It’s About Progress…

It’s about Progress NOT Perfection!

It’s been a long road. There have been many different paths, roads, modes and trials. Navigating the world of music has been unsuccessful to say the least. Trying to have a fulfilling family life has been frustrating. Trying to create a music career, care for my own personal demons AND have a fulfilling family life has been impossible.

I’ve compartmentalized to survive. I tried to split myself into little pieces because I thought it was necessary to protect my loved ones from my ambition and struggles when what was really needed was to have completeness. I needed to bring all the pieces of myself together into wholeness…

Here’s thing is, running from something that has never truly healed will always end in failure and exhaustion and will bleed into everything you try to accomplish. You can only run for so long before you slow, stop or even crash when you reach past your current zone of comfort. Your mistaken beliefs and negative self talk will always cut you down and sabotage your progress.

This has been my pattern. A constant cycle of production and growth then steady or abrupt personal shutdown. I could never find a sustainable level of growth without the tools to heal and maintain myself as an individual. The thing is, for someone that has experienced trauma this is typical. I just hadn’t had the help and direction to help me understand.

That all changed as I made the decision to no longer live in pieces but to create a whole self. It’s been a process that took years of self-compassion, hard work and force of will.

I hope you will join me in my journey to live a REALIZED life at peace with all parts of yourself. I hope what I have learned and implemented can help you feel more complete and grow your passions and self-worth.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Stage Performance by Livingston Taylor

I have begun week two of social distancing and have gone about trying to view this time with curiosity and looking for all things to be grateful for.  My mindset is not all sunshine and rainbows BY FAR, however, reading and spending quiet moments of reflection and reaching into my hard earned resilience continue to give me hope in the midst of all the seriousness and negativity in the world at this moment in history.

Although all live performance has been halted, I know I can use this time to continue growth as a performer in other ways.  Reading is a great place to start!

A little over a year ago.  A musician colleague and friend Shawn Eiferman ( www.shawneiferman.com )gifted me a book to help me on my journey to feeling successful on stage. Shawn’s easy and charismatic stage presence is something I have always been in awe of and I am grateful for his advice and for passing along this book to give me a fresh perspective in this area.

This book titled “Stage Performance” by Livingston Taylor is easy to understand and implement.  It is practical and has given me much to wonder about and some practices to help me continue to evolve as a performer.

Feeling comfortable and confident onstage has ALWAYS been a sore spot in my journey as a singer/songwriter.  Most of my life I struggled with a anxiety and a panic disorder that blead over to into pretty severe stage fright.  This made performance the one thing that I hated to love because it has been so hard to do until now. Thanks to some great advice, unique performing experiences and GUTS I can tell you that I feel much more comfortable and appreciative of the opportunity to play live music.   I still feel I have a ways to go to be a GREAT performer but I am thrilled to have made peace with this aspect of my career.

This book is an abridgment of what Livingston teaches at his performance class at Berkley.  It details what he views “stage performance” to be and how he views it should start, progress and end as well as information on mindset as well as practical matters of concern to performers. 

Livingston explains in the beginning that:

“A performance is a conversation that begins when you go on stage, take in all that’s happening around you, get a sense of where you are and how you feel, and then react to that reality…This book is about having belief in yourself and developing confidence in your value as a person, learning to be free of fear and open in front of all those people.”

LIVINGSTON TAYLOR “STAGE PERFORMANCE”

This book is an easy read full of guidance that gave me great mental/emotional value as a performer and I highly recommend it to any musician looking to be more in tune with live performance and getting a well rounded view of our role as performers.  I hope to continue to hone my skills as a care taker of audiences as I continue with my music career.

I leave you with one more quote from this book that I will be gifting to the first performer that requests it.  As I am social distancing through the Covid-19 pandemic I believe it rings true in the current fearful/unsure state we are all drawn into.

Take care of yourselves and don’t let fear rule your existence even in the darkest of times!

“When we are fearful, we’re self-absorbed and boring.  When we’re free of fear, we’re open to take in all that is around us. A big long continual drink of the universe.”

LIVINGSTON TAYLOR “STAGE PERFROMANCE”

Harsh Creative Reality!

