Thursday, August 16, 2012

Choosing love

Sometimes feeling weird about a person or situation is really nearly overwhelming for me.  It takes over my mind, the one usually filled with thoughts of music I'm learning, or my next meal (who am I kidding), and starts to stack the space with endless layers of useless chatter.  Chatter that plants a seed of anxiety that grows and grows throughout the course of the day, til I'm so escalated that I can't practice and have a huge headache.

Do I have a right to feel weird?  Do I have a right to feel hurt?  Have I been wronged?

Well, yes, probably. 

But it is such a waste of time, and it all boils down to one basic problem.  Fear.

I put myself through these things because I'm usually afraid that something will happen that I can imagine in my brain turning into a disaster.  Or, that someone is saying something about me behind my back. After my mind is clear and I have a chance to stop and think, I realize that neither of these worries are things I can control.  What happens will happen and what other people think of me is none of my business.  I guess I am pretty happy that the people who like me are the people I like best, so that is all that matters. :)  Oh, if only I could really stop caring that much!  oh my...

So I am trying to talk myself into love instead.

Fear binds me, and constricts my thoughts and even my body.

Loving feelings and actions make me feel free, happy, at peace.

Only when I allow fear to creep in does it start to drain away, and that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach starts again.  Fear that no one will hire me to sing.  Fear that the people who have hired me won't hire me back.  Fear that the people I work with are annoyed by me and my personality. Fear that it's too late for me.  Fear that things won't turn out the way I want them to.  Oh my goodness, I'm embarrassed to even write most of these things, but I hope that most of you can sympathize, and understand why I'm writing it. The truth is, there are endless things to fear.  Anger is fear, worry is clearly fear, and insecurity guessed it...fear.

When I get up in the morning I have a new goal.  To always, when I can, choose to turn my thoughts toward love instead of fear.  When I worry that my reputation is at stake, I make the choice to compliment myself on trying so hard to do the right thing, and immediately re-check my motives for my actions.  When I worry that I am hopeless and too old, I make the choice to remind myself that there is no such thing as being too old to do what you want, unless, as we've discovered, that thing is olympic gymnastics...then I go practice and shift my focus to doing my thing instead of worrying about not being able to do my thing.  When I worry that I will never be as skinny and beautiful as Tom Brady's girlfriend...that model, you know...I remind myself that I do not really need that piece of fudge after all, that a better choice would be a cherry tomato, and that being able to pop out high Fs or sing a beautiful legato line is probably not within her reach at this point, and she should probably be jealous of me instead.  When I am sad that my family is not as close as I would like, I call my sister, and then I think about the friends I am lucky enough to have and the husband I landed.  When I worry that I will not get hired, I think about all the other sopranos who are thinking the same thing but who do not have a lot of the great things in life that I do-- a job, a companion, a measure of security, two great cats, and then-- guess-- I go practice.  Nothing feels quite as empowering as turning that frown really and truly upside down by staring the fear and the face and saying: I'm doing this anyway, and watch me go.  Love is power-- it is the strongest force there is.  If you love what you do, and you refuse to let anything stop you from singing (especially fear), there is literally no way you can fail.

Then I remind myself of my mantra:

My true self is FEARLESS and immune to criticism.

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