to sing loudly. It felt risky for me and I did not like to hear what I perceived as a harsh tone. It led to breathiness overall – I believed that it was prettier. The irony was that when I was younger (prior to marriage), I sang loudly without fear!
The suppression of my singing came from erroneous beliefs. The muscles to create that breathy tone completely blocked my singing mechanism. There was more than one way to sing, and I didn’t need to only sing softly. This was definitely a parallel to how I often never spoke my true feelings. I softened them by laughing, but I seethed inside. I felt hatred during my marriage and was often angry.
I hid it from everyone, including myself.
I never even discussed with my husband why I wanted a divorce. Even after counseling, our habit was to avoid any kind of conflict. Our divorce was ultimately the first and final conflict.
My present situation is beyond awkward. He is very angry, but doesn’t show it. This certainly has come to me with clear messages delivered by our children.
Sadly, I thought I deserved it. I was the instigator. I felt like I had destroyed the very family I devoted myself to for decades.
I’ve decided that I have suffered enough. It is time for me to move forward. Finding my voice and freeing it is a step in that direction.
Below are lesson excerpts from my recent lessons with Kimberly Hanes, whom I find completely inspirational. Click the blue link to play audio:
Kimberly has been very clear that my voice is something I need “to own.” She encourages me to have faith about where I am going and what I am doing. In order to open up my voice, I need to stop inhibiting myself and just “allow it to fly.”
She has been very concerned about how much I am influenced by other people’s input.
Two weeks ago, Kimberly was sick with bronchitis and cancelled our lesson. She cancelled again last week, with a message that she was not quite well enough to teach yet.
The day before our cancelled lesson, I sent her a message. I told her that if she was well enough, I would love to still come and hang out with her – she could just listen to my latest recordings and give me input instead of our regular lesson. I did not expect her to sing for me and wasn’t worried about catching anything.
I missed our lessons and was becoming frustrated. Over the past weeks, I could tell I had regressed. Old habits and patterns seemed so difficult for me to discard.
I was grateful when Kimberly said she would see me.
Our lesson put me back on track and lifted me right up. Although Kimberly was not up to par, it was so great to be with her. Even with bronchitis, she was the true professional and continued to guide me through several songs. We spent a lot of time on my song “Set You Free.”
There was one part in my song that required singing the words “set you free” in my high register. I struggled with it over and over.
But at the end of our lesson something clicked for me. It was a tiny incremental adjustment, a feeling that was difficult to describe. I came home and began singing. I could hear the difference. It was easy to make this change and was something I had been afraid to do. But I wasn’t afraid of it anymore.
I understood now. I was going to allow myself to use my vocal cords and to sing with my true voice. I didn’t need to sing breathy anymore.
I had spent hundreds and hundreds of hours editing songs for many months. It turned out that my artistic skill now translated into amazing musical editing skills. I could achieve much of what I wanted for my songs without concentrating on truly singing.
But it turned out that singing was exactly what I needed to do now. The editing would assist me, for sure. None of my learning was wasted and I decided to look at everything leading up to this as part of my journey.
“Libra vs. Libra”
Two weeks ago, I allowed one of my song instrumentals to be used on an astrological website in Finland. I wrote a brief story to go with the page “Libra vs. Libra.”
I hadn’t touched base with friends and family in awhile, so this was a great opportunity to share a link with them:
I was thrilled when I heard back from my former voice teacher, Peaches. She congratulated me and told me she thought of me often. I wrote her back with the following update:
Oh Peaches, it was great to hear from you! I always think of you and miss you terribly. How are you doing? I would love to catch up.
I have written two new songs since you moved and they are very touching for me. One is “Angel In the Sky” and the other one is called “Music Saved Me.” You are with me in all of my songs; I learned so much from you!
Because I was so forlorn, I started taking voice lessons again. My new teacher’s name is Kimberly Haynes.
Finally, I realize that I need to be open to concentrating on vocal technique. (I still talk too much during lessons). The other part is practicing. (Like Steve Martin, I want results without exercising). I wish I could say that I could sing freely in my new apartment, but I can’t. My two teenagers hate it. So I go out and practice in my car.
With my sadness, I sing a lot and I’ve improved as a result. I am attaching one my new songs; it’s about music saving me. Music is like god for me!
I moved out in October. The divorce part isn’t easy, but I’ve adjusted. The hardest part of my life right now is my eyesight. I had three cataract surgeries (an additional surgery due to a complication) and then a month ago I had another problem. I have one eye that is completely blurry and that has left me in a deep depression.
I’ve decided to wait on emerging from the curtain. I’m going to redo all my song vocals one more time after thousands of hours editing them. I’ve improved tremendously and feel much more connected with my songs now, too.
Music is definitely saving me! I miss you,
THE PRINCESS AND THE RAINBOW IN HER HEART
The princess was determined, but she was getting tired. She surveyed the burnt landscape in the distance. Ahead of her were miles to go, but with intense focus she placed one foot in front of the other. Her older children walked alongside of her. She noticed that she did not hold their hands anymore.