There is a harsh reality that comes with living a life that includes your creative passion. 

It can be lonely and leave you feeling misunderstood and full of false guilt but living a life Creating is a choice YOU will have to make again and again.  It will not always feel “worth it”.  You will struggle.  You will question your choices.  You will think about giving up.  It will be difficult even impossible sometimes.

If that scares and derails you, it’s time to become SELF-AWARE and look past the immediate discomfort to the bigger picture!  It’s time to accept the realizations that will help you create a path to fulfillment.  It’s time to dig deep and embrace the journey in harmony with the good, the bad and the ugly.

NO ONE. Not your partner, not your kids, not your family or friends are going to give you the necessary time, commitment or sacrifice to live your passion.  If YOU do not speak up and let it be known that it is necessary to make you whole,  all resources to grow in this area will be consumed by other needs and desires. 

NO ONE will care about the growth or success of your passion as much as YOU can and YOU cannot expect them to.  If YOU are willing to sacrifice your passion for others, they will gladly take your sacrifice without apology and they DO NOT hold the blame for your resulting unfulfilled desires and stagnation.

It is up to YOU to set boundaries and stick to them.  Your wholeness is YOUR responsibility! It is YOUR fulfillment and harmony that is at stake.  Make YOUR choice and accept the consequences, whatever they may be.

It starts with YOU showing up for YOURSELF! 

COMFORT FOOD!

The only thing I like about winter is COMFORT FOOD! I love a really delicious, flavorful soup and this one got me down right COZY! It also goes right along with my mission to eat a cleaner healthier diet. Not to mention that it’s easy to make and is even better as a leftover meal.

I’ve been super busy in the studio recording, teaching, rehearsing and learning. By the end of the day I only want something that tastes good and I want to be cozy and resting. This soup was perfect! Let me know how you like it!

STUFFED BELL PEPPER SOUP

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. italian sausage
6 c. Swanson Chicken Broth
2 (14-oz.) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 c. prepared white rice
Shredded white cheddar, for serving
Freshly chopped parsley, for serving

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add bell peppers and onion and cook until soft, 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add italian sausage and cook until no longer pink, 7 minutes.

Add broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Prepare rice as per package instructions. To serve, spoon 1/2 cup rice in a bowl and then cover with soup. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and enjoy. My kids love it served with bread and butter.

Adapted From https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a21925560/best-stuffed-bell-pepper-soup-recipe/

Habits of Highly Successful People by Brendon Buchard

Facebook is FULL of ads these days.  Mention something to google and you will get bombarded with every ad possible from everyone trying to sell something.  To tell you the truth, I’m completely sick of wading through the endless Marketing funnel ads for self-help and coaching. 

Yes, I am an entrepreneur.  NO, I don’t want to hear from 10, 000 other people just like me all doing the same thing.  But I guess it must be working or not so many people would be jumping on the band wagon of course creation and coaching.   Social media has made things so interesting!

 Everyone has a system to help you get rich, get more followers etc.  The noise is deafening and real direction and help is financially out of reach of most creative entrepreneurs.  If I paid to try all of the programs that tout success I’d never make a dime! 

There is always some kind of free product, attached to an email campaign and sometimes several up-sales for additional courses or coaching.  I’ve bought into 2 courses for coaching in specific areas like personal and artistic development and social media training.  I’ve also had great success taking music courses on Udemy.com.  For the most part I wouldn’t say I have become successful from any of this learning but I have gained some habits and confidence from them.

I’m annoyed by all the extras but try to remind myself that there are a lot of professionals offering good advice and direction amongst the noise.  However, I am always cautious due to the amount of people trying to make a quick buck off the struggles of others without offering a real benefit. It is really giving them all a bad name.

I’ve never been good at creating a schedule and sticking to it and avoid it because I love spontaneous EVERYTHING but as I get busier and more overwhelmed I need to bring order to my chaos so I can increase my productivity and maximize my time.  I don’t want to get into a trap of constant work and lose out on family, fun and down time.  It leads to burnout and overall discontent.

I know from personal experience that burnout is a very real and detrimental experience.  I seem to experience it several times a year and am flirting with disaster right now with all of the many responsibilities I have heaped on myself with blogging, teaching, social media experimentation, cover gigs, songwriting and music production.  It’s super frustrating and I don’t want to continue this same pattern.

I have been seeking clarity and organization for everything I am pulled to do as well as try to maintain the necessary things that I don’t particularly enjoy. 

I came across an ad from Brendan Buchard offering a free book (pay shipping) about the Habits of Highly Successful People.  It states it comes from years of research from many very successful people in many fields. And compiled the data into 6 habits that all of the successful people adhered to.

 I liked the idea of examining this side of things rather than go into another “feel good” vague mindset diatribe that all sounds and feels good but gives no real direction.  This book promises to give a blueprint on productivity and direction so I decided to give it a try as well as accept the free week of video coaching. 

I identified immediately with the introduction.   HA!  Don’t we all want to see ourselves as having the potential to be “highly successful’.  I think all entrepreneur oriented people have certain aspects of their personality in common so I’m sure many people will identify with it just like I did.  Kudos to the writer!  You created great imagery and hooked me into wanting to dive in and learn more. 

I will update my study of this book as I dive into the first “Habit”  which is Clarity in another post.

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Piece of Shit!: Fatigue and Negative Self-talk

“I Am Strong But I Am Tired”

Here’s a passage from my journal on a particularly heinous week of hustle and failure.  Sometimes the negative severely out weighs the positive but I always try to reach for a good realization to move through a negative time.

I feel like a piece of SHIT!   Professionally. Personally. Musically.  It feels like I have absolutely nothing real and valuable to offer anyone.  This week has been a negative and I have struggled to find the positive.  Between illness and fitness activities, trying to perfectly balance relationship, mom life and work life both in performance and music education and financial building, not to mention a social life and impending vacation,  I feel like I have dropped EVERY ball possible. 

I AM OVERWHELMED!!

These are the weeks you are supposed to dig deep and reach for the positive.  Well, right now I have zero fucks to give.  I have expended all energy and focus possible and I am left but one choice.  LET. IT. FALL! 

Failure is almost the worst thing I can usually imagine.  It SUCKS!  Even when it is just temporary or surface based. It hits the ego like a wrecking ball!  Spiraling my thoughts into the all too familiar negative self talk that tries to stuff me back in my box of perceived unworthiness and plainness.

I can hear the words of my mother telling me not to share too much of my gifts around my friends because they will resent me in high school or that all the negative things are happening because I’m not doing all the “good” things I’m supposed to. There’s never enough support just judgment and short sighted advice.  Self pity.  “Why am I being punished? I will always be week and damaged” These are not new voices. They are the same negative self talk I have known most of my life.  These are my inner critics that sometimes drown out all the self realization and self confidence I have earned.

From my perspective at this moment, there is not a positive to be seen, just failure and struggle, so I will do my best to reach for positive that might come from all the negative past my plane of vision.

 Maybe the things that I am letting go of or failing will be the best kind of sacrifice.  Maybe they will leave me with the time I want to spend expanding and bringing my passion into focus.  Maybe it will lead to the next piece to my success puzzle. Maybe it will lead me to amazing places that I would never have thought of.

Inevitably there will be times of lowness. Times when your self worth will falter or when you will feel the sting of criticism and failure.  Times when you don’t pay attention to your personal limits and boundaries and neglect your self-care. You will be tempted to give in and give up because it seems easier and less vulnerable.

Normalize and realize the short term nature of these times of strain and fatigue to help you keep perspective. Don’t push them away or pretend it’s not there.  Give yourself 5 minutes or even an hour (sometimes a day lol)  to fully feel all the harshness and be angry or hurt. Let it wash over you and have the attention it is pushing for and then let it go through meditation, prayer, a workout or a hot bath with a glass of wine.  Whatever helps you to move past it a little so you can gain some perspective.

You are carrying something that has gotten too heavy and has depleted your strength.

Have you ever tried to hold something over your head indefinitely?  Even the lightest of objects will become heavy if held above your head for an extended period of time.  It is an impossible expectation and completely unnecessary!  Now is the time for you to utilize your AMAZING capacity for compassion and empathy and pour it all onto yourself.  Let whatever you are holding up in the air that is taking all of your strength FALL. Release it to the floor and be kind to yourself while you release this important thing to the ground. 