The new landscape was peaceful, but her journey had been exhausting. When she began her travels, she had been filled with excitement. Now she was calm, but joyless. She understood why she wasn’t dancing; eventually she hoped she’d reach an uplifting destination.
Even though her journey took her through a drab landscape, she felt inspired by the beautiful music that accompanied her.
She felt strong, despite her fatigue. What buoyed her the most was singing. When she sang, music poured over her soul and washed away every ounce of pain. Each melody and musical note caressed her wounds. Her gratefulness for this magical elixir was endless. It was her special gift.
Whenever she felt lonely, she shared it. It helped her when she was able to touch and heal other sad people. At the same time, it gave her clarity about her journey and her beautiful destination.
The farther away she was from the dragon, the more confused she became. She was still worried about him and knew that he was burning himself up in the smoky castle. He needed to leave and she needed her belongings. She wanted what she rightfully hers after so many years with him. There was no escaping him because he was also connected to their children.
She disliked the dragon, but adored their children. For such a long time, she had devoted herself to her family. But the dragon was miserable and unhappy with his life. The dragon did not have a clue how to change anything, and was not even aware of the wicked spell that had caused him to change from a prince into a dragon. The princess felt that he blamed her for his unhappiness.
But when she discovered her own happiness, she decided to escape. She still worried about the dragon, but she knew she needed to save herself; otherwise they both would perish. Her courage came to her through her own song lyrics.
She felt smoke pouring out of her soul as she escaped.
Just as she anticipated, she could hear the dragon roaring in pain in the distance. His screams were silent, but reverberated deeply in her heart. His hatred for her was sharper than any sword and pierced deeply into her heart.
She understood his hatred; she had betrayed his trust. She disliked the dragon, but she did not allow herself to feel hatred. Thinking how their love had changed was too painful. She was confused and numb.
Onward she trudged forward; she was certain her destination was growing closer. Her determination grew even fiercer and she neglected herself. She had stopped looking at the horizon or at her surroundings. It was then when she realized that it was difficult for her to see where she was going.
It was not nightfall, but an impenetrable fog had surrounded her. She tried to be calm and discover what had happened.
It turned out her vision had changed.
With every ounce of her being she tried to accept it and stay positive. The worst part was that she could no longer see where she was going. Sad questions swirled within her. How could she be afflicted with this burden when she was already coping with a great deal? The unfairness sometimes overwhelmed her, but she did not want to allow for self-pity.
She decided that she would continue her journey despite the fog. Onward and onward she plodded, but she realized she was lost now. Without music she would have fallen into dark holes in the landscape ahead of her. Her music swirled around her and glowed so she was safe.
She began to run into things and stumble. Her frustration grew deeper and she realized she could not continue. The fog had become too much to bear; everything was out of focus and it hurt to even open her eyes. She sobbed as she collapsed near the edge of a dark hole. The music stopped and there was only silence.
Where was her inner voice? She knew that she had ignored everything in order to move forward; perhaps her inner voice had left her also. As she lay on the ground, she begged her inner voice for help.
Tears coursed down her cheeks when she finally received an answer. Her inner voice told her there was only one word that would help her now. She listened carefully.
The word echoed deeply throughout her mind. It was “patience.”
Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
It was interesting for her when she looked up the definition. She studied it in order to understand what was required of her. There was no question that she often struggled with angry and upset feelings. They were taboo for her.
The part about accepting her eyesight problem and delaying releasing her audio-book were also huge.
She had changed her focus from enjoying her journey toward searching for a destination. What had happened to the joy? That was most definitely her message and the reason she had the courage to change her life.
She realized there truly was no destination in her life until she died.
It turned out that her destination was all about rushing to prove her worth to others.
Although she was anxious to help other people, that could continue. She knew she was still the richest princess in the world; whether or not anyone else knew it was not important.
She rested and allowed for more and more music. Even though her world was gray, she traveled inside her heart. She closed her eyes and discovered that within her heart was a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors that she missed so much. Whenever she sang, colors beamed from her body and light surrounded her.
The days marched onward. She continued singing and it eased everything painful in her life as all sorrow flowed out from her heart. Her emotional melodies transcended everything she had ever done before.
It truly was all about patience.
She was forced to stop plodding in order to find the rainbow in her heart. Her vision would return when it was time. She was filled with acceptance as she lifted her eyes into the sky and thanked her inner voice.
Her inner voice gently replied:
“Your journey has taken you to this place now. It is important that you rest and find comfort with your rainbow inside. Your gift was always there. You are finally understanding it and expressing it. Although you are eager to share yourself with the world, your voice is a gift to help you through the darkness.
Allow your heart to heal because you are going to connect with a million souls when you are ready.”
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com. 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.