Be that support you have always dreamed of and give yourself permission to rest without the weight of it for a time.  It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to pick it back up or that you have failed.  It only means that you are giving yourself the care and space that is needed to regain your strength and live to fight another day.

You are STILL worthy, strong, capable and deserving of following your passion and continuing on your journey of self realization. But for now…Rest.

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Creative Support! What can you do to support your favorite Creative Entreprenuer?

Creatives include songwriters, musicians, visual artists, performance artists, crafters, creators, etc.  It encompasses all of those of the artistic creation persuasion.  We are entrepeneurs that create life enriching products with a purpose of joy, beauty and evoke emotion. 

It is difficult to create a large following and even harder to create an income surrounding our unique abilities that funds the means necessary to continue creating on a regular basis.   Social media is a BIG part of the growth of a following and support system.

Here are 6 FREE ways you can help our online reach, grow our following, and move towards financial improvement which enables us to reach more people like you.

  • Follow and Subscribe on all platforms that you frequent.  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc. 
  • Join our email list. This is a more permanent way to stay connected to our support base.  Algorithms are always changing and can limit our ability to reach you.
  • Like AND comment on our online content.  A comment goes much farther than just a like and lets us know people are paying attention.
  • Share our posts!  This is HUGE because it expands our reach past our current following and introduces us to new potential support.
  • Send a private message of encouragement!   It is incredibly motivational to receive praise and support in the form of a personal note.

WANT TO DO MORE?!  To create tangible products and content costs money as well as time.  To create the best possible goods takes a financial investment that is often transient and hard to come by and can be a hefty sacrifice of our time and effort that could be used to create.

We are not paid an hourly wage to spend time in the creative process. You can help us make time to practice our craft by giving just a little financial support.  Here are 5 ways you can help:.

  • Go to a live show or display.  Support the venue, leave a tip or buy one of our creations.
  • Listen and watch our online content regularly.  Youtube pays attention to our watch time and after a certain point we can make a little extra via ads.  Spotify and online music streaming can create an extra income just from listening for as little as 30 seconds of each song. 
  • Send an online tip or gift card.  Venmo, Paypal, facebook are safe ways to send financial support.
  • Give to any crowdfunding projects offered.
  • Join your creative’s monthly Patreon or subscription service.  This is a great way to help create a regular income support for your favorite creative as well as get discounts and more personal connection from us.

We all love feeling appreciated and dream of financial freedom while living our passion.  It takes commitment and sacrifice to work towards our goals.  Your support is SO MUCH MORE appreciated and needed than you know!

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30 Days of Clean Eating!

DOWNLOAD A MEAL PLAN!

Disclosure: I am not a licensed dietician and I am not sharing this meal plan as guarantee of weight loss or health. I am passionate about feeling good and feeling good about myself and therefore choose to take action by putting together recipes and supplements that I believe will give me direction from my own research and trial and error. I am utilizing a way of eating that has worked for me in the past. One that I know I can easily stick to as it does not restrict a lot of the foods I like to eat (besides donuts :().

Fall and the end of 2019 was brutally exhausting!

Between putting new websites together, researching social media, improving my content creation skills, my lessons business, live performances, vacations, family, some minor health concerns, socializing, several colds, the holidays and trying to stay engaged with physical fitness I have been left feeling OLD. I feel like my body has crashed and I have been forced to rest. This has killed my fitness goals and left me feeling slow and unmotivated. It’s time to reset and engage in self-care with 30 days of clean eating!

I took a couple weeks off from the gym and focused more on resting and spending time with my kids which was very much appreciated but it’s time to get back into BADASS mode. I have a lot I want to accomplish and I need my Health and Wellness to be maintainable.

I have put together recipes and a schedule to help get me back on track. I’m complicated and can’t stand to eat the same thing all the time but also need simplicity because I am incredibly busy with a million things as a mom, wife, creative and woman.

I have always had a sweet tooth so the hardest part for me is significantly lowering my simple carbohydrate intake. It makes me cranky while I adjust so I will apologize to my family and friends beforehand and hope they make it through my detox.

I’ve decided to carb cycle with one day a week of intermittent fasting. This meal plan is protein and veggie packed because I need all of the nutrition I can muster to get my iron back on track and to continue to keep lean muscle mass while lowering my body fat a bit. It also includes healthy carbs to fuel a more organized and rigorous fitness plan including a lot of weight lifting/cardio combined workouts at my Crossfit gym. It also contains several paleo inspired desserts. My sweet tooth needs attention too! I have also decided to abstain from all alcohol, simple sugars and processed foods. I’ll share my fitness plan and goals in another post.

Additional supplements I will be adding:
Termeric/Piperine, CoQ10, Multi-vitamin, Beet powder pre-workout, BCAA post workout drink, Dandelion Detox Tea.
Attached is a collection of recipes organized into meals and carbs. Pick a few for each week, make a shopping list, meal prep, plan and GET ON IT! I’d love some company and support.

Additional Notes:

I have not added specific calorie counts in this menu. Be smart about portion size and listen to your body. Some of the links to original recipes include this data if you would like do further research.

I will be working out for 1 to 2 hours 4 to 5 times a week and will have my hardest workouts on carb days. This plan is not solely to lose a bunch of weight but to promote a healthier lifestyle in an organized manner. Busy people always benefit from planning and time management.

Some things can be made weekly and separated into individual portions like egg bites, chia pudding and overnight oats, Charcuterie, Chili, crockpot chicken soup. Use this to your advantage for time management. Also, I Fully expect there to be a couple leftover nights. I know I won’t cook every night!

If you prepare food for a family, Several or the meals can easily be made to accommodate kids or finicky partners not eating as clean as you. By purchasing a few items like noodles, buns and breads you can keep their carb cravings happy while not driving yourself crazy making 2 meals. On the flip side, you can omit rice and prepare more veggies or make cauliflower rice if you want to convert some recipes to no carb.

Carb Cycling Explanation: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/carb-cycling-101#section1

2019: A Personal Review

It’s about Progress NOT Perfection!

Sometimes it hard to gauge how much I have accomplished this year. The super ambitious ass hole inner voice tells me it’s not enough and that I could have done more but I know better.  I maintain a mindset of curiosity and growth. It’s been one hell of a journey!

  • I continued to build and maintain a teaching business that financially supports my music endeavors.  I doubled my income and built a business that retains respect, dedication and accomplishment all while remaining connected with my children.
  • I continued my education in music theory, music technique, music production, business, social media, videography, photography and marketing. I’m still nowhere near knowing it all but what an incredible amount of knowledge I’ve gained!
  • I now have a small but professionally equipped studio where I can produce music for myself and others efficiently.  It is equipped not only for audio but for creation of all video and social media content as well. It is not only a place to grow my business but a haven for my creative self. 
  • I conquered much of my stage fright and anxiety surrounding live performance, created solo and duo setlists, rehearsed my ASS OFF and performed more than I have in 10 years.  I have gained a comfort level and better appreciation for this challenging aspect of music business that for me has been one of the hardest parts of my musical journey.

My personal life has shifted and grown with much ferocity as well.

  • I’ve struggled with but ultimately fostered closer relationships than I have ever allowed in my life. 
  • I have opened myself to a better understanding of self and my inner battles and allowed boundaries, compassion and curiosity to rule me rather than resented responsibility, duty and self-sacrifice.  I am excited for all the realizations that will continue to come.
  • Rather than survival, I have thrived and expanded in my human existence and believe it is leading me on a path to help others.  Do I still struggle?  Of course!  But with curiosity and compassion I will continue to thrive.
  • Release and self-acceptance have grown to true confidence and genuine gratitude.  This mind shift has benefited me in productive and peaceful ways I am forever grateful for.

Though the end of this year has proven to be a struggle with poor health and low productivity leading to some frustration, I look forward to the next year of continued growth and wholeness.  I am building courage to share a more intimate look into my personal journey with hopes of helping and inspiring others who might identify with my journey and benefit in some way. 

What a crazy productive year 2019 has been! I wonder if 2020 will be just as wild a ride…?